Let me guess... you're a pretty good shooter during practice sessions, but when it comes to actual games, well that's a different story. I wish I had a quarter every time I saw a player in this situation. It happens a lot. If you find yourself in this situation understand that you aren't alone.
Be grateful for the fact that you CAN shoot well during practice, but realize you've got some work to do before you'll start knocking down shots consistently during games.
Many players make the huge mistake of just thinking they are just going through a spell of bad luck and never address the core issue. They think that because they can knock down shots regularly in practice that it will eventually start happening in games.
Some players carry this attitude with them for years and then all of a sudden realize that their playing career is in its final hour and it's too late to do anything about it. They end up with a reputation of being the guy that had enormous potential but never quite could put it all together.
Don't be that player! There are certain things you can do to improve your game time shooting ability and this article shows you the way. Follow these steps and you will soon be on your way to becoming that shooter you've always wanted to be.
1. Practice shooting while you are tired
One of the reasons it is so much easier to shoot in practice is because your legs and lungs aren't very tired. Imagine yourself walking fresh out on the court tomorrow all by yourself to shoot a few jump shots around the foul line. Now think to yourself, how comparable is that type of shot to a shot you'll get in a game? Not very likely at all, right? During games you will likely have a good hard sweat going from running so much and your legs will be tired from playing defense. It's a completely different situation.
Next time you practice your shooting run a handful of ladders and wind sprints first. I'd suggest even doing some leg lifts to get your legs burning. Work up a sweat, make yourself good and tired and THEN start shootin. This will prepare you for the shots you will be shooting during a game.
2. Create competition
Another reason it is so much harder to hit shots during games is because of the pressure that exists. When you are in a practice session it doesn't really matter if you miss. There are no crowds there to taunt you, no parents or girlfriends there you are trying to impress and no teammates that are counting on you for the win. Bottom line is, everything in life is easier when there is no pressure.
You've got to start creating competition each time you practice. Try setting a goal of how many shots you are going to make during certain intervals and then if you don't reach it punish yourself somehow. Force yourself to stay late and workout, anything to put some pressure on you. Another idea is to take a friend or peer with you and put together a contest. Make it so the loser has to buy ice cream on the way home or something like that. The point is to do something that puts a little pressure on you while you shoot. By doing this you'll get more comfortable with shots you are shooting during games because you are use to the pressure.
This may seem a little silly to some people at first glance, but it is super effective. I'm not talking about some spiritual ritual. I'm talking about simply dedicating some time before each game to think about you making shots. Studies have shown over and over again that athletes, who picture themselves performing well in their minds before their games, perform much better than those who don't. What it does is it creates inner confidence so that when you square up for a shot, you've already played out the scenario in your mind and you feel good about it.
Good shooting has a lot to do with what's going on in your head. If you are nervous, timid or scared chances are, you are going to miss. On the other hand, if you are confident and relaxed you'll make most of your shots. Another healthy idea involving meditation is to take time to think about what happens when you miss a shot during a game. Tell yourself it will happen and when it does it's not the end of the world. Picture yourself shrugging it off and going up with confidence for the next shot.
It comes down to the fact that if you aren't putting yourself in game type situations when you practice your shooting, you'll never shoot well when it counts. Follow these 3 simple steps over and over again and watch yourself improve. Hopefully by the end of the season you'll be shooting just as good in games as you do during practice.
by Andy Louder