Have you ever doubted your ability to shoot the basketball? It might be that you never had confidence in your shot to begin with. Maybe you are a good shooter who has gone through shooting slumps from time to time.
I have seen players go from being very below average shooters to being the best on their teams just by learning correct basketball shooting form and then practicing and practicing to perfect their shooting technique. If you have the discipline to both practice and practice every time with correct technique, I guarantee that you will become a better shooter. Even if the longest shot you ever take is a free throw, this article will help you make more shots!
Basketball Shooting Form Breakdown (from toe to head)
The purpose of your shooting stance is three-fold. Number 1, your shooting stance lines up the rest of your body which lines up your shooting arm to release the ball so that it goes straight at the rim. Number 2, it is consistent so that you can get your feet aligned the same way every time no matter how fast you are moving into the catch for your shot. Number 3, it provides you with a solid base so that you cannot be forced off-balance by the defense.
The most natural foot placement is with your feet about shoulder width apart for balance. Your shooting foot (right foot for right handed shooters and left foot for left handed shooters) will be slightly forward of your other foot. The toes of your non-shooting foot should line up across from the heel of your shooting foot.
There are two schools of thought on where to point your toes. You should work to see which one is more comfortable to you and more importantly, which one is more effective for you. Effective in this case means the stance that allows you to get the flight of the ball straight at the basket. The closed stance is where the shooter has his shooting foot pointing directly at the center of the rim. The non-shooting foot should be positioned for comfort and balance.
If you shoot with an open stance, your feet point towards the side of the basket. The purpose for this stance is to provide a more natural alignment with your shoulder and the basket. If you are a right-handed shooter, your toes will point to the left of the rim. If you are a left-handed shooter, your toes will point to the right of the rim.
To get the correct back spin, your shot must be a push with only your shooting hand. However, your guide hand is an important part of the shot as it balances and steadies the ball as you work through your shooting motion. Place your guide hand on the side of the ball, not in front of the basketball.
To get an idea of how to align the fingers on your shooting hand, the air nozzle should be between your index and middle finger. Your fingers should be going across the seams so that you are able to see the backspin when you release your shot. Your fingers should be spread apart so that you are able to balance the ball without your guide hand. Correct hand position allows your elbow remain in alignment with the ball.
Shooting on balance is an important part of being a consistently good shooter and your head plays an important role in your balance. Your head should be over the center of your feet on jump shots. Another critical factor in body balance is what you watch. Your eyes should be fixed on the eyelet of the rim that is directly in front of you. It is a fundamental mistake for your eyes to follow the flight of the basketball after you release it. When your eyes look up to see the ball, so does your head and that disrupts your balance.
Another important part of your shot is between your ears. Your mind has a big influence on your shot. You cannot over think what you are doing. The time to think about your basketball shooting form is not as you are shooting in a game, but rather when you are practicing. You need to spend enough practice time so that your shot in games is an instinctive habit of movement that you have perfected during practice.
Releasing your shot
The ball should be in front of your body throughout the entire shot. You must avoid the mistake of taking the basketball behind your head. As you push the ball out of your hands, your guide hand should remain still and not apply any force at all to the shot. That will help you maintain backspin. As you push the ball toward the basket, imagine putting your hand in the basket. It ends up looking like a “goose-neck.” Make or miss, hold that high follow through until the ball is below the net.
Don’t believe it when people tell you that there are natural born shooters. It is true that some players have better hand/eye coordination than others. It is also true that basketball players who have more flexible upper bodies are more suited for being good shooters. I believe that anyone who consistently applies proper basketball shooting technique can become a better shooter.