Great shooters have a spot on any team. Even if you aren’t blessed with impressive speed, height, or LeBron James’ athleticism, having excellent shooting skills is one of the surest ways to stand out on the court.
If you spend enough time improving and practicing your shooting, you can rest assured, it will pay off. The result? You’ll feel more confident every time you step on the floor.
Great shooters aren’t born; they’re built! That being said, you do need great shooting form and technique to shoot well, but it does NOT need to be perfect.
If you watch enough basketball, you’ll notice that the players’ forms vary quite a bit depending on what works for them. But almost all great shooters follow some core principles.
Basketball Shooting Form and Technique
Before you go ahead and master shooting in transition, you’ll need to master your stationary shots. This section highlights the raw form and mechanics behind stationary shooting. Here’s a quick guideline of the stationary shooting fundamentals you’ll need to keep in mind before hitting the floor.
- Eyes on the Rim
- Position and Balance
- Shot Pocket
- Bend the Wrist
- Balance Hand
- Upforce and Landing
- Follow Through
Eyes on the Rim
- To work on your shot accuracy, always be aware of the rim’s location.
- Keep your eyes on the rim and your hands firm on the ball.
- Focusing on the target is very important!
Position and Balance
- Position your feet shoulder-width apart for optimal balance.
- Keep your feet in a consistent staggered stance. Make sure you position your shooting foot slightly ahead of the non-shooting foot.
- Position your feet in the direction of the rim. You can either go for an open stance or a closed (squared) stance if that works for you.
- Once you found a comfortable stance and one that works for you, remember it. Try to line up your feet the same way on every shot. Consistency is everything.
- Bend your knees before every shot.
- As you grasp the ball, position it quickly into the shot pocket.
- Make sure the ball and your shooting eye form a straight line to the rim.
- Set the ball several inches over your waist.
- Grip the ball firmly and adequately and shoot when you feel ready.
- Position the ball in your unique shot pocket the same way every time.
Bend the Wrist
- With the ball in your shooting hand, bent back your wrist as far as possible. Doing so gives extra power to the shot and will also generate the backspin required to become a world-class shooter.
- An easy way to tell if you are doing this correctly is by looking at your wrist. There should be small wrinkles in the skin on the back of the shooting hand.
- The grip is very important. To nail this step, make sure the air hole is between your middle and index fingers.
- Fix your fingertip pads parallel to the seams of the basketball so that you can control the backspin. The basketball should lie on your finger pads.
- Leave some space between the ball and your palm – enough to insert a pen or pencil in between.
- Extend your fingers far enough apart to securely grasp the ball in your shooting hand.
- Place your balance hand (non-shooting hand) on the side of the basketball.
- DO NOT add force or spin to the shot with your balance hand.
- Your balance hand should remain motionless on delivery and should ALWAYS come off the ball first when shooting.
- When shooting, the basketball should start moving directly upwards from your shot pocket.
- Position your elbow under the ball.
- Make sure the ball stays in front of you. It should never go over your head.
- Extend your elbow and wrist in a straight line to the rim.
- Before releasing, extend your shooting hand in a straight line to the rim.
- Proper position on delivery is extremely important. Upon release, the ball should come off your hand with accurate symmetrical backspin.
- Always remember, your balance hand stays on the side of the basketball and does not influence the force or the spin.
Upforce and Nailing the Landing
- Use your legs to generate enough upforce.
- Release the basketball on your way up, just before the peak of the jump.
- To ensure a good balance on your shot, you should land in the same spot that you jumped.
- Keep your wrists relaxed.
- Your fingers should be facing the rim.
- Finish strong and high.
- Hold your follow-through position until the basketball hits the rim or splashes into the net.
The key to great shooting lies in lots of smart repetitions. Putting in the work and the time it takes to become a great shooter is essential. The more, the better! (we recommend 1,000 shots a week).
If you’re serious about your game, make the time! Even professional players do. There isn’t enough time during practice for players to get thousands of shots up. The majority of these makes come from the player’s own time. Practice what you preach!
Last but not least, it’s essential to know that there is no one correct way to shoot a basketball. Steph Curry, Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Klay Thompson, Tyler Herro – all of these great players are first-class shooters with very diverse shooting techniques. You’ll find yours; you just have to keep working on it.
Use the steps we’ve described above as a roadmap to help develop your own technique, and don’t be afraid to make small adjustments to find what works best for you.