Tired of missing baskets? Wish you had the confidence to join a pick up game after work? If you’re looking to enhance your own shooting percentage when it comes to playing basketball, don’t miss these top tips:

Ditch the Negativity

How much of basketball do you think is a mental game? 50%? 90%? Try 100%. Scientifically speaking, all your skeletal muscles are voluntary so they require electrical cues from your brain to do absolutely anything. Your mindset plays a huge role in helping you succeed off the court, so why wouldn’t it on the court? When it comes to improving your shots, don’t forget to exercise your mind.

Meditation, mindfulness practices like yoga, even self pep talks out loud before your game can make a difference. Exhaustive preparation never hurt either – practice does indeed make perfect, and when your competence of the game is authentic, it will fuel your confidence to succeed.

Relax the Wrist

Is your wrist tensing up as the ball leaves your hand heading for the basket? The follow through of a shot is critical to an airless swish, so if you’re looking to amp up your shooting percentage, make sure that you are relaxing your wrist when you shoot.

A tense wrist interferes with the shot direction and velocity, negatively impacting your shooting success. Once the ball leaves your hand, your hand should follow the line of direction with the wrist, so relaxed it even bounces slightly. The control and power of your shot comes from your legs and your arm, your wrist and hand should relax as you hold your stance until the ball reaches the basket.

Work on Rotation

Master the backspin of the ball in your shot by working on rotation. When you guide the ball with your hand and wrist instead of relying on the quick and forceful pushing of your arm to power the shot, you interfere with the natural spin the ball should have as it leaves your hand.

Relaxing the wrist as you extend your arm will help with the rotation, as will practicing with a multi-colored ball. A basketball with multiple colors will allow you to gauge rotation when you practice so you can sense the speed (low, medium, fast) and directionality that helps you best achieve a successful shot.

Support the Knee

As a high-impact sport, basketball (like running and soccer) does quite a number on the lower body joints including the knee and ankle. Each strike of the foot on the court whether you’re running or jumping sends shockwaves up the leg, much of which the knee absorbs. Even if you don’t fall or specifically injure the knee in a collision with another player for example, repeated play can take its toll over time. When it comes to ramping up your shooting percentage, make sure that knee weakness and pain aren’t killing your jump height or air time.

A basketball compression knee sleeve or brace can provide support to reinforce the knee joint without limiting range of motion or flexibility. Compression from these types of orthotic aids also help stabilize the ligaments and tendons in and around the knee to prevent them from rubbing, irritating, or straining during play.

Optimize Your Arc

When it comes down to the hard math of basketball, the higher your arc, the greater the window of opportunity to sink a basket. Flat shots or those with minimal arc are more likely to hit the rim and rebound, but increasing your arc even by 10 degrees may change that. Beware of overshooting the arc as you’ll be more likely to lose ball control and distance perception.

To achieve optimum arc with a basketball shot, you’ll want to first make sure that your shooting hand is high enough in the air that the basket in front of you is visible below your fingers during follow through. Coupled with a relaxed wrist and practiced distance control, you’ll be mastering an arc that improves your shooting percentage for good.