Mentally Correcting Your Shot After a Miss

Mentally Correcting Your Shot After a Miss
By Hal Wissel

Many players get upset over their errors, particularly missed shots, and often dwell on the mistake to the point that subsequent play is affected. Each time you recite a negative word out loud, act with negative body language, or have negative thoughts after a missed shot, your brain is conditioned to perform the missed shot again. You must learn to “act like a shooter” rather than dwell on mistakes.

We use a computer analogy. When you type on a keyboard and make a mistake, what do you do? Do you type the same mistake again? Of course you don’t. You erase the mistake and correct it. You backspace to delete the error, or you cut and paste in a correction. A similar process should apply to shooting errors. After a miss, you must know why you missed by seeing the reaction of the ball on the rim or by the feel of the shot. You then immediately correct the miss using a positive trigger word that aids the correction. For example, if you feel the shot was short because you didn’t use the legs, you correct the mistake while speaking the trigger word “Legs!” to key proper use of the legs. If you feel the shot was short because you did not follow through, you correct the mistake while saying the key word “Through!” to trigger a complete follow-through. If you feel the shot was short because of a slow or uneven rhythm, you correct the mistake while saying the key words “Down and up!” with a quick free flowing rhythm to trigger the down and up rhythm of your legs or you can simply say “Rhythm!”

An excellent method for conditioning successful shooting is to use a positive trigger word in association with correct mental rehearsal and visualization of a successful shot. After missing a shot, immediately correct the miss with a positive trigger word and then visualize a good shot. This helps prevent negative thinking, which disrupts concentration and leads to more missed shots. Learning to react to a missed shot by visualizing a successful shot helps condition you to “Act like a shooter, feel like a shooter, be a shooter!”

Mentally Correcting Your Shot After a Miss