The Mid range is the lost art, that so few basketball players pay attention too. But is a vital skill that every hooper should develop, the mid range shot is the staple for many of today's best scorers even in the modern game.
To be an effective mid range shooter, you need to know how to set up your mid range, know which method of shooting will be best for your mid range jumper , and be able to adjust your shot in close quarters. In this article I will be breaking down the tricks and tips you will need to be a great mid range shooter in basketball.
1. Developing A Two Motion Shot
As you can see a two motion shot is the shot where you release the ball later, otherwise known as late release timing ,and use your elevation for your power instead of your legs.
For more information on a two motion shot and how to shoot it click here
A two motion shot is important for the mid range for a variety of reasons but one of the main reasons is it helps to get your shot off in those closer areas.
You see in the mid range and closer to the basket your going to have to operate in close proximity to your opposition. Having a two motion shot will allow you to rise over your opponents and better able to get off your shot.
A second reason having a two motion shot is so important in the mid range is it allows you to get the proper strength on your jump shot. You see since the two motion shot requires much more strength and push, it actually makes shooting the mid range a lot easier.
A big problem that a lot of older or stronger players have in the mid range is overshooting the ball or not having the correct balance. You see since the mid range is so much closer than the three point line, you do not not need all that power from a one motion shot that you will need in the mid range.
The video below explains this perfectly. But I do want to preface this by saying that you can still be a good mid range shooter with a one motion shooting type of jump shot.
But for most players especially older stronger players I highly recommend having a two motion shot in your arsenal.
A third Reason you should have a two motion jump shot in your mid range arsenal is because, it allows you to be more balanced especially in the mid range.
A big reason for this is off the dribble shooting or in your pull ups. You see in the mid range you are going to be shooting a lot of pull up jumpers or jump shots off the dribble.
A two motion shot makes this much easier and more effective, simply because it allows you to quickly rise up and adjust your shot in the middle of the air instead of having to stop and set up in a one motion shot. Frankly in the mid range you just do not have the time to set up, and get your feet squared with a one motion shot. But a two motion gives you that time to quickly stop and elevate on your jump shot.
Check out this video of Devin Booker who is a great example of shooting two different styles of jump shots. He is also an excellent mid range shooter, and is a great player to learn from if you want to improve your mid range shooting ability in basketball.
2. Utilizing The Bank Shot
I know it is not exactly the most exciting thing in the world, but being able to shoot a bank shot can be crucial in the mid range for basketball.
But it is important to understand that when shooting a bank shot, when and where you should take the bank shot. For example on the sides of the court in the mid post are excellent areas to take a bank shot. But a bank shot should not be taken when your by the free throw line or in front of the rim.
Tips for bank shots
When taking a bank shot for basketball I always recommend keeping your eyes not on the rim, but at the spot in which the ball will be going. And if your shooting a bank shot more on the sideline that spot will usually be either right below of just above the square on the backboard, this just depends on the arch in which your will be shooting your bank shot.
But this all depends on you and what your style your comfortable with. Like anything you need to practice the bank shot and really develop it to be able to use it effectively in game scenarios.
Check out this video where these guys do an excellent job of showing you the correct mechanics required to shoot an effective bank jump shot in the mid range
As you can see the bank shot is an excellent way to improve your mid range shooting percentages, and should definitely be something you can add to your bag to become like Tim Duncan in the Mid Range.
3. Keeping You Composure
A reason I want to mention this for mid range shooting, is that when shooting the Mid range, it is a fact you are going to be more rushed than when your shooting behind the arch or farther away from the basket.
One way to keep your composure when shooting the Mid range, is too be sure you always keep your same form on your shot.
Whether that is a two motion shot or a one motion shot. So many players when they get sped up in a game change all the mechanics and fundamentals they worked on in the season. Remember if it worked it practice then it probably is going to work in the game.
One way of keeping calm especially in the mid range is to do something I like to call fixity of focus. Which basically means focusing on one point no matter what. That could be the basket, your breathing, sounds of the game, whatever it is focusing on one thing allows you to stop overthinking and just shoot your shot.
Some simple tips to improve your composure for mid range shooting are to make sure you get enough sleep , and you also practice meditation.
See below a video where Kobe talks about the importance of sleep and meditation.
4. Understanding Momentum And Movement On Your Shot.
Players always seem to get confused when I try to tell them this. But basically what I mean is learning to shoot when you off balanced, or when your on the move, and it helps to learn this since in the mid range you are going to be facing these kinds of situations a lot.
First step to learning how to shoot when moving is getting squared up quicker. So however you like to shoot, whether that be with your feet squared to the basket, or a slight turn, whatever it is you need to make sure you get into your form as quickly as possible.
A simple way to do this is by stepping into that form right when you get the ball of the catch. This makes shooting off balance easier because it puts you in your ideal form quicker, and allows you to adjust before your defender even gets there.
Another way to shoot better in the mid range when your off balance is by adjusting and squaring up in mid air, whether that be off the dribble or even off the catch. This goes into my point of having a two motion shot for the mid range. By having a two motion shooting off balance is much easier since you can adjust in mid air.
For a better understanding of what I am talking about, notice how Kobe in the video below does not always have the best balance in his shot, or on the catch, but makes up for it, by making the necessary adjustments in the air.
Like anything in basketball though, when I say practice, especially in the mid range, I always recommend, practicing game speed, and in different situations, and circumstances.
So in the mid range for example, I always think when practicing the mid range you need to practice, off the dribble shots, stationary shots, both at game speeds and some slower shots, dedicated to enhancing your form.
Below is a great drill Ray Allen used called plus 1 minus two, he used this in the elbow area on the court, but you can probably use it at any spot of your mid range practice. If you have a partner you can also focus on having him close out to you, so you simulate game shots.
But whatever drill you use or want to emulate, just make sure you are doing these drills at game speed and getting tired in the process.
Another important factor when it comes to shooting the mid range, is to know and practice which areas of the floor you will be taking the mid range shots from.
For example I always recommend players really emphasize learning to shoot by the free throw line area and elbow. And for two simple reasons.
One main reason for this, is to learn how to be a player who can destroy zone defenses.
A reason learning to shoot from the free throw line is great against zone defenses is because in most zone defense, like a 2-3 or a 3-2 the open area of the court is in that free throw line area in the mid range.
By learning how to be a better shooter in that area, you can be more effective at being a mid range threat, that other teams will have to account for.
By also practicing mid range in the free throw line area, you will also become a much better free throw shooter in the process ,since you are putting that muscle memory into practice, which in turn will see your free throw percentages rise.
Other Frequently Asked Questions About Mid Range Shooting.
Question: I am a smaller player who does not take many pull up shots in the mid range, is there something I can do to still be effective in the in between area of the court?
Yes absolutely, many players especially smaller, that do not shoot many mid ranges, or have trouble with the two motion shot, go to floaters instead of your typical mid range you see from guys like Kobe, or Micheal Jordan. Which in turn is still a mid range shot and an excellent counter move that all players should learn. Many of the best guards in the NBA use this shot very effectively, and can be a great shot that I think all players should learn at some point. A master of this is Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks.
Notice that even at his smaller size he is able to effectively use this floater to be effective in the mid range and be a true 3 level scorer.
Question: I have a hard time shooting my mid range jump shots off the catch would you recommend any way to improve that.
Off the catch can be very hard especially in the mid range, if you are not used to this shot. While it might sound odd having a slight pause in your shot can give you optimal power control, that acts like a two motion shot. A reason I recommend this for a player struggling in a catch and shoot in the mid range, is most likely you are a player struggling with there power output, and doing your regular shot might be hurting you in the mid range.
Question: How do I get space in the Mid range if I am playing a much taller defender?
An easy way to get more space in the mid range is by understanding how to use your body. See in the mid range since it is so much more tight, your usually going to have a player right on you or close by. But that does not mean you cannot get yourself in the best scoring opportunity. Utilize your body by slightly bumping your opponent, or use off ball screens, and back cuts. Even if this does not get you open right away, this will open up your teammates which in turn will open up yourself for more mid range scoring opportunities, and higher percentage shots to improve your mid range shooting ability.
Question: Can I use these tips to improve my fade away in the mid range?
Yes you can, I actually recommend a lot of these tips, in a other article I wrote about the fadeaway jump shot. I still recommend learning how to get balanced, practice game speed, and learning to shoot an effective two motion shot. Since most fadeaways will be primarily in the mid range, these tips will translate well into your fadeaway jump shot.
While it is a lost art in basketball, becoming a better mid range shooter is still a worth while practice, that all players should incorporate into there practice routines. Think about it, some of the best scorers in the NBA are still very effective and great mid range shooters.
I hope this article helped you improve your mid range shooting ability, let me know how often you shoot in the mid range, and if you still think this is an effective shot in the modern game? As always thank you and keep hooping my friends.