How to Shoot a Basketball

So you want to learn how to shoot a basketball? You do not have to be a great athlete to be a good shooter. The outside shot is truly the great equalizer in basketball. The little guy. The fat kid. The out of shape 40 year old. They can all be great shooters. Just follow a few simple instructions and start dominating the scoreboard.

To learn to shoot a basketball, you will need:

  • 1 regulation basketball
  • 1 regulation (10 feet) basketball goal

To shoot a basketball:

  1. Hold the ball in your hand with your palm up and your fingers pointing toward you. A good way to ensure that you have the proper positioning is to hold the basketball out in front of you in your shooting hand with your palm facing up. Then, rotate the ball 180 degrees and bring it up so your elbow is even with your shoulder, and parallel to the ground. This may seem obvious, but it is the first thing that shooting coaches at all levels tell their players.
  2. Position your non-shooting hand so that your thumbs make a “T.” It should rest ever so slightly against the side of the basketball and guide your shot. It should not provide any force. Position your non-shooting arm so that you have a nice window through which to see the basket.
  3. Rest the basketball on the pads of your hand. Shooting is not a time to palm the ball. The ball should rest on the pads of your hands and fingers. Avoid cupping the ball in your palm or holding it on your finger tips.
  4. Square up to the basket. Your shoulders, hips and feet should all be facing the basket. Many shooters have a tendency to dip their shooting shoulder towards the basket. Do not do this. You will not be a consistent shooter.
  5. Bend your knees. Contrary to popular opinion, the power behind your shot comes from your legs and not your arms. Even if you can not jump high, it is still import to use your legs. Your shot should be one fluid motion, starting from your legs and extending up through your shoulders, arm, wrist, and finger tips.
  6. Snap your wrist and follow through. As you release the ball, snap your wrist toward the basket and hold it there for a few seconds. This gives the ball backspin and allows it to carry through the air. It will also give your ball the proper arc to ensure a better shooting percentage.

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