Basketball Shooting Fundamentals & Tips

The best basketball players spend hours working on fundamentals, and one of the most fundamental aspects of the sport is shooting. With the proper shooting mechanics and motions, an average player can become a great shooter. Having proper form and technique is essential to shooting the ball well, and that technique can vary depending where on the floor you are.

Basic Technique

The shot only uses one hand. Practice the proper technique of shooting the ball and getting proper rotation on the ball by holding it in your hand with your fingertips and shooting it up no more than 1 foot in the air. Your wrist should snap as you shoot it out of your hand, giving the ball a backspin that will help it go straight and bounce softly if it doesn’t hit the hoop perfectly. Your “off,” or non-dominant, hand is used to help bring the ball up to begin your shot, but should be taken just barely off the ball just before you extend your dominant hand to shoot it.

Body Positioning

Making sure each part of the body is in proper alignment and doing what it needs to do will help you get off a good shot. When practicing, focus on your body placement from the floor up. The ball will tend to go where your feet are pointing. If your feet aren’t squared to the basket, chances are your shot will be off. Your feet will help point your hips toward the basket, which will help your upper body, including your arms and hand, all be in proper alignment and pointing toward the basket. Practice performing “curls” on the basketball court with a teammate, friend or coach. Pick a spot on the floor and run toward the spot in a curled path, rather than a straight line. Have your partner throw the ball to you just as you arrive at the spot and focus on getting your feet and entire body aligned to the basket before you jump to shoot. As you practice, you’ll be able to align your body quickly and get off a good shot.

Areas of Floor

Depending on what part of the floor you’re on, you’ll need to alter your shot accordingly. For instance, if you’re shooting the ball just below the basket, it’s more effective to use one hand and bank the ball off the backboard rather than shooting it right in the basket. As you move farther out, you’ll need to use your legs more to elevate the ball, and using the backboard will become less effective. Take plenty of practice shots from all distances to get a feel for how much you will need to use your legs to get the ball to the basket.

About this Author

James Patterson specializes in health and wellness topics, having written and produced material for the National Institutes of Health, the President’s Cancer Panel, and an Inc. 500 Hall of Fame company. He is also a former sportswriter, with writing experience in basketball, baseball, softball, golf and other popular sports, and writes relevant sports titles.