We have all been there; you are at the court and find yourself in a pickup game. You play your guts out and you cannot help it but compare yourself to the other players on the court because you see that their jump shots are connecting— while yours are barely touching rim. The doubt starts to trickle in. You question whether or not your jump shot technique is good anymore and start over analyzing every step you make on the court and your basketball basics. The question pops into your head: how can I improve my jump shot?
I found myself in this situation countless times; often scouring Youtube for how-to's at one in the morning and getting sidetracked by tutorials on how to improve my basketball handles. I would devour highlight reels of some of the best shooters in the league. All of this information I would sift through would eventually drop me at the doorstep of a series of videos that would put two and two together.
There is a wide misconception that in order to have a great jump shot you must jump straight up and down while landing your feet in the same place where you initiated your jump. Well that is wrong—incredibly wrong. In fact, just erase that from your memory. The true effectiveness in a jump shot comes from how you sweep and sway your feet during the jump. Take a moment to review jump shots of the best shooters in the league. Do you notice how LeBron, Carmelo, Kobe and James Harden shoot? They jump into their shots, sweeping their feet forward while swaying their shoulders back.
Picture it like this: you are standing right behind the three point line facing the basket with the ball in your hands. With your dominant foot forward and your side facing the basket at a forty five degree angle, bend your knees and hold the ball as if you were prepping yourself to shoot it. At this point you jump from your position outside of the three point line to inside the line, ensuring to keep your shoulders back, and shoot the ball at the peak of your jump. Feels weird, don't it? The ball will most likely not go in but you will notice how much easier it is to shoot in this fashion compared to the archaic up and down method.
To get a better understanding of this tactic, I suggest hopping (pun intended) onto Youtube and searching for 'Pro Shooting System Sweep and Sway'. These guys break it down into simple steps and even show you how some of the best shooters in the league doing it during games.
Word of advice: give this method some time because it will not work overnight. Like any good player, practice and determination will produce results. Try to incorporate it into your basketball drills and start to notice the difference soon afterward.
So next time you are at the courts and get reeled into a pickup game, you can feel a little more confident about your shot. You even feel like a professional player when you get the hang of it. Who knows? And you can finally get rid of that pestering question of 'how to improve my jump shot?'