3 Point Shooting Drills – Improve Accuracy & Distance

Regardless of whether you or 5 feet tall or 7 feet tall, it is the expectation now that you can shoot a 3 pointer and that you can shoot them with consistency. If you want to make teams and make the cuts, your ability to shoot from “outside the arc” is critical. I am going to walk you through the best 3 point shooting drills for improving your outside game.

A stationary 3 pointer and the ability to shoot from the set position isn’t the be-all-end-all. Yes it is important, but just as important as three point shooting and your actual shot is your ability to set up shot.

I am going to break this down into four layers. The first is setting up your actual shots and getting open. The second is going to be increasing the speed and the release of your shot. Then we are going to focus on the accuracy of your 3 point shot. The last thing our shooting drills that you can use to increase the range of your shot.

Importance of 3 Point Shooting in Today’s Game

Basketball is an evolving sport. There once was a time when height meant everything, and although a great shot was still important, there’s never been a more in port and time to know how to shoot a 3 pointer.

If you tune into any NBA game, you will see the emphasis on the 3 point shot and players are shooting from further out than they ever have. A great 3 point shooting team is one that will be able to capitalize a much more open court and make slashers and the centers far more efficient.

In respect to Varsity and College ball, the 3 point shot is something that is becoming expected of you, so it is truly time to step up your game and put some focus with your practice into your 3 point abilities and improving all the underlying aspects that will make you a great 3 point shooter.

There are 4 things that lead to a great shooter:

  1. Ability to Get Open
  2. A Quick Release
  3. Accuracy of Your Shot
  4. Ability to Shoot at a Distance

Improving the Setup of You Shot. Get Open. Unload.

There’re two ways in which you can get open. You can allude the defender with great dribbling skills, or you can make cuts away from the ball to get open.

Getting open for the pass comes down to your effort. If your defender becomes tired or isn’t willing to run around enough screens then they are going lose defensive position on you.

Endurance and speed are critical aspects to being a great shooter, in particular as a game wears on. If you cannot get away from a good defender, you are going to be shut down and your shooting skills won’t matter. So first and foremost, you focus on your speed and agility.

A Quick Release. Buying Yourself More Time.

The longer you take to release the ball, the less opportunity you were going to have to make the shot. There is no worse feeling than being blocked from behind the 3 point line, so part of your three point shooting skills surround the idea been able to release the ball quickly.

This is something that you should practice and should be part of any shooting drills that you are doing. If you look at any great shooter in the NBA, you’re going to notice that there quick release. This includes the likes of Ray Allen and Steph Curry, Two of the greatest shooters of our time And two of the quickest releases we have ever seen.

What Are the Best Drills to Improve 3 Point Accuracy.

There are several ways that you can work on your 3 point shot accuracy. An inch can make a difference between a ball that bounces out, and a swish. I know they say football is a game of inches, but basketball is also a game of inches.

Here are few 3 point shooting drills that I recommend that you use in order to improve your 3 point accuracy and your overall shooting accuracy.

  • 3 point Bank Shots. These are naturally a little bit further than a normal shot. A bank shot has a lot less room for error, an by hitting bank shots from various angles you are going to improve your precision as a shooter. It is far more difficult hit a bank shot from three-point land, then to hit a rim focused shot.
  • Hit the Rim. As funny as it sounds if you can practice hitting the rim in certain spots, you are going to be able to improve your accuracy. For this drill, you want to shoot from straight on to the hoop. Start by trying to hit the back of the rim, and then work counter clockwise around the rim. Back side, right side, front side, left side. Then end with a shot square in the middle attempt to “swish”. Do this 5 times.
  • 5 Spot Shooting. To do this drill, you want to work your way around the 3 point arc. First, start in the baseline corners. Hit a shot from one corner, then run to the other side and hit a shot from the other corner. If you miss a shot, run back to the same location until you hit a shot from there. The next fall is the 45 angle on the arc, and then do the same thing there. Then finally you want to hit two shots from straight on.This drill is also a good practice in terms of endurance. If you’re missing your shots, you’re going to start to get tired as you have got to run and fetch the ball, returning to that same shooting location.

Drills to Improve Your 3 Point Distance

There are a lot of great drills for improving your shot strength, but I want to keep your exercise routines as simple as possible. You shouldn’t need to take a “book” to the gym to remember what you have to practice, so you should get in the routine of doing just the best drills that will be the most efficient accelerators in terms of your “distance shooting” .

There are 3 distance shooting drills that you should be working on to help you improve the overall range of your 3 point shot.

  • Start Deep, Move In. With this drill you’re going to start at Your maximum range. If you need to find a few shots to find that range, then do that. If you have a partner to help feed you the ball, then this drill will take a lot less exercise. I recommend you fetch your own balls.Take five shots at each position, And then move one step in as you get closer to the three-point line. Something interesting is going to happen by the time you reach the three-point line. It is going out all of a sudden feel like a 10-foot jumper and your range has just been increased.This can be a good pregame warm-up.
  • Medicine Ball Shooting. Make sure you focus on the spin of the ball as well and proper form. You’re not just heaving a ball up and down you’re emulating your actual shot. Make sure you are getting back spin on the ball and the position the ball in your hands as you would your normal shot.If you are in the gym, shoot the ball towards the hoop and try to also work on accuracy at the same time.
  • Shots from Center Court. If you have ever been to an NBA game and watched great shooters like Steph Curry, Lebron James, Isiah Thomas, Klay Thompson, you will notice that pre game they usually take at least 10-20 shots from center. It may seem as though they are doing this just to mess around, but that is not the case. Moving out of your consistent shooting-range, will increase the distance of your consistent shooting-range.As you start to shoot more and more balls from center court, you are going to find your the hoop appears bigger and it starts to feel like a free throw to drop a 3 pointer.

**On a side note, you always want to end shooting free throws when you are tired. This will emulate game play and it is most typical to be shooting free throws after you are being very active and not fresh. This will improve your free throw shooting percentage, Well it is not the focus.

3 Point Shooting “Must Haves”.

One last thing that you should consider before heading into game time. You should not be trying to extend your shot rate for the game, Yes you can take deep shots, But you should finish your practice with a range in which you want to shoot the shots during the game. This will hone in your range.

One of the best tools that I know of for improving your 3 point shot (outside of the drills that I have provided), is the Hathaway Rebounder.  This is great for “solo shooting” which is handy because most practice is done when you are solo.  This will increase the number of shots that you can shoot in an hour by over 50%, and will allow you to rapid shoot from a shooting tray.

Click here to improve your 3 point practice efficiency & check out my ultimate rebounding tool!

That is if you are practicing before the game on shots from center, without reestablishing yourself at the three-point line, Your first few shots of the game are likely going to be long.

The 3 Pointer. Make It Your “Go To”.

These 3 point shooting drills should help you improve your game. Again if you can shoot a “3 ball” you’re going to be of much more value and asset to any team whether you are playing varsity, college, NBA, or playing in a 3 on 3 tournament.

As far as I’m concerned, anyone that practices shooting 3-pointers properly can become a 3-point shooter. Perfect practice leads to perfection and by implementing that strategies that I have laid out in the training above, you are going to be setting yourself up for a killer shot, from anywhere on the court. Bombs away!

21 thoughts on “3 Point Shooting Drills – Improve Accuracy & Distance”

  1. You are King that is for sure. I loved reading every word….even if I am a Grandma. Now I know more about 3 point shooting. I will put this into practice and play next time I get on the court.

    Reply
    • Awesome, that is great. I am constantly trying to work on my 3 point game, it dwindles if you don’t keep up with the practice and I have actually found “over practice” can lead to shooting droughts. So it is a fine line and the key is to practice perfect.

      Reply
  2. Great tips Kyle
    As a child, I was always told “practice makes perfect” I played football and I practice or played everyday. For the about of time I spent developing my football skills, you would have thought I was NFL material…Until an 8th grade drafting teacher corrected me on the 2nd day of school. In an after class discussion, I made the comment “practice makes perfect”. He immediately interrupted me and said that is NOT true. “Perfect Practice makes perfect”. He went on and on about Perfect Practice. By the time this conversation was over, I had made a commitment to him., that I would sincerely do everything in mt power to practice perfectly. He even went as far as to set up a weekly 5 minute meeting with me, in order to track my progress. He never asked my once throughout the semester how I was doing in football. We just talked about perfect practice…even down to running wind sprints and lifting weights…Perfect, perfect, perfect. He even started grading my homework and test perfectly. I got counted off for neatness and punctuation…In Drafting class.
    At the beginning of my 8th grade year I was 5th out of 7 strings in my position. By the end of my 8 grade football season, I was 2nd string and made a last minute interception in a playoff game enabling our team to advance.
    I went on to a successful varsity High School football career, but more importantly I made an “A” in his class. And went on to making 1 “B” out of 4 years of High School. The rest were “A”s. Mr. Parsons change my life but bestowing in me the importance of Perfect Practice makes Perfect in all areas of how life. You strive for perfection, even when no one is watching and although none of us are perfect, you become as close as we possibly can when we practice perfectly

    Reply
  3. This was awesome, my younger son is heavily into basketball and he loves trying too shoot 3 pointer. Yet his dad tells him his shooting accuracy isn’t there and he needs to really practice instead of winging it.

    This article is definitely something he needs to read for better understanding and clarity.

    Reply
    • One of the strategies that I learned from a Canadian Olympic basketball player early on was warming up shooting from just under the hoop (with proper form) and then working your way out. You can learn bad habits if you just start out at the 3 point line, and it can impact your shooting percentage over the short and the long term.

      So his dad is definitely giving him some good advice!

      Reply
  4. Great tips Kyle, I feel I could play basketball just by reading your article lol 

    Although I am not in the world of basketball, I can see that you are a pro. If I ever get a chance to play, I guess I will use your advice 🙂 

    About 2 months ago I went to the basketball court with my friend who is completely into it. And of course, after watching him for a while I got this desire to shoot. And he trained me to step by step towards the 3 pointer and guess what? I made it though 🙂 

    Reply
    • Haha, I wouldn’t say that I am a pro.  I always dreamed of being one, and that lead me to practicing like I was crazy when I was younger.  Being small until after high school (I grew 7 inches after grade 12) I was forced to rely on my shot when I was younger so I practiced shooting drills and relied on my 3 point shot a great deal to get score and to get playing time. 

      Thanks for chiming in and sharing you story. 

      Reply
  5. Ah, this is a very wonderful post and it comes very timely when my cousin is training very hard for a trial he has coming soon. He is about five feet tall and he always has some issues with his three pointers. Like you mentioned here, it is important that he knows how to do this so as to get into the real game. I would share this post with him so he can learn all you have here.

    Reply
    • Yeah, feel free to share it.  I have been working on my 3 or the last 25 years and still not where I want it, but I can confidently hit 60% or so in warm up (the game is a bit different). 

      Reply
  6. My question has always been, “how do they do that”.  I often wondered if there was a method to the madness of shooting the 3 pointers.  I would watch as the excitement grew in the crowd waiting to see if it would be a hit or a miss and whether they would be lucky enough to make the shot.  Now I know after reading your article, it is a skill that can be developed and improved with practice.  I am a grandmother with grandsons ranging in ages 6 to 16 who love the sport of basketball.  I will share this with them knowing that it will help them improve their 3 point shooting skills.  Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • People have the tendency to think that shooting is a natural skill that some people have, and some people don’t.  The reality is that it is a skill that can be acquired through hard work and dedication. 

      One thing that I have noticed these days is kids sit around the 3 point line and practice these shots more frequently than ever.  They see it on TV, so it moulds the way they practice.  Because of this we are seeing a generation that is shooting better than ever from behind the “arc”. 

      Reply
  7. I have been practicing my 3 point shooting drills during all this time COVID-19 has been out there. 🙂 And I have begun to see improvement. It’s exciting. But I have also picked up several ideas from your post. Thank you very much for them. The main one is to include into my routine shouting with medicine a ball.

    Reply
    • Good to hear you are getting some good practice in.  The medicine ball works well with extending your overall range.  These days longer range 3’s are becoming more of asset to all level of players, and every position.  

      Let me how things work out when you incorporate the medicine ball into your routine. 

      Reply
  8. I enjoyed reading your article. almost every word. This article is definitely something we needs to read for better understanding and clarity. I am constantly trying to work on my 3 point game, it dwindles if you don’t keep up with the practice and I have actually found “over practice” can lead to shooting droughts.

    Reply
    • It definitely does dwindle if you don’t keep up.  If you don’t use it, you lose it (so they say).  So making your shooting drills part of your weekly habits will cumulatively lead up to your shot becoming second nature.  

      Reply
  9. I had no idea there was so much involved with 3 point shooting. I love basketball and I love details and the science behind how things work. You made the subject really interesting in your blogs the pictures and diagrams are great and it definitely captured my interest and maintained it all the way through. I would definitely recommend your website for friends who love basketball 

    Reply
    • Thanks, and yeah.  The 3 point shot used to be less important if you were a “big man”.  But in this day and age, if you are a 7 footer and can’t shot, you aren’t going to make it beyond high school.  

      Reply
  10. My son and daughter were both basketball “stars” in their schools growing up and my daughter, in particular, could really sink a 3-pointer.  It was considered a real sign of talent at the time, but you’re right about the fact that it’s more of an expected skill now, as teams and players work to outdo each other!  They coach now and both see the medicine ball as a great training tool as well at the 5 spot shooting.  I’m going to pass this along to them in case they have missed any of these great drills!  Thanks for posting this fantastic info!

    Reply
  11. Hi Kyle,

    Thanks for taking me back to my teenager days! I played a good amount of basketball in high school, but honestly – my memories are mostly a coach with incessant shouting and not learning much technique. 

    This was awesome to have a bit of insight on the technical side of the sport. As my son gets a bit older and I look to teach him basketball, I’ll definitely remember these things. 

    Out of these various strategies, which do you reckon is best to start with for a young guy who is just getting strong enough to take that distance shot? 

    Thanks again!

    Reply
  12. I really like this article. I use to play basketball in high school and all the tips you have and drill will help out anyone who plays basketball. I wish I would of had some of these things back when I use to play but now with young kids and my own family I have stepped away and started new hobbies. I am going to recommend your website to my little brother who this would help out alot to.

    Reply
    • Yeah, a lot has definitely changed with the game in recent years.  A specialist used to be someone that could shoot 3 pointers and it was primarily a 1 & 2 guard thing.  Now it is a big part of the game an even if you are a 3/4/5, you are going to need to be able to shoot 3’s. 

      Reply

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