How to Shoot a Basketball

How to Shoot a Basketball


There are many great shooters in the game of basketball, and most of them have different variations in the way they shoot the basketball. Some may jump a little higher, shoot it more centered in their body, step 1-2, or hop into their shot, etc. My point is that there is no one exact way to shoot a basketball.

That being said, there are absolutely details that will increase or decrease your shooting percentage as a basketball player. Great shooters have different variations in the way they shoot the basketball, but they all have mastered the details of what goes into a great shot, and that is what we are going to focus on.


Practice Makes Perfect…or Does It?

We have all heard the phrase, “practice makes perfect,” and it sounds like a good saying at first. Unfortunately, though, it is not true. A more accurate saying would be, “practice makes permanent.” This means that if you have bad habits in your basketball shooting form and continue to do basketball shooting drills without correcting them, you will not perfect your shot but instead ingrain those bad habits even further into your shot. This is why it is important to make sure you are shooting the basketball with the correct form and fundamentals. After you have this, then you can start to work on developing muscle memory. “Perfect practice makes perfect.”



The Details of How to Shoot a Basketball

When evaluating a basketball player’s shot, I like to use the idea of a plus/minus scoring system. Every good habit that a shooter has is a plus, and every bad habit is obviously a minus. The same thing goes with shooting percentages. For example, if a shooter doesn’t get squared up before the shot, stay balanced, doesn’t hold their follow-through, etc., it all adds up and takes away from the chances of the shot going in.

On the other hand, if the player is mentally engaged and focuses on all the details that go into being a great shooter, their shooting percentage will increase. Great shooters have spent time working on the details of shooting a basketball, and they are now using muscle memory for them.

Here is a breakdown of the shooting details that you should be focusing on.

Shot Preparation
  • Show hands and be down ready for your shot before the ball comes to you.
  • Consistency in coming into your shot.
    • Whether you hop or 1-2 into your shot, it should be the same way every time.
  • Great footwork and balance before EVERY shot will really help to improve the quality of the shot.


Shooting the Ball
  • Load the basketball in the shooting pocket.
    • Your wrist should be cocked back before the ball gets there.
  • Bring the basketball up your body in a straight line.
    • This will allow you to keep your arm under the ball and give you the power behind your shot.
  • Execute the shot in one smooth motion.
    • Don’t pause on the way up.
    • The smoother your shot is, the better range you will have.
  • Use your legs to generate power in your shot.
    • You shouldn’t feel like you have to push with your arms.


Finishing Your Shot
  • Land in the same area or slightly forward as you jumped from (unless purposely fading away to get your shot off).
  • Hold your follow-through until you make or miss, don’t pull your follow-through or let your hand drift off to the side.
  • Try to land on both feet at the same time.
    • Don’t kick one leg out as you land; be balanced.


Here is a video that will breakdown and highlight some of these basketball shooting details.




How to Shoot a Basketball with Confidence

Shooting is more than just physical skills. It takes mental toughness and having confidence in your shot. Great shooters in basketball have the ability to take and make big shots regardless of the pressure. A lot of confidence comes through your time working on your shot in the gym. That being said, there will be nights when you may miss 3 or 4 shots in a row, and you need to have the confidence to step up and make your next open shot. Great basketball shooters have a short memory whether they have made or missed their last shot.



Shot Selection

Another big part of learning how to shoot a basketball at a high level is shot selection. If you are shooting low percentage shots, there is a very good chance that you are going to be a poor shooter. You must try to find shots that compliment your game and will be a high percentage shot for you. This means being able to score within the offense and using teammates to help get yourself open.



How to Shoot a Basketball Conclusion

Great shooters in basketball are not made overnight. As mentioned before, it takes learning the right way to shoot and then spending hours in the gym perfecting your craft. If you want to learn how to shoot a basketball and ultimately be a great shooter, you must be willing to get in the gym and spend the time needed.


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3 Responses

  1. Could you guys please do me a huge favor? Could you please stop saying the young man does not dip? If you slow down the video or just watch closely he catches the ball at his chest and brings it down to his waist. It does not slow your shot down. Jeremy Lin has the quickest release in the NBA. Hand he dips.. As does Steph Curry and all of the top shooters currently. College and Pro. Bird, Jordan, Kobe, Kerr, Hodges, Miller… All dip.. That is where your power comes from. Think of Isaac Newton..

    Thanks Guys
    Michael Dubicki

  2. Could you give any advice on how to make the shot smoother so more range is on the shot?

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