Mental Part of Basketball Shooting (Part I): CONFIDENCE

How many times have we told our players to be “confident shooters”? I guarantee the phrase, “Come on, be unconfident when you shoot that ball” has never been uttered by a coach in the history of basketball.

Let’s face it, confidence and shooting go hand in hand.

Recently I came across a disturbing video that was recorded a few years ago. My good friend, Nick Hauselman of Bball Breakdown was interviewing ex-NBA sharpshooter, Dennis Scott. Nick asks Scott, “Can you tell us bout what the most important fundamental when shooting a basketball?”

Scott responded, “Confidence.”

Nick asked him, “Interesting. How do you develop that?”

“You’re born with it.”

This maybe the biggest pile of garbage I have ever heard. No psychologist in America will claim, “You are born with confidence.” In regards to confidence, you are basically born a blank slate. Over time you develop confidence through past positive experiences.

In sports, confidence comes as a result of success on the field or court. In other words, the better a player becomes, the more confident the player becomes.

At Pro Shot we get parents that call to set up a private lesson with their child. The comment we get most often is, “My child lacks confidence. That’s all.” When we start working that player out we instantly notice he/she lacks confidence because the player lack skills.

In shooting, greatness starts with shooting mechanics and practice. The better the mechanics and the more you practice, the more shots you make. The more shots you make, the more confident you become. It’s really that simple.

Here is the biggest misconception that we hear in regards to confidence and shooting. Confidence does not help you make shots. Making shots is about shooting mechanics and practice. In truth, confidence helps you to take shots. The more difficult the situation, the more confidence you need.

So why isn’t confidence part of the shooting process. The jump shot is very quick. Usually from .6-.8 seconds. Almost a blink of the eye. The brain goes on automatic pilot. The reflexes take over led by shooting mechanics developed through practice.

To be a great shooter a player needs to take shots in games. The more confidence, the more shots they generally take.

Occasionally you will come across a confident player who is a terrible shooter. Why? Because they lack shooting mechanics and a practice plan.

Please remember for a player to become a great shooter, mechanics and practice must occur before confidence.

Confidence ALONE doesn’t work well in life. Think of it this way. You wouldn’t have a doctor operate on you without education, training and practice simply because he has confidence. You wouldn’t fly in a plane with a pilot who lacks pilot skills and understanding of a plane simply because he is a confident individual. So why is shooting a basketball any different?

It’s really simply math. Shooting mechanics+practice=confidence.

In Part I we focus on Confidence and how it relates to accurate shooting.