10 Tips to Improve the Mental Side of Shooting
Improve Your Shooters EQ
Basketball IQ is incredibly important in shooting. Shots are often made or missed before they are ever even taken. Shooters IQ is the instinctive ability to know how to get open for a shot, where and when to take a shot, what type of shot to take, and even when not to shoot.
Basketball EQ (Emotional Quotient) is a player’s ability to control emotions regardless of the changing circumstances (time and score – missed/made last three shot attempts, etc.) of a basketball game. EQ affects a player’s abilities to adjust on the fly and perform under pressure. Our research indicates that your emotional quotient may be twice as important in contributing to shooting excellence than basketball IQ and shooting skill alone.
Start doing. Stop practicing shooting. Start making shots. It doesn’t matter how many shots you practice. What matters is how many shots you actually make during practice.
For true shooting mastery, it also helps to limit practice to making only the one or two types of shots you will actually get to take while in the flow of your team's offense. Also, instead of trying to "practice at game speed," make shots while being denied the ball and even guarded by one or two defenders. Successful experience in practice leads to successful experience in games and raises the your personal level of expectation.
Raise Your Level of Expectation
Make perfect shots. In our player development sessions at 1on1 Basketball Academy, we require that all layups go off the backboard and through the net without ever touching the rim. Hit the rim and the shot does not count. Jump shots must also be "all-net" in order to count.
Make shots with your eyes closed. Play "all-net/eyes closed" shooting competitions in practice to develop your "feel" for making shots. Focus on the feel needed to make perfect shots from warm-up to cool down, and your practice effort will transfer into real game success.
Basketball players and teams practice hard and often still play inconsistently or poorly. Make better use of practice time. Get your practice time effort to transfer into real performance in real games.
As an expert in pedagogy and behavioral science, I firmly believe that the most effective way to perform at peak performance levels is to practice (even when you are initially learning new skills) with a success/failure-based immediate and effective consequence. That's how it is in a real game. That's how it is in life."
Go Beyond Confidence
We do clinics for coaches and players all across the country and internationally. Unannounced at every clinic, I walk to half court and a make shot, facing backwards, with my eyes closed! I never practice, yet I consistently make the shot in less than seven attempts.
How can I do this? I have simply memorized the feel of a successful shot. As I'm holding the basketball, I take just one to two seconds to focus/meditate on getting that feeling as I take the shot. With everyone now watching, we then take a player from the clinic group and get them to make the shot (eyes open for rookies!). Always a crowd pleaser, this is a great example of what mastering the mental aspects of shooting can do for any player.
Release old ideas and beliefs. Empty your cup of pre-conceived barriers and fill it with new knowledge. Be in the moment--no past, no future--and only aware of the meditative mantra feeling of the ball rolling off your fingers.