How To Shoot A Basketball

The thrill of competition sings in the blood when watching a ball arc through the air. Time suspends itself with the ball as it dances around the rim. As Nike says, “Nothing but net.” Swoosh. Watching the ball hit the net is the goal of every player. There is an art to shooting a basketball, and yet the actual shot is unique to every individual. Some players will shoot one handed while others always use two. Some players spin the ball as they release. Below are a few simple steps to follow to begin learning how to make a basket. Remember that all bodies are not the same and your shot may evolve beyond these simple steps.

  1. Stand in front of the basket holding your basketball.
  2. Square your body. Stand to face the rim. Square your hips, feet, and shoulders so that you have a clear view to the rim.
  3. Bend your knees. At this point, some people will dribble the ball a few times to focus and relieve stress.
  4. Always remember that the power of the shot should come from your legs and the direction of the shot from your arms. Place your weight on the balls of your feet. Holding the ball close to the hand make an L-shape. In one motion using the power of your legs bring the arms over the head, keeping your dominant shooting hand behind the ball, your non-dominant hand to the side to stabilize, keeping your shooting arm in the 90 degree angle next to your side elbow close to the hip or side. Release the ball from your fingertips to send ball towards hoop.
  5. Follow through the release with your wrist. Some call this snapping the wrist.
  6. Do not use just your upper body to throw and release. It should not be a jerk motion but one fluid movement. Use your leg strength. It may seem like you are throwing the ball from your arms and shoulders, but a basketball shot is made using the whole body.
  7. Feet, legs, hips, square, bend knees, power up, align, arms overhead, release.
  8. Follow through the shot including keeping alignment with the vertical elbow and arm.

Tips for more success:

  • For youth athletes you may want to start them out shooting baskets with a hoop that is commensurate with their size.
  • Wear proper clothing that allows for the full range of motion of shots. Do not wear shirts or shorts that are too oversized and block the ability for good form.
  • Consider the size of the ball. If the athlete is just learning, and the size of the ball is not allowing for complete control with handling consider using a smaller ball especially for children. It is ok to use smaller balls when learning how to shoot since the technique does not require regulation sizes when first learning.
  • Some coaches use the acronym beef to assist children in remembering the form to incorporate all the steps above:

1. B-balance 2. E-elbow 3. E- eye 4. F-follow through

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