Shoot your shot

Jake Keeley

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Headline: Shoot your shot

Subhead: Seize every opportunity that comes your way

By: Jake Keeley

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In basketball speak, anyone labeled a shooter is accurate when putting the ball in the basket from distance. It’s just how shooters go about getting baskets that differentiates them. For our purposes, shooters can be loosely categorized into two broad groups of shooters, specialists and gunners, based on how they play. 

Take for instance Kyle Korver. Korver is terrific player who can be described as very efficient from behind the three point line. Although Korver hits some high degree of difficulty shots, he almost never takes a shot that a teammate or coach wouldn’t want him to take. Korver carefully picks and chooses where and when he will be most effective; resulting in a high three-point percentage. Based on this information I would classify Korver as a specialist. 

On the other end of the spectrum is a player like JR Smith. Smith is not someone who carefully picks and chooses when he is going to shoot the ball, because anytime he gets the ball he thinks he is going to shoot it. Therefore, we classify Smith as a gunner. Rarely does a game go by where Smith’s coaches and teammates don’t shout “NO” as he releases the ball inches away from a defender’s hand. However, this is not to say that Smith missed that shot, because just like Korver, he also has a consistently high three point percentage. He just has a different way of getting there. 

Now I’m here to tell you that we all need a little more Smith in our game, because author (and my favorite twitter follow) Shea Serrano has dubbed 2017 the year to ‘shoot your shot’, and nobody shoots their shot better than Smith.

So what does it exactly mean to ‘shoot your shot’? Well, let me explain it this way; too many of us are going through life as if we are Korver. We think if we roam around the three point line long enough, and run through enough screens, our defender will inevitably get lost and someone will set us up with the perfect shot. Only then will we decide to take our shot. 

Well, not anymore. Instead of relying on someone else to get you what you want, or being dealt a particular hand of cards, you have the utmost confidence that betting on yourself will give you your greatest chance of success. Sure, it would be ideal to pick and choose high percentage shots, however very rarely will there be a wide open corner three to take. Unlike on the basketball court, there is not a team of people who are all working to give you enough air space to shoot. That is not to say that you won’t get an assist every now and then, you just have to come to terms with the fact that you might be taking more contested shots off the dribble than you originally wanted. Therefore, we all must do our best Smith impression and fire away. Even with the slimmest of openings we must hoist, because shooting your shot means believing in yourself in every situation.

Whether it be asking your classmate on a date, applying to a job on the other side of the country, or changing majors, shooting your shot should always be about doing what’s best for yourself. Don’t worry about all the shots that will inevitably bounce off the rim, just keep firing. And when they do go in, don’t be afraid to celebrate like Smith either.