The best shot in basketball – the mid range jump shot

I was a decent high school basketball player. My junior year I averaged around 17 points per game. Which led to some interest from some nearby college programs in the southeastern United States. Basketball was my true passion. At least four times per week during my junior year you could find me at the gym by 6 am working on my jumper before school. Somewhere between my junior and senior year I got sidetracked. To be honest, I lost my focus and got pulled into playing football by one of the schools coaches. My senior year I stumbled around and saw a significant decrease in my scoring and watched the offers get pulled away. I ended up actually going to college to play football. It was my first year in college in intramurals that I rekindled my love for the game of basketball.

Oddly enough, after not playing the game competitively since high school, I found myself dominating in every single game that I played (against some great athletes and former high school basketball stars). The game almost came easier to me than when I was practicing 7 days a week. My dribbling wasn’t as crisp, and my range had all but disappeared. Yet one thing was still there, it was the mid range pull up jump shot. Being athletic I could always manage to get by the first defender, and being out of practice I always found a way to turn the ball over when I attempted to go all the way to the rim. So I started to use my head (arguably for the first time in my basketball life). Instead of going all the way to the rim, I would stop on a dime and shoot the pull up jumper from 12-14 feet from the basket, before it got tight with help defense underneath and around the rim. To my surprise, I was amazed at my efficiency. For the first time I was playing with my head and my heart and I realized a key point that I would love to pass along to all the players behind me…

“Great players don’t take great shots, they take easy ones.”

-Tyler Reavis (me)

Mastering the mid range jump shot

I still play pick up basketball when I can. Life is a little busier now at 27 than it was at 19. I run my own gym in Charlotte NC and it takes everything in me to keep up with my clients and grow my business and attempt to balance a social life. Yet, I can’t help but wander what my life would’ve been like if I had learned the true impact of being able to utilize my mid range pull up jumper. Today if you see me on the court, that is basically all I do. I don’t try to be the point guard who does it all (mainly because I can’t). But I know my game better than I ever have before and that game is, blow right by the defender, get to a great spot on the floor, pull up and shoot.

It’s why in our ten thousand shot challenge we put such an emphasis on mid range shooting. In my opinion it is the most under utilized shot in the entire game of basketball. Not only that, it is one of the easiest shots to improve on and become extremely effective at in a short period of time. Think about it, players practice free throws and develop muscle memory and before long, they are knocking down 70-80% of their shots! I believe with practice and the right mindset players can quickly add a pull up jump shot to their game just as fast. So why do so few players, even great outside shooters, struggle from 12-16 feet off the dribble?

The answer to that question is simply lack of intentional practice. In order to be great at anything it is going to require practice. Now I get it, shooting 12 feet pull ups is not as sexy as dropping dimes from 22 feet and hearing the crowd. But you know what’s sexier than draining one shot from 22 feet? its dropping 6 or 8 through the course of a game from 12-14 feet with ease. That’s the stuff scholarships are made of. So how can you become a deadly mid range player?

The answer is simple, practice mid range jump shots every. single. day….

Make them apart of your daily practice sessions. Our recommendation here at 10,000 shot challenge is 60-80 mid range pull up makes every session. When you’re playing pick up, don’t be like everyone else and focus only on winning a simple pick up game. Work on developing that one shot. Challenge yourself, pull up moving left, pull up moving right etc. See great basketball players are never made by mistake, they are made on purpose. So change your mindset about what makes a great player and go ahead and learn to master the mid range jumper and watch the stats pile up.