In basketball, focusing on commitment can swing victory to your side.
Except for those days when nothing goes your way, diving into the stands to save a lost ball can give you a chance at an extra air ball.
So to prevent your shot percentages from falling, in matches and on the playground, here are our shooting exercises for jump shots, culminating in the famous three-pointer.
To improve your shooting mechanics, set your aim, and find your preferred distance, you need a ball, some cones, and a partner who believes in your long-distance shooting ability. If all goes well, you'll introduce a basket during the exercises.
1. Warm Up Before a Match
Let's start with some exercises to work on your movements, particularly your wrists: the famous flick. And we can even start fully relaxed, with an exercise on the floor! Lie on your back and hold the ball in your dominant hand. With your elbow at 90°, your forearm should be parallel to the ground and the ball should be in the palm of your hand. In this position, throw the ball vertically, using the same arm and hand motion that you would when shooting. The goal is to work on your wrist movement.
The ball should rise vertically and fall back to the same place - that is, into the palm of your hand. The goal is to catch it with your dominant hand rather than your nose or your abs.
Now that you've gotten a feel for it, you can stand up! For your release, see our tips on
Stand 1 meter from the basket, still holding the ball in the palm of your dominant hand, with your arm outstretched parallel to the ground. In one motion (and with just one hand), place your arm in a shooting position and shoot. Don't use your legs or your non-dominant hand, which can stay relaxed for another 5 minutes. You should also avoid dropping the ball. The goal is to use only your dominant hand, particularly your fingers rather than the palm, to aim and shoot in an arc. You can repeat this motion all around the basket, one meter from the rim.
2. Bring Your Legs Into Play
Now that your wrist knows the way to the net, you can increase your distance by pushing on your legs. While your dominant hand aims and your other hand is happy to guide the ball, it is your legs and your release that will provide power to your shot and allow you to shoot further.
To find your preferred distance, you can do sets of 10 consecutive shots from the same spot. This is where the presence of a partner who is excited to see you catch and shoot can help you save time. If you don't have anyone to catch your rebound and pass back to you, you can start your motion with a self-pass.
The goal is to make at least 7 out of 10 shots from the same spot. If you successfully land an amazing 70% of your shots, move back a meter and start again. If you fail to get 7 out of 10 from the same spot twice in a row, the exercise is over. That's something!
This routine will help you find your preferred distances and shooting areas. It could also explain why defenders let you camp out behind the 3-point line in games.
More seriously, it's a good exercise for finding out at what distance you should start working on your release to provide more power to your shot.
To gain shooting distance, you can't force it - you just need to jump right!
From two meters from the basket or 3 steps behind the three-point line, your arm motion stays the same. Your jump is what gives the right length to your shot.
To clarify, it's your legs and abs that make the difference. Place the foot on the side of your dominant hand slightly forward, bend your legs, contract your abs, and jump to shoot at the top of your extension.
3. Finding Your Rhythm
Thanks to the previous exercises, you should have a sense of your preferred areas for shooting, without dipping under a 15% success rate, and you should be able to gradually increase your distance until you can make shots from behind the 3 point line.
So now you need to work on shooting after running - but this time, without the ball! (The run, not the shot).
For this exercise, you need a partner to catch your rebounds and pass the ball back to you.
While your training buddy is already euphoric at the idea of making you run, put 6 cones around the 3 point line: 1 at each corner, 2 at 45° and 2 facing the basket, extending from the free throw lines.
The principle of the exercise is to run back and forth between the cones. Take a shot, run to the next cone for the next shot, then leave in the other direction.
Gradually increase your running distance! Run to the second cone to your right, then the third cone to your left, and so on.
Continue until you have gone around the whole 3 point line, from one corner to the other.
This routine helps you to work on your shot just after a cut or a run to get free of a defender.
If you don't yet have distance in your legs, you can do this exercise with the cones closer to the basket.
Have you said goodbye to air balls and are you starting to improve your stats? Share your progress and your favourite jump shot exercises with us.