Avoid Slumps With The Shooter’s Mentality
Basketball shooters talk all the time about having streaks and slumps in their performance, which is very common in all sports.
Shooters say they have the “hot hand” when the ball is dropping with relative consistency and lacking confidence when not sinking shots.
Think of those times when you were “in the zone”… You just launched the ball without thinking about it and had the belief that you could make it from anywhere on the court.
Conversely, there were probably times when you felt you couldn’t hit a basket and would never get out of that slump.
In times of slumps, basketball players tend to over-think their shots.
Slumping shooters think way too much: “Am I releasing the ball correctly?” “Will the ball go in the basket?” “Is the coach going to bench me?” “Am I losing the game for my team?”
The negative and over-active thoughts of slumping players causes more worry about outcomes, increased muscle tension, and over controlled stroke.
If you want to find your groove on the court, confidence, trust, and a calm mind are critical components of your mental game.
Wisconsin Badgers’ junior forward and first-team All-Big Ten player Nigel Hayes has a great “shooter’s mindset” that helps him keep an even keel during the ups and downs on the court.
That mindset was never more needed than when he was in the middle of a season-worst offensive slump during the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
In the Badgers first two games, Hayes shot 5 for 27 (18.5 percent) from the court but stayed emotionally stable and maintained belief in his ability to make shots.
HAYES: “It’s always been one of the things I was big on [keeping an even-keel]. [Head coach Greg Gard] preaches the same thing. Don’t get too high, too low. And when you’re shooting bad, you don’t want to think you’re the worst player and if you shoot well one game, you don’t want to think you’re Steph Curry from behind the arc now.”
Hayes believes shooting is a game of averages… If he is in a slump and he keeps shooting, mathematically, he will soon start making his shots again.
This mindset helps keep his confidence at a high level and stable.
HAYES: “It has to progress to the mean. It has to. Mathematically, it has to. I think I’m 0-of-13 my last two games from three, so the biggest part is to not lose confidence. Shooting the ball, 90 percent of the battle is confidence.”
Hayes shot much better (33%) in the Badger’s sweet-16 loss to Notre Dame but his biggest success was his ability to stay confident despite his earlier slump.
Hayes offered some insightful advice to his fellow players who may, at times, be slumping.
HAYES: “We just got to make sure that we keep working, take shots that we’re comfortable with and we’ll be alright.”
Tips for developing the shooter’s mindset
Focus on these three things:
- Shooters shoot. It is your job to keep shooting no matter the result or how many you have missed.
- Over thinking interferes with successful performance. If you think about the results, you are less likely to score.
- Remind yourself the law of averages. After a few misses the odds are in your favor of making…
Adopt the shooter’s mentality!
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