Swish... how to shoot a basketball

I’m going to start with just a basic shot, nothing fancy, just how to shoot a basketball.

The goal is to develop the proper form and perfect it to the point that it’s automatic. You won’t even have to think about it anymore; you’ll be sinking shots in your sleep while you’re counting sheep.

Have you ever watched a really good shooter shoot the ball? It looks good, it’s a site to behold; it’s an ART.

Now the fun part...

First, go get yourself a basketball.

Note: Basketball sizes vary from youth to women’s to men’s, but the techniques are the same.

Okay, so now you have the basketball in your hands…

  • First thing is the placement of your hands. If you’re right handed, place your right palm on the top of the ball and your left hand partially to the side and partially underneath it so it can support and guide the ball.

    *how to shoot a basketball tip* Remember, you want to have a loose grip on the ball so to speak, don’t have your entire palm smothering the ball. The reason for this is because it’s your fingers that will be giving the ball rotation.

  • Second is the release position. Bring the ball above your head, in a way so that your shooting arm creates an “L.” Think of it like a catapult.

    *Basketball shooting styles vary; some people release the ball in front of their face, others behind their head. Do what comes natural to you, but remember the lower you cock the ball, the more susceptible you are to getting blocked. Also, the farther you cock the ball behind your head, the longer it takes to setup and release your shot. Right above the head or a tad bit lower is ideally where you want to release the ball like in the picture below.

  • Finally, it’s time to make that shot! Keep your feet about shoulder width apart with your right foot forward if you’re right handed. Keep your elbows tucked in close to your body. Shoot from around the free throw line or a little bit closer.
  • The best way to illustrate this is, imagine energy starting at your feet as you bend your knees slightly. Visualize this energy going up your entire body until it gets to the top, eventually reaching its apex when you release the ball off your fingertips.

    Now shoot the ball, and remember, you want the ball to ROLL OFF your fingertips as you SNAP YOUR WRIST. Your left hand or guide hand ONLY GUIDES; it does not disrupt the rotation of the ball in any way.

    *Give the ball a nice high arc like a rainbow. Shoot it in line with the basket and follow through by snapping your wrist to give the ball proper rotation.

    Shooting a flat shot will do this:

    Shooting a nice high arc will result in this:

Not only practice this, but VISUALIZE yourself executing the perfect shot. Picture it again and again and again.

And thats how to shoot a basketball.

That was just a basic basketball shot; you got to learn how to crawl before you can walk right? Naturally, there are a multitude of basketball shots that you'll use in different situations:

The Lay Up
The layup is the most basic and high percentage shot in basketball

The Jump Shot
The jump shot is the most essential and fundamental tool in the basketball arsenal

The Three Pointer
The three pointer, also known as the trifecta, the trey, the triple, the shot from beyond the arc, dial in from long distance...

How to shoot a bank shot
Off the window, off the glass... the highest percentage shot in basketball.. the bank shot!

How to shoot a free throw
Its just you and Mr. Hoop, one on one, the game within the game: the free throw

The Hook Shot
Difficult to defend, hard to block, high percentage, its the hook shot

The Fadeaway
Create some space and turn the fadeaway loose

Learn more about Basketball Offense

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