😠😆😇 This article was co-authored by Ryan Tremblay. Ryan Tremblay is a Basketball Coach and the Owner of National Sports ID and STACK Basketball. With over 30 years of experience, Ryan specializes in basketball coaching, social media marketing, and website design. Ryan created the National Sports ID as a platform to verify the age/grade of youth athletes and STACK Basketball to inspire young athletes to grow into mature individuals and basketball players. Ryan was a First Team All-Decade basketball player in Bergen County and finished in the top 20 all-time leading scorers in the county’s history with 1,730 points. He went on to Caldwell University on a basketball scholarship where he was part of three championship teams. Ryan was a two-time All-Metropolitan, All-State, and All-Conference point guard and the all-time three-point leader in the school’s history, landing him in the Caldwell University Athletic Hall of Fame.
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😠😆😇 Knowing how to shoot a basketball correctly is the most important skill you need to master in order to play the game. At its heart, basketball is a simple game. You need to be able to put the ball in the hoop. As basketball has progressed at the highest levels it has become more and more important to be able to shoot the ball from long distance. You may not have been born gifted with incredible height, but your ability to shoot is something you can control. With the right form and habits you will be well ahead of the game!
Part 1Part 1 of 4:Having the Right Stance
- 1Keep your feet no further than shoulder width apart, preferably closer together, and slightly staggered.XResearch source You should put your shooting foot very slightly ahead of your non-shooting foot. Your shooting foot is the foot on the same side as your shooting arm – if you’re right handed, it will be your right foot. Your feet should be turned 10 to 45 degrees towards your off hand side, and your shoulder, hip, and elbow should be aligned with the basket.
- 2Flex your knees slightly. Locking your knees makes it easy for you to get knocked off balance. Flex your knees comfortably so you're in position to jump as soon as you have the ball.
- Keep your stance in mind as you learn the art of shooting and begin to practice. Once you find the stance that suits you best, use it every single time. The goal is to get so used to the stance that you don't have to think about it before your feet take the right position to let a great shot fly.
- 3Turn more in the air and jump forward, keeping your shoulders back, if you need to shoot a longer shot. Your power mostly comes from your turn and your shoulders being relaxed. Your shot will be much less accurate and fluid if you try to fling the ball forward using power in your chest and arms. Practice jumping from 0 to 90 degrees without the ball to practice your turn. Make sure you are jumping forward and that your shoulders are back and relaxed.
Part 2Part 2 of 4:Holding the Ball Correctly
- 1Dip the ball down to your waist or thigh. The ball and your shooting eye should form a straight line to the basket.
- 2Position your elbow so it's inline with your shoulder, not directly under the ball.XResearch source Learn to position the ball in this same place every single time you get ready to take a shot. When someone passes you the ball, dip it to your waist or thigh. If you catch a bounce pass or another low pass, or are shooting off the dribble, you don't need to dip, as you are already in a dipping motion.
- Also, if you are right-handed, keep your left hand on the side on the line and your right hand holding the back of the ball firmly in place. Use your hand that you write with to shoot with. Your other hand is just for the guide. If you are left-handed, do the opposite.
- 3Grip the ball correctly. Position your shooting hand so that your fingertips are perpendicular to the seams in the ball.XExpert SourceRyan Tremblay
Basketball CoachExpert Interview. 13 November 2020. This hand is responsible for launching the ball. Place your non-shooting hand on the side of the ball to act as a guide for the shot. Your palm may or may not be touching the ball while you’re preparing to shoot - you may have control of the ball with your fingers and thumb.
- Leave a little space between your palm and the ball, so the ball will be able to roll off your fingertips with ease. The ball should sit on your finger pads. Spread your fingers wide so you have greater control over the ball.
Part 3Part 3 of 4:Taking the Shot
- 1Locate the target. If you want the ball to go into the net, then you need to look at the net. If you’re planning to bank the ball in off the backboard, then look at the spot on the backboard you want to hit. Your eyes are an incredibly important part of a good shot in basketball. Once you release, you may either follow the flight of the ball (which is common among great NBA shooters) or continue to look at the rim.XResearch source
- 2Straighten your knees and jump. Use your legs to help propel the ball by jumping upward while your shooting hand launches the ball and your shoulders lean back. Move your legs, torso, and arms together in a coordinated fashion to take the shot.
- 3Jump slightly forward when you shoot, making sure your shoulders lean back and are relaxed. Your feet shouldn't land in the same position where they started because it will cause a lot of tension in your neck and shoulders. Jumping forward will also give your ball more arc.
- Don't lean forward as you jump. If your body is balanced, you should jump in a natural motion, it will cause your shot to be balanced and relieve tension.
- 4Push the ball upward with your shooting hand. As your hips rise up and you start your jumping motion, move the ball in a smooth motion from your dip to eye level. It should all be one smooth motion. Your hips rise as your elbow rises with the ball, and you should turn anywhere from 20-90 degrees towards your off hand.
- Don't let the ball go behind your head or off to the side. Shoot it in a fluid, forward motion. Your non-shooting hand serves only to guide the ball and to keep it steady while your shooting hand exerts force.
- 5Release the ball. Just before you reach the height of your jump, release the ball, with your shooting hand aimed at the basket. Straighten your elbow and push your wrist so that the ball arches, rather than moving toward the basket in a straight line. As you release the ball, your guiding hand should move to lightly touch your shooting arm just below the wrist.
- 6Follow through. This is a hugely important part of shooting a basketball. If you shoot from your wrist without following through the shot won’t be nearly as accurate. When the shot is complete, your shooting hand will resemble the shape of a swan; your arm is arched elegantly toward the basket, with your hand loosely cocked downward and your fingers pointed toward the hoop. This is called follow through.
Part 4Part 4 of 4:Perfecting Your Technique
- 1Develop muscle memory.XExpert SourceRyan Tremblay
Basketball CoachExpert Interview. 13 November 2020. Basketball is a fast-paced game, and you won't have time to think about the mechanics of shooting while the clock is running down and your opponents are trying to steal the ball from you. It's important to practice shooting as much as you can, so that taking a shot - from the stance and grip to the jump and release - feels natural.
- Practice from many angles. Shoot from all sides of the basket and from a variety of distances, using the same form every single time, whether you're shooting from the 3-point line or closer to the basket. However, you should turn more and jump farther forward for a longer shot than a shorter one.
- 2Practice free throws. Free throws, or foul shots, are taken from the free throw line, located 15 feet (4.6 m) from the basket. It's a good distance to practice from, and since it's located in front of the backboard behind the basket, the ball will usually bounce back to you and you won't have to chase after it as frequently.
- 3Start to use the backboard. The backboard can be a useful tool, especially for shots you take close to the basket. Depending on where you are on the court you’ll need to bank the ball off the backboard in different ways. Generally, if you are on the right side of the court you’ll aim for the top right corner of the square on the backboard. If you are on the left side of the court you’ll aim for the top left corner of the square.
- Use the backboard when you shoot layups, which are taken off the dribble rather than from a standing position.
- 4Practice in a game setting. After you're comfortable shooting on your own, get some friends together to have a basketball scrimmage, or join a league so you can play some games. Shooting during the pressure of a game is a little harder than doing it by yourself in your backyard, since you have to catch passes, dodge steals and be aware of the strategy your coach and the other players expect you to employ. However, if you practice the right form and develop good muscle memory, you'll be racking up the points in no time.
Types of Shots and Exercises to Try
Community Q&A Did you know you can get expert answers for this article?Unlock expert answers by supporting wikiHow
- QuestionHow do I hold a basketball properly?Ryan TremblayRyan Tremblay is a Basketball Coach and the Owner of National Sports ID and STACK Basketball. With over 30 years of experience, Ryan specializes in basketball coaching, social media marketing, and website design. Ryan created the National Sports ID as a platform to verify the age/grade of youth athletes and STACK Basketball to inspire young athletes to grow into mature individuals and basketball players. Ryan was a First Team All-Decade basketball player in Bergen County and finished in the top 20 all-time leading scorers in the county’s history with 1,730 points. He went on to Caldwell University on a basketball scholarship where he was part of three championship teams. Ryan was a two-time All-Metropolitan, All-State, and All-Conference point guard and the all-time three-point leader in the school’s history, landing him in the Caldwell University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Basketball CoachBasketball CoachExpert Answer
- QuestionMy shots go left and right a lot, but always have good distance. What can I do?Community AnswerHave you elbow straight under the ball. And also shoot from your finger tips. Not your palm. If you do this, your shot will (hopefully) go in straight. Practice a lot.
- QuestionHow do I have perfect technique when shooting a three-pointer if I'm short?Community AnswerUse your legs and hips to provide more power. This will give you the distance.
- QuestionHow do I put more power into my shot?Community AnswerStart the shot from your chest and bring it up with lots of momentum, so that the shot will have more power behind it. You could also tryto start down lower to the ground and use your legs to produce more power.
- QuestionMy shots don't always reach the rim from the 3-point line, what can I do?Community AnswerUse your arm and leg power, and make sure you're following through with your shooting. You can increase your power by doing squats and push-ups.
- QuestionHow do I shoot if I'm young?Community AnswerTurn more in the air, dip more, and jump forward further. Make sure that your shoulders are leaning back and relaxed. This will allow you to have more power.
- QuestionWhat position should my hands be in when shooting the ball?Community AnswerYou should have one hand on the side of the ball, and the other hand on the back of the ball.
- QuestionHow do I stop airballing my shots?Community AnswerStart the shot from your chest and bring it up with lots of momentum so that the shot will have more power behind it. You could also try to start down lower to the ground and use your legs to push up and produce more power.
- QuestionHow can I throw the ball from three points?Community AnswerStart the shot from your chest and bring it up with lots of momentum. This way, the shot will have more power behind it. You could also try to start the shot down closer to the ground and use your legs to produce more power.
- QuestionHow do I shoot using that technique while under pressure from other players?Community AnswerPractice, so you can get used to the feeling of pressure.
- Your legs play a big role in how far you can shoot the ball. Make sure you're using your whole body to shoot, not just your arms.
- Do not practice by shooting the ball over and over with just one hand. This can destroy your shot by not allowing you to dip the ball.
- Always dip the ball before you shoot, unless it's a pull up from a dribble, or you already have the ball low to begin with. Dipping generates rhythm and makes the shot less tense and more natural, and also helps if you're having trouble with long-range shots.
- Practice makes perfect! Try as much as possible.
- To add power, pivot back and then into a square position with the basket and then transfer into regular shooting motion. You also need to squat down, put your hands on the ball at the bottom and the side, and throw.
- Use your hands to guide the ball and use your body to release it.
- Use a hop gather in order to make your release quicker. A hop gather is one in which, off the pass or the dribble, you take a small, one or two inch hop as you catch the ball or pick up your dribble.
- ↑Ryan Tremblay. Basketball Coach. Expert Interview. 13 November 2020.
- ↑Ryan Tremblay. Basketball Coach. Expert Interview. 13 November 2020.
- ↑Ryan Tremblay. Basketball Coach. Expert Interview. 13 November 2020.
About This Article
To shoot a basketball properly, start by squaring your shoulders and standing with your feet shoulder-width apart or a little closer. Whichever hand you shoot with, move your foot on that same side lightly forward. For instance, if you’re right-handed, put your right foot slightly in front of your left. Bend your knees slightly to help you stay balanced and ready to jump. Hold the ball at waist level until you’re ready to shoot. When it’s time to shoot, pick a target, whether it’s the hoop or a spot on the backboard. Straighten your knees and jump, using your hips and legs to propel yourself upwards. Jump slightly forward, since this will help give it a little more forward momentum. However, keep your shoulders back and don’t lean forward as you jump—aim with your feet, not your upper body. As you jump, bring the ball up over your head, keeping the elbow of your shooting arm in line with your shoulder. The fingers on your shooting hand should be perpendicular to the seams on the ball. Keep your shooting hand underneath the ball with your palm facing up and out. Rest the palm of your non-shooting hand on the side of the ball to steady it. Push the ball up and forward, and turn your body 20 to 90 degrees toward your non-shooting hand as you jump. Straighten your shooting elbow and release the ball toward your target just before you reach the full height of your jump. Follow through with your wrist so that the ball flies in an arc instead of just going straight up or forward. It takes time and practice to shoot a basketball correctly, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right away. Keep practicing from different angles and distances until it starts to feel natural and easy. If you want to learn more, like how to practice shots while you're being guarded, keep reading the article!