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Time To Learn Correct Basketball Shooting Techniques and Fundamentals

Basketball Shooting is what everyone gets the most excited about. It’s thrilling for the fans, players and coaches when the ball makes it through the hoop and more points are piled on.

Since it’s so flashy and interesting, basketball shooting is probably practiced and drilled more than any other fundamental.

If you’re like most players, you want to increase your shooting percentage by 12%.

Everyone day-dreams about being the top scorer or hitting the fall-away jumper to win the championship trophy for their team.

Be sure you understand that becoming great at basketball shooting (whether it’s making free throws, layups, 3-pointers, etc.) means putting in hours of practice time.

Shooting is a skill.

And just like any skill, whether or not you become better or worse depends on whether or not you’re practicing the correct shooting techniques and fundamentals.

On this page, you’ll find the correct fundamentals you’ll need to be successful for a variety of shots. Before we get into specific techniques, be aware that there are some important fundamentals to shooting that come before you ever pick up the ball.

First of all, you must have a deep desire and willingness to learn. Do you want to be a great shooter bad enough that you’re willing to listen to constructive criticism from your coaches?

Are you willing to take time to really understand the correct techniques for making shots consistently? Are you then willing to put that info into use with constant practicing and drilling?

Beyond all that, are you willing to then develop other skills…such as increasing your vertical leap?

Good! We thought so. Let’s get into the shooting fundamentals.

What you’ll find first is information on perimeter basketball shooting like jump shots and 3-pointers. Then we’ll get into what we’ll call low post area shots like layups, dunks, hook shots, etc.

basketball shooting

To best help you improve your shooting skills, we’ve teamed with the Basketball Scoring Secrets team.

We encourage you to click here and gain an understanding of how this resource can help you.

If you’re a youth, high-school, college or recreational player or coach looking to dramatically improve shooting & scoring skills, consider Basketball Scoring Secrets

Perimeter Basketball Shooting Techniques and Fundamentals

1) One-Handed Set Shot

Shot Set-Up

Before attempting to shoot, make sure you have your basic set-up done right. Your feet should be shoulder width apart with your weight spread evenly between both. Weight should also be slightly forward on the balls of your feet, knees bent slightly, hips relaxed. If you’re right-handed, place your right foot slightly ahead of the left and stick your butt out slightly (if left-handed, place your left foot slightly ahead of the right).

Want to test whether you are properly balanced for basketball shooting? Once you have your lower body positioned as explained above, have someone push your chest. Your feet are too close together if you fall backward. Having one foot in front of the other prevents you from falling. Remember, basketball shooting all starts with the correct balance and your power for the shot will come from the legs, not arms. The shot begins from the floor up.

A lot of people will tell you to have your shoulders exactly square to the basket. We believe the basketball shooting hand side of your body should be turned slightly with your shoulder forward toward the basket and the non-shooting shoulder angled slightly back. Your head will be angled just a bit toward your shooting arm.

Ball Placement

Now, hold the ball close to your chest and just below your chin. Your shooting hand should be positioned a little under the ball and and a little more toward the back. Non-shooting hand should be cupped, slightly under the ball and a little more toward the front.

You want your fingers and thumb well spread with the space between the forefinger and middle finger lined up with the middle of your face. The ball should touch your entire hand except for your palm.

Load the Gun

Lock your wrist and cock it back. If the ball is cocked correctly, you’ll see wrinkles on the back of your wrist.

Elbow and Head Placement

basketball shooting technique
Your hand, forearm, elbow, knee and foot should be in a straight line. Don’t let your elbows stick out at your side. This will change the ball’s rotation and might make it curve (there goes your basketball shooting accuracy!). Keep the elbow pointed at the basket and closer to the basket than your wrist. This prevents you from “pushing” the ball at the hoop.

Keep your head up and directly above the midpoint between your feet. Your weight should still be slightly forward on the balls of your feet, knees bent slightly, hips relaxed. Focus on the front of the rim before, during, and after your shot. Don’t look away to watch the ball in flight (a key basketball shooting
fundamental).

The Shot

As you begin the shot, your weight should roll up onto the toes of your forward foot. Be sure you’re releasing upward and toward the basket and not reaching forward as you release. It’s OK to to leave your feet a bit as your back foot gives you a quick, upward push. Throw your head up and through and then land just ahead of the position from where you began the shot.

As the ball leaves your hand, the fingers and thumbs on each hand should be well spread with the palms almost facing one another. Snap your wrist to release the ball off your fingers and achieve the correct back spin necessary for a soft shot.

Follow Through

In your follow through, the forefinger should be the last finger to touch the ball. This action will turn your palm out a bit as the ball is released. Visualize putting your hand into the basket as you follow through. This will help you get complete elbow extension and wrist flexion during the follow through.

Get these fundamentals down and when it comes to basketball shooting, you’ll have one heck of a set shot going!

2) Jump Shot

Set-Up, Ball Placement, Elbow and Head Placement

Very much like the Set Shot. Follow the same instructions for set up and ball placement. You’ll also release the ball much the same. Be sure your hand, forearm, elbow, knee and foot are in a straight line. Keep your elbows in just like with the set shot.

Also, just like you learned above with the set shot, keep your head up and directly above the midpoint between your feet. Your weight should still be slightly forward on the balls of your feet, knees bent slightly, hips relaxed. Focus on the front of the rim before, during, and after your shot. Don’t look away to watch the ball in flight (a key basketball shooting fundamental).

The Shot

The difference is the fact that with the jump shot, your goal is to get height through your jump before letting the ball go. Be sure not to strain beyond your limit in trying to get more height to your jump shot.

You want to jump quickly and push off the leg opposite your shooting hand. For power, protection and balance, bring the knee of the shooting side leg up quickly. Your move should be up and toward the hoop (not out and toward the hoop) and you should land only a bit in front of the spot you launched from.

One of the keys to this shot is your quickness, not trying to out jump the defender. Your defender won’t have enough time to react if you’re off your feet and shooting in one quick motion.

Release the ball right at or just prior to the peak of your jump and just as your elbow reaches full extension. Snap your wrist to release the ball off your fingers and achieve the correct back spin necessary for a soft shot.

Follow Through

In your follow through, the forefinger should be the last finger to touch the ball. This action will turn your palm out a bit as the ball is released. Visualize putting your hand into the basket as you follow through. This will help you get complete elbow extension and wrist flexion during the follow through.

Keep your head and forefinger pointed at the basket and land with good balance. You’ll achieve good balance by keeping your feet spread and you’ll be able to make your next move smoothly (in the unlikely scenerio that you miss the shot, you want to get that rebound for you next basketball shooting opportunity, right?).





3) Free Throws

A Little Commentary

It’s important to make free throws a big part of your basketball shooting repertoire. For pro and college players, probably 20%-25% of players’ scoring production come from free throws. So no matter what level you’re at now, isn’t it a good idea to practice this basketball shooting skill? Unfortunately, many players don’t invest enough time in this area of their game even though many games are decided by a player either making or missing a free throw or two. As good as he is, how many Magic, Laker and Heat fans have at some time wished Shaq made just one more free throw?

The free throw is actually pretty unique when it comes to basketball shooting. It’s the one shot that puts you on an island all alone. No one can contest your shot, but the pressure is high, isn’t it?

The Fundamentals

Align your feet in the correct basketball shooting position. Align your shooting foot exactly with the middle of the rim and your non-shooting foot a few inches behind and 12-14 inches apart from your shooting foot.

Find a routine for yourself. This will help you develop a consistent shot. Flex your knees a set number of times before settling into your stance, or spin the ball in the air in front of you a few times, or bounce the ball a certain number of times. Or do a combination of all three. Just be sure to do it the same every single time.

If you make your first free throw, hold your stance. If you miss the first, step back and get comfortable again. Don’t take too much time with your free throws. Get comfortable and focus on the front of the rim. If you don’t feel good, step back, re-align yourself, relax and shoot.

Follow the one-handed set shot fundamentals for success at the charity stripe. The only difference is that you don’t leave the floor. Roll your weight up onto your toes for the correct follow through motion and then come back to the exact position you started from.

The Reward

Practice until your free throw routine has become such a habit that you can almost make it with your eyes closed. Then, when you’re down by one in a one-and-one situation, no time left on the clock, you just deliver for your team nice and calmly!





4) Three Point Shot

Short Commentary

When it comes to basketball shooting, hitting three-pointers can provide your team a huge lift and at the same time unnerve and deject your opponent. In a word, 3-pointers are exciting. So why not get good at them?

The Shot

As usual, becoming good at this aspect of basketball shooting takes a lot of practice. The fundamentals of actually shooting the ball are the same as those for jump shots (#2 above).

Know where the 3-point line is! Don’t step on the line. You’ve just turned your three-pointer into 2 points. After passing into the post, find the line and get open. Have your hands up and be ready for the pass. Don’t take any fall-away 3-point shots. Don’t throw the ball at the hoop. Use your legs for power and use the same correct shooting technique you do on two point jump shots.

Your Reward

Learn this aspect of basketball shooting and put a dagger in the other team everytime!


Low Post Basketball Shooting Techniques and Fundamentals

1) Underhand Lay-Up

One of the easiest aspects of basketball shooting but it’s amazing how many players miss their lay-ups. If you are right-handed, approach the basket from the right side. You want to launch off the foot opposite your shooting hand (in this case, the left) and bring your right leg, hand and arm up at the same time. The left hand is used to protect and control the ball and help bring it into position to shoot. Keep the ball close to your body on the way up.

In order to help freeze your defender, try a head and slight ball fake to the opposite side just before you make your jump. Your shooting hand should be in front of and under the ball with the fingers pointed up. You should release the ball with a slight flick of your wrist, fingers and elbow at or near the peak of your jump. Don’t release it after you begin coming down. Don’t put any spin on the ball. Just let it hit softly off the backboard and into the net.





2) Overhand Lay-up

What makes this different from the underhand type, you now have your shooting hand positioned at the back of and under the ball. Your palm facing away from you rather than toward you and your fingers are pointed upward. Once again, release the ball with a slight flick of your wrist, fingers and elbow at or near the peak of your jump.





3) Power Lay-up

This is a good basketball shooting shot to take when you’re surrounded under the basket. Position yourself under the hoop and just to one side. Point your toes to the baseline and jump off both feet towards the basket, keeping your shoulders parallel to the baseline. Use both hands to bring the ball up and bank it off the board with the hand that’s furthest away from your defender.





4) Reverse Lay-up

This shot is used when you’re trapped under the basket and near the end line. You may have also ended up there after grabbing a rebound or loose ball. When driving from the right, use your left hand and when driving from the left, use your right hand. It’s hard to block this one because the rim provides you protection. Turn your head backwards and concentrate on the basket. Jump off the foot opposite your shooting hand. Your shooting hand palm is under the ball and facing the basket with your thumb pointing in toward the center line of the court. Release the ball with a quick flick of the wrist and fingers with your thumb turning back toward your ear. This motion will give the ball a needed spin to get it up off the lower part of the board and into the hoop.





5) Hook Shot

Turn your body a little to the side rather than facing the basket directly. Your shooting side leg should go up with your shooting hand just like when performing a lay-up. You’ll jump off the non-shooting side leg, extend your shooting arm high over your head and flip the ball over your head in a sweeping motion. Depending on where you’re shooting from, you can use the backboard or just swish it through. Be sure to give the hook a good follow through.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made this one very famous.





6) Dunk

This is pretty simple. You need to be able to jump high enough to get your hands up and over the rim while still holding the ball. Once you have the ball over the basket, just slam it through the net. One of the most exciting basketball shooting options.

basketball shooting

To best help you improve your shooting skills, we’ve teamed with the Basketball Scoring Secrets team.

We encourage you to click here and gain an understanding of how this resource can help you.

If you’re a youth, high-school, college or recreational player or coach looking to dramatically improve shooting & scoring skills, consider Basketball Scoring Secrets