How to shoot a basketball

Now it is time to apply everything that you have learned and shoot the perfect basketball shot. Concentrate on maintaining proper form.

How to Shoot a Basketball

Stand just a few feet in front of the hoop with a basketball. Try not to use your supporting (non-shooting) arm at this point. (For younger players with small hands this might be difficult). Just get the ball in correct shooting position and shoot the ball with one hand into the basket with the correct follow through. Keep everything perfectly straight. Shoot the ball off your fingertips. Create backspin guiding the ball with your index and middle finger. Make sure that you are starting your shot in the correct position and are following through. Don’t let your wrist turn in or out. Point your arm straight into the basket on your follow through and keep everything perfectly straight to the hoop! Do that over and over hundreds of time, making sure that every part of your body is in the correct position described above. This is crucially important. Make sure all of your mechanics at this point are dead on correct. Review everything that I mentioned above before moving on. If you can make this four foot shot with the right form than the rest is easy... you will be able to make any other shot on the floor! Shoot with enough arc to get the ball coming down into the basket, but not so much that you are shooting a real rainbow.

Once you feel comfortable with the correct technique of shooting one handed, bring the supporting arm into the shot. Remember to keep the supporting arm on the side of the ball. All that this arm is there for is guiding and supporting, not shooting. The supporting arm stays stationary through the shot. Stand a few feet back from the rim again and shoot this shot hundreds and hundreds of times until it feels natural. Again, review the proper positioning above to make sure that you have the right mechanics.

Once you have this down, you will start with your jump shot. As you start to jump you will lift the ball to the proper position above your head and then from there you execute the exact same shooting motion as you have done before. You will need to practice, practice and practice this some more to make it smooth. Make sure that your mechanics don’t break down with this added step. Keep your motion smooth, fluid and aligned to the basket. Start short, from just a few feet away and as you get better move further away. For your jump you should be jumping relatively straight up and down however you will naturally move forward a bit. Do not shoot out of your range! If you have to change your technique to generate enough force to shoot the ball from a certain distance than you do not need to be shooting from that distance. Some young players should not attempt threes until they build up enough strength to maintain proper shooting motion. Shooting a basketball should not be like gambling; we want to keep our shooting percentage high and only take shots that we have a good chance to make! Shot selection is key... don't take shots that are out of your range.

Next... the correct technique for shooting basketball free throws.

Back to How To Shoot A Basketball Homepage