The Details of Shooting a Basketball

The Details of Shooting a Basketball

This basketball coaching article was written by Kyle Ohman, who is a private basketball trainer in Tampa, FL. Kyle is also the co-founder of and has played professional and college basketball. In his senior year, he was ranked the 19th best shooter in the country by Fox Sports. 


Attention to the details when shooting the basketball can transform average players and teams and turn them into good or even great shooting teams. The more a player or team can focus on the details of a movement like shooting, the more skilled and efficient they will become. Shooting percentages will increase, which will lead to a better offense, and ultimately more wins.

The great thing about mastering the details of different basketball skills is that it is something that every player or team can do; it just comes down to putting in the effort and time to do so. This is true because these details are minor adjustments to a player’s movements or actions, and all the player must do is put in the time to re-learn these movements. This skill development basketball coaching article will cover the details of shooting a basketball and the keys to improving a team’s overall shooting percentage.


Individual Basketball Shooting Details

There is a big difference between shooting 20%, 30%, or 40% from the field as a player, and every little basketball shooting detail can either add to improving your shooting percentage, or it can take away from it. From shot preparation to follow through, you need to make sure that you are maximizing your basketball shooting form and technique. Here are the details and tips you should be focusing on as a shooter every time you shoot the ball.

Shot Preparation: Did you know that your shooting percentage can be affected before you even touch the ball? Well, it can, and by a lot! You should already be working towards a great shot before the basketball ever touches your hands. Your shot preparation has a significant impact on whether the ball goes in the basket or not.

There are three big keys in shot preparation that you need to focus on. These keys need to be done before every shot that you take; they are nonnegotiable’s. The only time you might not use all of these keys is if a game situation requires you to fade away to get your shot off or an end-of-clock situation. Other than that, you should be using these three keys every time you shoot the basketball.

  • Drop Your Butt: This basketball shooting key will help make your catch and shoot motion quicker because you are already down and ready when the ball gets to you. Rather than catching, loading, and then shooting. It will also allow you to get a better lift on your shot, improving your range.
  • Show your Hands: Showing your hands gives the passer a good target to hit and makes the catch easier.
  • Momentum Towards the Basket: As a shooter, you always want to get your momentum moving slightly towards the basket. This will help make sure that you are getting squared up on the shot and improving your range. A great analogy for this is throwing a ball. If you are falling backward and throw a ball, you won’t get very much distance or speed on it. However, if you can step into the same throw, you can get a lot more distance and speed on the ball. The same principle applies to shooting a basketball.


The Shot: If you look at great basketball shooters, you will quickly realize that there are a lot of different ways to shoot a basketball. Not every shooter is going to have the exact same form and look. However, there are some key fundamentals that every great shooter has, and that is what you need to be focusing on. Here are a few keys to lock in on while shooting the ball.

  • Get your Shooting Hand Under the Ball: You must get your hand and arm under the ball on the catch. This will allow you to get the power on your shot that you need.
  • Shoot the Ball on the Way Up: Shooting the basketball on the way up will improve your range and give you a more fluent shot. If you hold the basketball too long, you will lose all of your momentum, and you will struggle to shoot the basketball from long range.
  • Let the Ball do the Work: The best angle for the basketball to go in the basket is straight down. However, this straight down angle is not realistic when shooting. So you need to find the best angle that you can to shoot the basketball. As a shooter, your job is to shoot the basketball with the correct fundamentals, arc, release, etc., and then let the basketball do the work. Don’t try to aim so hard that your shot becomes flat, or you lose your feel on the shot. Trust your shot, and then let the basketball do the work.
  • The Basketball Leads: It is vital as a shooter to bring the basketball up your body before you raise out of your athletic stance. This will allow you to get all of your momentum under the ball. If you stand up and then bring the ball up, you will get to the top of your shot and not have any power. Make sure the basketball leads when you are shooting.


Follow Through: The follow-through can impact a basketball player’s shot just as much as the shot preparation can. So it is essential that you really lock in on the following points.

  • Hold your Follow Through: After you release the basketball, keep your hand in the center of the basket. Don’t let your arm drift out to the side or pull it down early.
  • Land Balanced: Unless you are shooting a game situation fade away, you should be landing under control and with great balance. Don’t kick your leg out or backpedal after you land.
  • Stay in your Shot: Many players will shoot the basketball, land, and then take off somewhere. Instead of doing that, you need to land and stay in your shot for a brief second. This doesn’t mean that you become a statue and don’t run back on defense or follow a missed shot, but it does mean that you should stay in your shot until you have made or missed.




Team Basketball Shooting

All of these basketball shooting details are something that every player should apply to their game, but some great details apply to the team as a whole. By observing these basketball shooting details and applying them to your team’s offense, you will be able to improve your team’s overall shooting percentage. The best team offenses in basketball are able to keep the ball moving from player to player until an open shot is available.


Ball Movement: The type of ball movement that your basketball team has will determine the type of shots you are getting. If players are continually catching and holding the basketball or are always looking to score off the dribble, your team will end up shooting low percentage shots. If a player catches the ball and is not open for a shot, they should immediately do one of the following, unless it is a set isolation basketball play.

  • Swing the Ball: One of the hardest things for a defense to guard is quick ball reversals. The reason why is because it makes the defense shift. When a defense has to shift, it opens up opportunities for bad closeouts, communication breakdowns, and poor rotations. So when a player catches the ball, and they are not open for a shot, they need to quickly keep the ball moving to another teammate, don’t catch and hold. Sometimes even if a player is open for a shot, they need to make the next pass because there is a better shot available.
  • Attacking on the Catch: Ball reversals also open up the opportunity to take advantage of bad closeouts. There are two great moves that a shooter can use in this situation to take advantage of the defense and end up with a great shot. The two moves are the rip through and the shot fake. Both are great for getting past a defender’s poor closeout and then right into a one-dribble pull-up shot.

Recommended Basketball Drills: Sweep 1 Dribble Pull Up Partner Shooting DrillShot Fake 1 Dribble Pull Up Partner Shooting Drill


Penetrate and Kick: Another great way to get quality shots is by having the ability to drive and kick. A great penetration move to the paint will cause the defense to collapse on the ball, which will allow open shots on the kick out. Here are some teaching points for maximizing the drive and kick.

  • Shoulders to the Basket: The player driving the basketball needs to make sure that they keep their shoulders to the basket when they attack. You must make yourself a threat to score to get the defense to collapse. If you attack the paint with your body facing the player you will kick the basketball out to, it will alert the defense, and they won’t help off the shooter.
  • Stay on the Floor: You mustn’t leave your feet on the kick-out pass. Leaving the floor to make a pass opens up the opportunity for a potential charge situation and also getting stuck up in the air with the basketball.
  • Slide to Open Passing Lanes: The shooter must do a great job of helping the passer out by sliding up or down to an open passing lane. This not only gives the shooter a passing lane, but it also creates space from the defender that just helped off of the shooter.
  • Don’t Catch and Hold: If the player receiving the pass doesn’t have an open shot, they need to swing the ball or immediately re-drive the basketball. Catching and holding the basketball allows the defense to recover. This also means that the player who originally drove the basketball needs to quickly relocate and get ready to shoot after they make the kick-out pass because they may end up shooting the ball in the end.

Recommended Basketball Drills: Combo Move Penetrate & Relocate Shooting Drill


Inside Out: Having the basketball go inside to the post and then come out for a shot has a lot of the same benefits as the drive and kick. The goal is to get the ball into the post, have the defense collapse to help, and then get an open kick-out shot. Here are a few keys to making this work well for your team’s offense.

  • Don’t Stand: Once the basketball goes into the post, there must be player movement off the ball. After the post feed, the passer should do one of the following; slide up or down, cut through, or screen for a teammate. These actions will create space for both the shooter and the post player. If there is no offensive spacing, a defensive player can double and then get back in time on the kick-out pass.
  • Weak Side Action: The players opposite of the post up action need to be moving as well. The weak side players can use one of the same actions; slide up or down, cut through, or set a screen for a teammate. If a shooter is going to slide up or down, though, they need to try to locate a spot where they can see the post player’s eyes. Doing this shows the post player that there is an open passing lane to the shooter.

 Recommended Basketball Drills: Game Situation Post Entry Relocate Shooting DrillGame Situation Post Skip Pass Shooting Drill



The Details of Shooting a Basketball Conclusion

As a basketball player or coach, this may seem like a lot to take in and even more to implement. The details of shooting a basketball, though, are what separate the great players and teams from the rest. It is not something that happens overnight, but it needs to be reinforced daily when doing basketball drills and in practice, until one day, it becomes second nature.

So take advantage of all of these different basketball shooting keys and start taking your shooting to the next level as a player or a team.


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7 Responses

  1. Nice “walk-through” of shooting mechanics- simple and thorough! Correct repetition is key! Moving without the ball in team offense is paramount. Good job- appreciate it!

  2. We have the same thoughts in regards to shooting preparation.
    This great too often it is the alignment and how they hold the ball(thumb being a major problem) when shooting.
    Simple and easy explanation.

  3. What I see on tis vidéo is Dip after Sweep and Sway
    Thank you very much to confirm me how to shot well.

  4. This is great & all but where’s it talk about arch? Arch & flicking your wrist are key points to a great shot

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