You weren't sure, but your last ice-cold outing is the final proof. Shots you used to sink with ease are now clanging off the rim.
It's clear...you’re in a shooting slump. You’re beginning to second-guess yourself and your shot. But all top level players like Stephen Curry, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant all agree: mental toughness is critical to shooting success.
Nothing presents more of a mental challenge than a shooting slump. Every basketball player has them. The great ones learn from them.
Even five of the greatest shooters in basketball history have gone through shooting slumps. Here are lessons they learned as they clawed back to greatness.
Kyle Korver says: ‘Keep your mechanics consistent.’
Atlanta’s Korver was on pace for anhistoric 2014-15 NBA season. He was going to be first to crack the 50-50-90 club – 50% from the floor, 50% from 3-point range and 90% from the free throw line. But, poor late season shooting derailed it. His fix was a deep understanding of the mechanics of his shot. “I’m a firm believer that if your body is working correctly and you shoot it the same way every time, you’re able to minimize those kinds of shooting slumps.”
Steph Curry says: ‘Watch the weight lifting.’
Before revolutionizing shooting in the NBA, Stephen Curry was a first-round draft pick who wasn’t hitting his pre-season jump shots. Coach Don Nelson planned to limit his rookie’s minutes because of poor shooting. Nelson advised Curry to cut back on weight lifting. “Your triceps are very important in shooting,” Nelson said. “If you’re fatigued because of too much lifting or you’re not used to it [your shot may suffer].”
Larry Bird says: ‘Put in extra shooting drills.’
Boston’s former superstar, Larry Legend, is credited, along Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, with jumpstarting the modern NBA. Of the three, Bird was regarded as the best shooter. So, when Bird had off nights his remedy was extra shooting practice. “I don’t have the skills a lot of the players do,” he said. “I have to go out and shoot that extra hour.” Whether this is before, during, or after practice, make sure you're training your shot at game speed.
Reggie Miller says: ‘Shoot like there’s no slump.’
Reggie Miller never led the Indiana Pacers to the NBA championship in his 18-year career, but his ungainly shot always kept them in the chase. “Reggie Miller's answer to every shooting slump he has ever had has been to keep shooting,” said sportswriter Steve Herman. “Again and again and again. As long as it takes.” Miller was the epitome of confidence in his 18-year career. He was known for long-distance daggers and breaking the hearts of NY Knicks fans. What he didn’t have was a classically lovely jumper. Former Golden State coach Mark Jackson said, "If I had a shooting coach with Reggie Miller when he was a kid, they would’ve changed his shot, told him he'd never be a shooter, and corrected him probably a hundred times."
Ray Allen says: ‘Don’t change for change’s sake.’
Allen is the most prolific 3-point shooter in NBA history, a game-changer whose jumper secured a championship for the Miami Heat. He advises shooters to think long-term success. Whether you shoot well or poorly, he says, stick to your routine. “If you’re working hard,” he said, “the averages are going to average out. I don’t get too excited about shots I make because I’m supposed make them. I’m more perplexed when I don’t make it.”
Getting out of your slump may require a mental adjustment or a few more hours on the basketball shooting machine. However you solve it – and you will – the effort will make you a better basketball player and shooter. Use these basketball quotes to accelerate that process.
Shooting doesn't have to be complicated. Simplify your shot with these "3 C's!"