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October 31, 2017


1. Mental Toughness

  • Confidence

    • Has the confidence to take and make shots when open

    • Judges themselves on taking a good shot, not whether they made or missed the shot

  • Short Memory

    • Realizes that the only shot that matters is the next shot

    • May miss a few shots in a row, but doesn't keep you from shooting the next quality shot that comes their way

  • Fight Through Fatigue

    • Is able to make shots at the end of the game when tired because they stay mentally engaged, and practice great shooting fundamentals

  • Desire to Take Big Shots

    • Actively looks to take the big shot at the end of a game

    • Wants the ball at the end of the game and trusts their shot


2. Shooting Fundamentals

  • Shot Preparation

    • Down ready before the ball gets there

    • Comes into their shot the same way every time (muscle memory)

    • Great balance and footwork on every shot

  • Shooting the Ball

    • Catches ball in the shooting pocket with wrist cocked

    • Ball comes straight up the body

    • Shoots the ball in one smooth motion

    • Uses legs correctly to help improve shooting range

  • Follow Through

    • Lands in the same area as they jumped from (unless purposely fading away or drifting to get the shot off)

    • Hand in the basket until shot is made or missed

    • Doesn't practice poor habits like kicking a leg out


3. Shot Selection

  • Quality of Shot

    • Understands the difference between a high and low percentage shot

    • Understands personal shooting strengths and weaknesses

    • Avoids shooting the shots that they are weak in i.e. step back, hang dribble, etc. (this list is different for each shooter)

  • Trust Teammates

    • Is willing to give the ball up early in a possession to get it back later for a better shot

  • Heating Up

    • Knows when shot is falling and how to be aggressive when it is

    • Knows when an easy shot is needed to get going or to get back on track


4. Game Flow

  • Time and Score

    • Understands when the ball needs to be moved around and when it is time for a quick shot

  • Momentum Score

    • Is able to make a big shot to answer the other teams run

    • Is able to make a big shot to put the dagger into the other team


5. Game Speed Shooting

  • Shooting Drills

    • Practices shooting at game speed and is ready for game shots

  • Types of Shots

    • Works on multiple types of shots

    • Doesn't avoid weaknesses when training


6. Move Without the Ball

  • Uses Screens

    • Primary Screens: Down screens, back screens, flare screens, ball screens

    • Primary Cuts of Screens: Curl cut, pro cut, straight cut, fade cut

  • Hard Cuts

    • Reads their defender, and then makes the appropriate cut to get open

  • Spacing

    • Creates a passing lane for the passer by sliding up or down on penetration and post feeds


7. Conditioning

  • Transition

    • Beats the defense up the floor for an open shot

    • Catch and shoot shot or rip through/shot fake one dribble shot

  • Use screens

    • Is able to run defender ragged off of multiple screens

    • Pauses and reads defender before each screen


8. Exploits Scouting Report Defense

  • Penetration

    • Is able to make the defense pay on an over close out

  • Efficient Use of Dribbles

    • Only uses 1-2 dribbles on penetration to get shot off

    • Is able to drive and kick if help defender steps up on penetration

  • Shot Fake

    • Recognizes scouting report defense and uses shot fake to exploit it

    • Uses shot fake to get past defender and also to draw fouls



One of the words that can be closely associated with a great shooter is efficiency. There are a lot of shooters out there that average a lot of points, but they are also averaging a lot of shots as well. These types of players are"volume shooters" and it is rare that they are associated with winning teams. Great shooters are able to take and make shots at a high percentage; which helps their team win games. They recognize that this is their "role" on the team, and they do their best to help the team win.


As you can see from this list, a great shooter is comprised of many different things. There are good shooters that check off some of these points, but only great shooters have really mastered all of these different areas. If you desire to be a great shooter; look through this list and figure out which areas you are strong at and which areas you are weak at.


After this, it is up to you to spend time working on these different areas. Don't avoid your weaknesses when you go to the gym to do your basketball training. You want to maximize your strengths as a shooter, but you also want to limit your weaknesses. The only way to do that is by spending time working on your weaknesses.


If there is one thing that you take away from this article, take this. GREAT SHOOTERS ARE MADE IN THE GYM. Some shooters are more naturally gifted, but there has never been a great shooter in the history of the game, that hasn't also put a countless number of hours into their shot.

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