Michael Jordan spent his free time practicing. He loved it so much that he built a court in his Chicago home. Judging from the trajectory his career took, practice does make perfect. If you’re struggling with jump shots, the only way to master the skill is through repetition. But you have to do it right to see the results.
We’ve pieced together important information you’ll need to improve your jump shot but first …
What is a jump shot?
A jump shot is an attempt at a basket with one or both hands while in the air. When executed properly, a jump shot allows the jumper to shoot over the opponent and have a better view of the hoop. However, players need good upper body strength to get the ball to the rim without pushing from their legs.
Generally, the ability to sink these shots is a skill that’s admired at college and pro levels.
Types of Jump Shots
Basketball is a game of variety and versatility, and this is true for jump shots. Here are some types of jump shots you can integrate into your game.
Fall-away or fadeaway jump shot
This type of shot creates a bit of space between you and your defender. You lean back slightly as you jump to take your shot (hence “fade away”). This makes the shot harder to block but requires greater control and strength as you defy your momentum.
Before you try this in a high-pressure game, practice and get used to the awkward landing that often causes injuries.
Step back jump shot
A step-back jump shot is popular but difficult to master. Players use it to create shooting space between themselves and the defenders. As the name implies, you’ll drive the ball upcourt toward the defender. As soon as you’re close to the defensive player, you take a step back to jump and release the ball. You need superior footwork to execute this shot without traveling.
Pull up jump shot
In a pull-up jump shot, you’re driving toward the basket, and then you suddenly stop and jump to take your shot. This often catches defenders by surprise and throws them off balance. This type of jump shot is ideal for basketball players that cannot beat their defenders with speed and is most effective closer to the basket.
Turn-around jump shot
A turn-around jump shot is usually performed when a player’s back is toward the basket. The player receives the ball, swiftly turns around, and jumps to take the shot, all in one smooth motion. This move requires good spatial awareness and agility to execute successfully.
Tips to improve your shooting mechanics
Perfecting your jump shot is not just about practicing more; it’s about practicing right. Here are some shooting tips from our basketball training camp to refine your shooting mechanics and make every shot count:
- Follow through
Consistency in following through after each shot is paramount. Extend your shooting arm fully and snap your wrist, and reach for the cookie jar. Make the follow-through soft and keep your wrist loose and bouncy to increase shot accuracy.
- Keep your eyes on the target
Don’t watch the ball; keep your eyes fixed on the target. This singular focus helps improve your shot accuracy and enhances your concentration.
- Maintain your balance and stance
Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and body square to the basket. This foundation provides stability and keeps the ball on the right trajectory.
- Analyze your grip
Your grip can make or break your shot. The ball should rest on your fingertips for better control, with your non-shooting hand at a 90-degree angle providing support on the side of the ball. Avoid resting the ball in your palm, as this reduces control and accuracy.
- Give smooth delivery
Ensure smooth and swift delivery of the shot. Your power comes from your legs, flowing to your arms and fingers and finally to the ball. This fluid motion will keep the ball on course and gives it the right spin.
- Correct your shooting form
Be vigilant about your form and performance. If you miss a shot, assess what went wrong. Were your feet shoulder width apart? Was the ball on your finger pads or your palm? Did you lose focus? Regular self-correction during practice helps you continuously improve yourshooting techniques.
Basic drills to improve your jump shot
To put the above mechanics into muscle memory, you need to practice. But before engaging in any intensive activity, have a proper warm-up. Start with some light jogging, skipping, or on-the-spot exercises to elevate your heart rate and prepare your muscles.
This drill focuses on enhancing your shooting rhythm and form. Start close to the hoop, practicing your shooting motion without jumping. Gradually move back toward the free-throw line, adding the jump as you get comfortable. Take hundreds of shots until it’s easy.
Drop step drills help improve your footwork, a key element in a jump shot. Start at the low post, drop step towards the basket, pivot, and then go for a jump shot. Practice this drill from both sides.
To master the turn-around jump shot, practice catching the ball with your back to the hoop, pivoting on one foot, and jumping into your shot. This drill enhances your spatial awareness and shooting accuracy.
Net shots practice
Shooting without the ball is a great way to groove your shooting motion. Stand under the net and mimic your jump shot. Focus on your form, balance, and follow-through.
One-armed shooting drills help to strengthen your shooting arm and improve your aim. Start by shooting with one arm from a stationary position. Once comfortable, add a one-footed jump to increase the challenge.
Consistently practicing these drills, regular assessment, and adjustment of your form and technique, will lead to significant improvements. Remember, it’s not about how many shots you make but the quality of each shot you take. And if you need help figuring out the right set up for you, our expert group basketball training camps can help you!
Professional Basketball Training from You Reach I Teach
Perfecting the jump shot in basketball is a journey of constant learning and improvement. While you can do it alone, having an expert guiding you can make this journey more efficient and enjoyable.
At You Reach I Teach Basketball Academy, we’ve mastered the art of training and getting results. We build custom training and drills for every player to maximize results.
Are you ready to elevate your game? Contact our academy today for your first free group session, and let’s transform your jump shot together! Remember, great basketball shooters are made, not born.