Turning Your Low Percentage Shots into High Percentage Shots
Sun Tzu, the Chinese general who wrote the Art of War, said that if you know both your enemy and yourself, you can win a hundred battles. Knowing your opponent’s weaknesses is one thing, but knowing your own weaknesses is the key to truly becoming great.
By knowing your faults, you can improve upon them to bolster your strengths. That holds especially true for your shots, which may likely have spots on the floor where you don’t score as consistently as you do at your strong spots.
It’s imperative that you turn those bad shots to good ones to make yourself a more effective shooter. Because if you can shoot, you can play.
Identifying Your Low Percentage Shots
You don’t have to improve on every single shot you’re weak at right away. That’s a long-term process you’ll be working on for as long as you play basketball throughout your life. What you can improve on right now is one weak spot at a time.
First, identify the one shot you keep missing all the time. Whether it’s your weak side perimeter jumper, corner three, or so on, pick the one that you keep finding yourself attempting and failing most consistently and work on that.
If you can start hitting from that spot, opponents will have one less weakness they can force you into. That’s your main motivation for getting better at what you’re weak at.
Practicing Your Low Percentage Shots
Start by practicing just shooting from that spot without any resistance. You can then add to it by catching and shooting, then dribbling from different parts of the court to the spot before shooting, then having a defender contesting your shot.
As you keep working on it while also playing in games, take special note of situations that force you to take that shot from that spot. Prepare every contingency possible as you practice that low percentage shot and you can turn it into a high percentage shot.
You can then add even more resistance in your practice by adding a double team, switching between weak spots and strong spots, adding more range to the shot, adding more speed and complication to your approach (like crossovers, hesitation moves, pivots), getting to it while both facing the basket and with your back to the basket, and so on.
Also, you should fine-tune your shooting mechanics. Maybe it’s not that it’s a low percentage shot for you, but because your shooting form and motion are flawed. Perhaps your motion is broken up, your arms are too hitched up, your shooting arm is not aligned properly, you’re not releasing the ball at the right time, or your guide hand is interfering with the shot.
That last one is one of the most common mistakes in basketball. You’ll even see pros repeatedly commit that mistake, and it’s the one thing you can correct to dramatically improve your shot. The Shoot Natural glove is designed to correct this, letting you get a feel for how your guide hand should be positioned while shooting the ball.
Leave no stone unturned as you work on your weak shot. By getting better at it, you may even see improvement in your stronger shots as you get better with your shooting mechanics. If you can shoot better, you can play better.
Advantages of Turning a Low Percentage Shot into Your Strength
Ray Allen is one of the greatest three-point shooters in NBA history. While he was a dunker early in his career, he later became known as a sniper from downtown. He knew he could become a more effective player in the long term if he added a three-point shot to his game.
This was just before the league started seeing at least twice the numbers of threes being shot per game in the 2010s. His drive to improve this way would lead him to win his second NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2013 against the San Antonio Spurs. It was his three-point shot that saved his team from defeat in a crucial Game 6, tying the scores and giving the Heat another chance to stay in the series.
His stepback corner three has become his signature, catching a pass and stepping back outside the line in one fluid motion, then letting it fly. It turns out that he would practice this maneuver diligently and meticulously, making sure he doesn’t step out of bounds as he stepped back.
This one shot made him dangerous and it won him a ring. There are a good number of shooters who are good with corner threes, but Ray Allen’s stepback corner three became legendary due to both his prowess and what he did with it.
If you can turn your weakness into a strength, you can become a much greater threat on the basketball court. Opponents will find it harder to defend against you, and your team will have more offensive options. By becoming a better shooter, your team can become a lot better.
Work on Your Layups
If you’re willing to do some extra homework, you should practice the single most missed shot in basketball—the layup.
That’s right. Not the three, mid-range, or even the free throw, but the layup. You’d think that the closer you get to the basket, the harder it is to miss, but you’d be wrong. Due to the nature of the layup, while it’s often seen as a high percentage shot, it gets missed over and over and over again.
It takes a lot of hard work to get into the paint to do a layup, so you’d want all your layups to go in whenever possible. Every time you miss a layup, not only did you waste a scoring opportunity, but you and your team also wasted time and energy in getting to that layup in the first place.
The execution of a basic layup becomes harder when coupled with fatigue and resisted by a strong defense. Exploding up in the air and then gently laying the ball up and into the basket with a soft touch is a deceptively hard thing to do in the middle of a game.
Practice your layup on all sides of the rim—front, left, and right. Bounce it inside the box of the backboard at the right angle to get it straight into the basket as much as possible. The goal is to not have it bounce on the rim after it touches the backboard. A clean layup is a high percentage layup.
Improve Your Focus
The most important aspect in shooting, above even the mechanics, is your focus. If you have anything else in your mind other than the task at hand as you shoot the ball, it’s likely not going in. Being able to get into that zone of focus as you shoot, especially when your shot is being contested, is the final piece of the puzzle.
Improving your focus as you shoot the basketball has two key factors—rhythm and aim. Your shooting motion should have a rhythm, whether it’s from catching a pass or off the dribble. One, you gather the ball as you bend your knees. Two, you bring the ball up as you jump. Three, you release the ball as you get to the top of your jump. One, two, three.
As you shoot, you must have your eyes right at the basket. Your whole body should face the basket as you shoot, and looking straight at the basket helps you align yourself. As you bring the ball up, aim right at it and release it. As long as you have the ball flying straight, all that’s left is to refine your shooting touch.
The goal is to make it second nature, like breathing. You don’t really think about it as your body does it, but your mind is singularly concentrated on the shot. It’s mastering that balancing act that will help make you a better shooter.
There are many ways you can improve your low percentage shot, but the key is always deliberate practice. Victory loves preparation, and every bit of help you can get counts. Make it even better by practicing with the Shoot Natural glove to refine your shooting form and become a bonafide court sniper.