Perfect Jump Shot Form

Perfect jump shot form, like a perfect golf swing, is composed of many elements. If you have to think about them all when you shoot a basketball though, you'll probably put up more airballs and bricks than every before. But if you practice the basic jump shot mechanics, your muscle memory should start to take over and soon you'll just be reinforcing great shooting form instead of your old bad habits. Starting from your feet and working your way up, here are the basics of perfect jump shot form.

  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart or no more than a foot apart when you prepare to jump. Square up to the basket, with your weight evenly distributed. Former NBA star Glenn Rice suggests that you keep your lead foot–your right foot if you're shooting right-handed–no more than five inches in front of your back foot.
  2. Bring the ball up in front of your face between your left eye and your right shoulder, if you're right-handed, and form a right angle with your shooting arm.
  3. Bend your wrist back when you shoot to help give your shot backspin and to make sure the shot is coming more from the hand than from the shoulder. Try it and compare. Shoot a few jump shots by barely moving you wrist and then shoot some more by cocking your wrist back and really letting the ball roll off your fingertips. You'll feel like you're really shooting the basketball, rather than pushing it or aiming it.
  4. Release your shot as you approach the height of your jump and think about shooting the ball high. Longtime NBA coach George Karl advised players to shoot as though they were shooting out of a telephone booth.
  5. Keep your elbow in for perfect jump shot form and don't let it flail out, because you'll lose accuracy that way.
  6. Practice this perfect jump shot form from spots on the court where you will realistically take shots and where you are physically able to execute that form, as is recommended by Coack Karl. If you're trying to shoot from too far away, you'll reinforce bad shooting technique as you compensate for the distance.
  7. When this jump shot form starts to feel natural when you're just shooting around, practice catching a pass and quickly getting into position to shoot. With perfect jump shot form and a quick catch-and-release ability, you'll be a force on the basketball court.
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