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The Importance of a Good Jump Shot in Basketball

Not everyone will be able to dunk, crossover a defender, or be an animal on the offensive glass. But anyone can learn how to knock down a jumper. If you love the game and you play regularly — or if you plan on playing in a league — you must develop the ability to hit an open jump shot.

Why You Need a Jumpshot

A reliable jump shot isn’t easy to master. It takes a great deal of time and practice, and much of that must come alone or with a training partner. But it’s something that everyone can work on and become proficient at. For young players growing into the game, developing a jump shot is an essential part of becoming an offensive threat.

A good jump shot doesn’t have to be from long range. In fact, working on a jumper should start within 10 feet of the goal. Players should master close-range shots and gradually work backward. The idea is to master the form in close and use the same form as you extend farther away from the rim. The following sections break down how an effective jump shot can transform your overall game.

Important for All Talent Levels

A reliable jump shot opens up other facets of an offensive game:

  • A man defending a player who can knock down an open jump shot must defend that player more closely. That means taking an extra half-step closer to the defender, which can facilitate a clear path to the basket for dribble-penetration.
  • It can also open up passing lanes and make it easier to cut away from an aggressive defender to receive a pass on the way to the lane.

Many players avoid developing a jump shot because they can create these offensive opportunities without the ability to shoot jumpers. But the threat of a player who can rise up and release a quick jump shot puts the defense constantly on alert. That extra half-step makes every part of the game easier, and means that the defense can never rest when the ball‘s in your hands.

Whether your strength is dribbling, passing, setting screens for teammates, or playing on the low block, having a solid jump shot can improve your strength, make you a better offensive player, and make the game more fun.

Easier to Create Offense

Having a multi-faceted offensive game means that you can create baskets in a variety of ways. This is important when you’re struggling with one part of your game, or having a hard time getting your offense going. Adding a jumper to your game is like a flame-throwing pitcher who adds a curveball. Now, you have a number of ways to break down the opposing player.

Chicago Bull and All-Star point guard Derrick Rose is a lightning fast dribbler and excellent passer. However, he worked hard to add a reliable jump shot to his game prior to the 2010-2011 season. By developing a jumper, he took his game to the next level, winning the Most Valuable Player Award.

A player who can only create offense by dribbling or passing to opponents is never truly a triple threat. He becomes easier to guard and lets defenders sag off their man or roam to help guard other players. The added offensive threat can make your entire team difficult to guard by spreading the defense farther away from the basket.

Adding a jump shot also makes you a better free throw shooter, because the form is nearly the same. The two skills go hand-in-hand. You can spark your offense and find your rhythm by getting to the foul line for a couple of free shots. In many cases, knocking down a foul shot can help you feel confident for the next jump shot, which can open up your entire game.

Fit in With New Teammates

It’s very common to find yourself with new teammates or in a pick-up game with players whose games you’re unfamiliar with. Being able to hit a jump shot makes your game fit in with players of all talent levels and skill sets. On the other hand, if your only strength is dribbling or rebounding, you may have trouble fitting in with players that have the similar types of games.

At the same time, hitting a jump shot or two helps most players get into the rhythm of the game. It tends to make players get more comfortable on the floor, and this translates into better effort on defense and on the boards.

Finally, a player who has comfort zones on the floor usually spots up there for open shots. This makes him easier to find for teammates, and is part of a structured basketball offense. If you’re comfortable knocking down the three-point shot from the corner, your teammates will know to look for you there with a pass.

All it Takes is Practice

The key is not the will to win — everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.

Bob Knight
Hall of Fame NCAA Basketball Coach

Developing a jump shot is not easy and can be especially challenging for big men. In the end, a good jumper relies on quick feet, good balance, and repetitive motion. These traits come more naturally to some players than to others. But every player can become a reliable jump shooter with effort and preparation.

If you love the game, you must be willing to spend time alone on a court. During your alone time, it’s important to work on a jump shot so that you can become a triple threat in the offensive zone. With a little work and some patience, a reliable jumper can become your new best friend.

Becoming an good offensive basketball player requires talent and practice. But to become a triple threat on offense, you must add a jump shot to your game.
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