Understanding Your Shot and Becoming Your Own Best Coach
By Hal Wissel

Becoming a better shooter takes self-discipline, hard work, and correct practice. Most of the time you will be practicing alone without a coach to help you. Learning to understand your own shot and become your own best coach will help you practice correctly and improve. Here are some tips to help you do this:

Have confidence in yourself. Always start with what you are doing well.

Ask yourself, “When I am shooting well, what am I doing?” There is no wrong answer to this question. It simply gives an indication of your confidence level and what you know about your own shot. If you respond with the answer “I just shoot,” this may indicate that you have confidence and that you are not overthinking when you shoot. If your answer is “When I’m shooting well, my hand is going straight toward the basket,” then you have an idea of what you want to do when shooting.

Tell yourself, “I want to shoot with confidence and rhythm. I want to focus on the one mechanic that helps my shot the most. I want to learn to coach myself.” Select two or three one-syllable key words that you associate with what you want to do.

Keep it simple. Too much thinking causes paralysis by analysis. Shooting should be smooth, free flowing, and rhythmical. Your key words are short, concise, and positive. Say your words with confidence and rhythm from the start of your shot to the release of the ball.

Be positive. Eliminate thinking about the shot or shots that you missed. Negative thinking distracts you. It makes you tense. It causes you to lose your confidence. When you miss a shot, immediately correct it with a positive key word that you associate with making the shot. Visualize a good shot and always act as if you made it. Act like a shooter!

Strive to keep your confidence level high. Keep reminding yourself that you can and will achieve your goals. Motivate yourself to consistently do what it takes to reach your goals. Commit to daily, specific, measurable goal setting and correct practice. Commitment fosters confidence. Never think for one moment that you will have anything less than success. Constantly tell yourself, “I am a shooter!”

Be enthusiastic. Be energized, and tenacious to inspire yourself to reach new heights. This will also inspire your team.

Above all, make it enjoyable! You become a better player when you have high spirits, a bright smile, and a sense of humor.

Understanding Your Shot and Becoming Your Own Best Coach