Sharpening Your 3 Point Shots

By | July 7, 2010

In pursuit of the perfect basketball game, I’m looking at all the skills and elements that make for great play. Apart from dunking, nothing’s got more pop than an awesome 3 pointer. It’s a glamour shot, for sure- so I wanted the sharpest skills I could get.

Practicing 3 Point Shots

I’ve always been pretty decent with a long shot, and I put this down to the time I spent practicing in my youth. What worked then can still work now, so I’ve gotten back into the classic 3 point drill.

I pick 5 spread out spots at intervals along the line and try to score a set number of baskets, before moving along to the next area. If I can practice hitting it, from all the angles, I can avoid developing any weak spots in my game.

I try to pick slightly different spots for each session, so that I don’t develop the ability to hit the long shot from 5 set areas, I’m working on my ability to score from all kinds of angles instead.

Using The Backboard

Hitting a shot that’s all net is crazy good, but at range the backboard’s your best friend. Unless you’re trying to hit a 3 from a 90 degree angle, you should aim to arc it off the backboard, as much as possible.

Let the backboard do its job- deadening the force of a long throw, so that it goes in the basket. If it catches the rim after going a decent distance, it’s likely to rocket out of a scoring opportunity, possibly into the hands of the defense.

That’s the main reason why practice is so important, when it comes to 3 point shots. It’s all about learning how the ball reacts to different forces and angles, so that you can better judge the situation.

Jumping Or Stationary?

Both shot types have their advantages. The classic stationary shot can be more accurate, for most people but the jump shot, which gets more and more common, has a higher chance of getting through guards. Weigh up each type, given different play situations. It would be a good idea to practice both, as much as you can.

Focus and Aim

Make sure you’re looking at the spot you want to hit, when you take the shot. It’s vital that you concentrate your energies on getting it to hit the right spot; in most cases the backboard. Being able to establish quick concentration is also instrumental to 3 point shot success. Visualization can help here.

Follow Through With The Shot

As with free throws, it’s important that you follow through, all the way, with your wrist. Getting the ball to accurately travel, over that kind of distance, requires the quick, precise release of the ball. Even pros can fail to give their wrists the fully travel required, especially when things are tight. It’s even more of an issue for everyone else.

Make sure the hand continues to bend downwards as the ball is released and just after. Try to make this as instinctive as possible, so that you don’t fall short if you are put under pressure.

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