Basketball is one of the most popular sports today. It’s fast-paced nature makes the game exciting, whether you’re playing or simply watching it. The game’s objective is simple. Shoot the ball in the goal and score higher than the opposing team.
In a game of basketball, it’s common for the opposing teams to heavily guard the areas closest to the goal and offer less pressure as you move further. This is because the closer the ball gets to the basket, the higher are the chances of getting the ball in the hoop. What if you and your teammates cannot get a closer shot? Then you need to start learning how to shoot the ball from a distance.
Winning in this game requires players to shoot the ball perfectly. This is the only action in the game that gains points. Therefore, it is almost imperative for any basketball team to get players who are capable of shooting the ball and contributing to offense. This is the only action in the game that gains points.
How to Shoot a Basketball Properly Step by Step
Observing the proper form while shooting is necessary in order to increase the chances of the ball going in the hoop. For teams that regularly compete, one of the skills that coaches want their players to develop is the skill of shooting using the correct form.
Before the player is given time to play, many coaches make sure that the player is able to shoot the ball at a good shooting percentage. By doing so, their chances of getting points whenever they need them are improved. These also work for our great kids basketball training drills.
Getting players to shoot the ball correctly requires training, especially to those who have developed bad habits while doing it. But what exactly are the things that should be taught to players in order to shoot correctly?
When training how to shoot a basketball better should be able to cover the following general concepts:
Basketball Shooting Tips For Youth & Beginners: The Proper Stance, Position and Grip
The act of shooting is similar to a machine and this means that if you want to get the desired result. everything that you do needs to be accomplished smoothly. In learning the first thing that a player should train at would be the correct stance, position, and grip before doing the motion.
By starting the motion correctly, it is more likely that the act will be finished correctly, and gain points for your team. Check out this quick video about basketball shooting:
1. Teaching Proper Shooting Form Basketball
The following steps will serve as a guide to the correct shooting stance and the right way of handling the ball prior to shooting:
- Stand with your legs and feet at least shoulder width apart – learning the proper stance is an important element that a player should develop. This is because the legs serve as the source of the force that will be needed to shoot. Think of it as a spring that transfers power to your arms. This position will give optimal force to your shot without having the need to apply too much force coming from the arms.
- Position your dominant feet slightly forward – while maintaining the shoulder width stance, it is recommended that your dominant feet is slightly forward.
- Keep your knees slightly bent – in order for your legs to become a spring that’s ready to release energy, you need to develop the habit of bending your knees slightly. This will also help you to get ready for jumping and ready to shoot the ball any time you receive it. It will also help you move faster and give you better balance (or even regain it faster) as compared to standing or shooting with your legs straight.
The premise of these points is to help shooters develop a stance that will make it easier for them to shoot the ball. However, players need to consider what makes them comfortable when they take the shot.
When developing this stance, players are encouraged to be conscious of it whenever they are attempting to shoot the ball. Practicing the stance, whether at home or in the court while warming up, will help you get used to it. By doing so, it will be easier for your body to assume the stance whenever you catch and let the ball fly. You will soon become a pro. Summer camps are a great way to help.
2. Right Shooting Position
Once you get used to the stance, you will need to get hold of the ball. But in order to shoot perfectly, it needs to be in the correct position first. This correct position will help you to easily shoot the ball and improve its chances of going in.
The following steps will guide you on the correct position of the ball so that shot attempts are easier:
- Know where the “shooting pocket” is – this area is located on the player’s dominant side, usually few inches just about the waist. By knowing where this “sweet spot” is, it will be easier for you to transition from catching the ball to being in a position to shoot it.
- Make sure that your elbow is under the ball, not on the side – another position that should be assumed so that shooting the ball will be comfortable is to position your elbow rather than on the side. Getting used to doing the latter could significantly change the direction of your shot.
- Practice catching the ball in your shooting pocket so that you can shoot faster. If doing so is not possible (say, you’re catching a broken pass), make sure that you can put the ball in your shooting pocket as fast as you can.
The shooting pocket may be mostly useful in shooting the ball, but learning it (or even catch it) in this area could help set you up for the “triple threat” position (where you can easily pass, dribble, or shoot the ball). This could confuse your opponent as to what you’ll do with the ball.
3. Proper Shooting Grip Basketball
Once the ball is caught and put in your shooting pocket, it’s time to position it for shooting. In this position though, the way you hold the ball could make a difference on the outcome of your shot attempt.
The following steps can be followed if you want to grip the ball properly before shooting:
Before going depth check out this video once.
- Make sure that your shooting hand is positioned vertically against the seams of the ball and that your finger pads are parallel to it. This is done so that you can monitor and control the ball’s back spin once you release it.
- When you hold the ball, make sure that your fingers are spread. By doing so, it will be easier for you to hold and balance the ball even with one hand.
- Your non-dominant hand should be placed on the side of the ball. This position, along with the straight elbow from your dominant hand, will help you shoot the ball in the correct direction.
- Make sure that the ball rests on your finger pads when you’re about to shoot. Leave some room between the ball and your palms. This can be developed by holding a small object such as a pen when holding the ball to and from your shooting pocket and shooting position.
4. Basketball Shooting Motion
Now that you know the “preparations” in taking the shot. Just like the first phase, executing the steps correctly is important.
The steps below will guide you on what to do during your shooting motion:
- From your shooting pocket, move the ball smoothly to shooting position. This is done by bending your forearm towards your shoulder while raising both arms to eye level and the ball slightly above your head. Make sure that the ball doesn’t go as far as the back of your head or on the side.
- Straighten your knees and apply enough force to jump. Make sure that you land on the same position where you jumped.
- Upon jumping, exert force using your shooting hand. Release the ball by snapping your elbows and wrist forward. When you start to shoot, make sure that your non-dominant hand comes off the ball first. Combined with jumping, you will only need to exert an adequate amount of force to shoot the ball.
- Your wrist should somehow be loose when the shot is released. This is done to get the ball to travel in an arc, rather than a straight line.
- Develop your follow-through. When shooting, make sure that your wrists are relaxed. Your fingers should also be pointing to the goal, and can be seen at the top of the back board square. This will help work on your footwork drills.
Read more about: Basketball Training Equipment
5. Shoot a Basketball With Power And Accuracy
The power is what shoots the basketball, it is your driving force, the power comes from your legs and it should generate the upward force when you shoot. The upper body should not be the main source of power, if it is your shot will be unstable and inconsistent. Shoot the ball with your power source, your legs and release the shot when you are going up, not at the top of your shot. You will find when you do this your shooting motion will be more efficient and even easier,you will increase your shooting range as well.
6. Basketball Shooting Alignment
The alignment you need to be lined up with your target you arm needs to be lined up with your target, your elbow should be as close as 90 degrees as possible. I like to have an open stance when a shoot the basketball.
It allows for the shooting motion to become smoother. Shooting is naturally a one-handed shot and when I have an open stance it gives me a free motion when shooting the ball. It also help me to align to the target.
7. Balance and Follow-through
The balance is very important when shooting the ball, you need to be balanced this will cause you to make more shots, When you shoot the ball you should not be leaning backward, if anything you want your momentum going slightly forward when shooting the ball.
Follow-through is very important when you shoot, because wherever your arm goes,that is where the ball is going to go. Point your arm right in the basket and hold it there for a one second count. Your release should have a flopping motion and not be tensed when you shoot.
Try out these tips and let me know how they work for you! Basketball shooting form is important, but the knowledge behind shooting is even more important. Remember every player is different, don’t just do what people tell you, try the techniques out for yourself. Get in the gym and work to get better!
8. Muscle Memory Shooting
If you have never heard of muscle memory, basically it refers to the fact that the physical body remembers different experiences. For example, when you learned to ride a bike, play guitar or surf, you experienced muscle memory.
The same goes for shooting in basketball. For this drill, you simply pick a spot to shoot from and repeatedly shoot, focusing on your form. Having another person to collect the ball each time you shoot is a lot better so you don’t lose your form.
9. Backboard Accuracy Drill
All you need for this drill is a basketball and a in-ground basketball hoop. Using one hand, as you would when you are doing form shooting, you want to shoot the ball off the side of the backboard (SB). When you’re doing this, you’re looking for the ball to come straight back to you.
This is a great drill as the only way for the ball to come straight back, is for you to hit the SB straight on. You start this drill directly in front of the SB and keep shoot until you make five SB shots straight on. Then you take a step back, shoot until you make five shots, and take another five shots, repeating this as long as you want.
10. Lying Back Shooting (Lazy Drill)
This drill is one of the easiest drills you could possibly do. You could do it on the floor, on the couch while you are watching TV, or lying in bed. All you do is: Lie with your back flat with a basketball in your hands and throw the ball straight into the air using one hand, focusing on your form.
Try to throw the basketball straight up so it will land back in your hands. Make sure you follow through each time you throw the ball in the air. This is a great drill to do when you are bored at home as you can easily do this drill while watching TV.
11. Basketball Lay Up Drills For Beginners
Even though lay-ups aren’t long range shots like the other basketball shooting drills we wrote about in this post, they are still part of shooting. Here are a few tips for performing a lay-up:
- When performing a lay-up you should always use the backboard, hitting the ball softly off the backboard.
- If you’ve never done a lay-up before, make sure to first practice without a ball and learn the proper footwork before also trying to make the lay-up.
- Make sure to shoot with your right hand when you are on the right and shoot with your left hand when you are on the left.
Top 3 Best Basketball Shooting Drills For Kids and Youth
If you are an athlete looking to improve you skills when it comes to your shooting, let us share a few basketball shooting drills that the pros use.
The difference between good players and great players is knowledge, practice and passion. There are thousands of training programs on the internet, but how do you know if you are doing the right ones?
These are three basketball shooting drills that are used by pros in the NBA which will require a partner, they are great techniques to bring your shooting skills to the next level.
These three basketball shooting drills that are used by Kevin Durant:
Progression 1 – Reverse Pivot – Shot
To have the initial cut open, you will need to have a defender on your back.
If you want to make a high-percentage of your shots, you will need to master the step-out and reverse pivot at top speed in order to get your shots off as fast as possible. With the time the defense has to recover to content the shot, it will be important that you do.
Progression 2 – Reverse Pivot – Sweep – 1 Dribble – Shot
When dribbling, be sure to cover a lot of ground.
If you want to be effective, creating separation while dribbling is the key. If not, the defender who you originally had the advantage against will interfere with your pull up jump shot and your dribble will have gotten you no where. When the defender blocks the shooter from behind you will see this.
Progression 3 – Reverse Pivot – Sweep – 1 Dribble Change – Lay Up
These basketball shooting drills can help defense slides over, you should be able to switch directions with the dribble and take it to the net. You need to be aggressive with the dribble if not, the defender will attack and take advantage of what you do.
Keys to Remember When Shooting
Shooting a basketball is an art; it takes a lot of practice to perfect the art of shooting.
Here are some key tips to remember about shooting.
- Shoot with the same form every shot. Just because you miss five shots in a row don’t go and completely revamp your shooting form. If you have the right mechanics in your shot, it’s a matter of a few minor adjustments.
- Make sure your non-shooting hand is off of the ball and it is not interfering with your shot causing you to have a bad rotation or hinder the flight off the ball. A good trick to help this, is to practice shooting with just one hand, then add your guide hand when you feel comfortable.
- Leave your follow-through up until the ball goes thru the basket, remember wherever your hand goes, that’s where the ball goes.
- Make sure you have a smooth shooting motion. Extra motion in your shot lowers your shooting percentage.
- Check to make sure you have your elbow in and it is pointing directly at the basket
- Check the flight of your shot; you should be shooting with an arc.
- Make sure you are balanced and not leaning back on your shot
- Video tape yourself shooting the ball, try to get footage from a game and see if you are shooting with the proper fundamentals try to analyses every aspect of your shot.
- Use the back board – whether shooting straight or at an angle, getting your shots to fall can be aided by the board. Instead of aiming for the rim, you can instead aim to get the ball to hit the square in the back board. Always aim for the middle of the square, as it will most likely drop straight to the basket. This is useful when shooting layups or taking shots closer to the rim.
Learning how to shoot a basketball requires consistency in doing all the steps. By doing so, you will be ready to play the game competitively and even become a player that everyone is looking for.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you shoot a basketball and make it every time?
The only way to insure that you will make the basket every time you shoot the ball is to practice this every day. You need to practice shooting the ball everyday so your muscles get accustomed to throwing the ball and you are able to duplicate the action, height and distance you need automatically without concentrating on the task.
How do you shoot a basketball for beginners?
You can run up to the basket from the side and jump up while aiming the ball at the basket. You can stand on the free throw line raise the ball above your head, take careful aim and toss the ball into the basket. You will need repeated practice to become proficient at this.
Why can't I shoot 3 pointers?
You may be having difficulty shooting three pointers because you are rushing yourself. Take a deep breath and take plenty of time to set up your shot. Repeatedly try to make the shot everyday so you develop muscle control and skill that can help you make the basket.
Can't shoot a basketball straight?
You have to be able to hold your arms straight in order to shoot the basketball straight. This is a learned skill. You have to practice repeatedly to teach yourself to properly shoot the ball and properly maintain body position while playing.