12 Effective Tips for Shooting a Basketball

Let’s face it – most of the best players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) have the highest shooting percentages. At its core, basketball is still about successfully shooting the ball through the hoop.


Are you just one of those people who love playing basketball, but when you try to shoot a three pointer you can’t seem to get the angle of the ball just right so that it enters the hoop?

Don’t worry if you cannot get it right the first time, This is a normal struggle that aspiring athletes experience especially at the beginning.

8 Tips About How To Shoot A Basketball

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How to Improve Your Shooting


Fix Your Target Early

When you have the habit of fixing your eyes on the target, your shooting skills will improve. Why? You’re giving your brain more time to calculate the distance between the ball and basket. You can then focus on your objective - shooting the ball into the basket.

Of course, the calculations made in your brain occur within seconds. You should never spend too much time on thinking about making the shot. Your muscle and brain memory will kick in so that the shot becomes more natural.

You have to develop the habit during drills and practice sessions. The shooting trick will only work when the habit comes like second nature during games.

fix your eyes

You should also identify the target during games. Your shot will be more effective because you can make better release decisions. The strength, direction and point of your release will be more accurate.

There will be instances when looking at the target isn’t necessary. This is the case for trick shots where you shoot the ball while facing away from the basket. But before doing so, you must first see the basket and visualize the ball sinking into it.


Keep Your Eyes on the Target

You shooting accuracy will increase when you keep your eye on the target. This is true even when you have already developed muscle memory for your shooting skills.

  • Locate the rim of the basket as early as possible.
  • Avoid following the ball’s flight as you release it. Just keep your eyes on the target.
Keep Your Eyes on the Target

Your muscle memory and informed judgment about the ball’s trajectory will kick into gear. When you take your eyes off the target, you’re more likely to make mistakes.


Always Relax Your Wrist

When shooting the ball through the hoop, most mistakes that players tend to make is, when they have a tense wrist they follow through right away which is not right.


If you are going to shoot a ball effectively, your wrist must be relaxed all the time. You should finish on the line with your hand or even bounce a little while you are making your follow through.


Adopt the Proper Stance and Balance

Your body’s stance is the key to keeping your balance and making the shot. Your power comes from your lower body, particularly your legs. You should then adopt an athletic stance that harnesses such power.

  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart for better stability. Your toes should point toward the rim. You should be comfortable in your slightly staggered stance. Your shooting foot must be a bit in front of your non-shooting foot.
  • Point your feet in the basket’s general direction although not directly at it. You can choose between an open and closed stance.
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    Flex or bend your knees for every shot you make.
Adopt the Proper Stance and Balance

Note: Many coaches prefer an open stance with the feet pointing toward one side of the basket. If you’re a right-handed shooter, your feet should point just to the left of the rim. You will have a more natural and comfortable shooting position.

Keep in mind that consistency is crucial in making the shot. When you have developed a comfortable shot, you should line up your feet in the same way.


Move into the Shot Pocket

You have to move the ball quickly into the shot pocket, as soon as you catch it. The shot pocket is the position where you begin your jump shot. All the parts of your shooting arm should be in a vertical plane to the side of your face, out in front of your shoulder.

  • Line up everything that your shooting eye and the ball form a straight line to the hoop.
  • Position the basketball several inches above your waist.
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    Keep a firm and proper grip on the ball before readying the shoot.
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    Position it in your shot pocket in exactly the same way after every catch.


Get the Proper Grip

Your control over the ball and its shot also depends on your proper grip over it. This is one of the first things that you must learn in a basketball clinic, too, as it’s crucial to ball handling.

  • Place the ball’s air hole between your index and middle fingers.
  • Line up the pads of your fingertips parallel to the ball’s long seams. You can effectively check its back spin in this manner.
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    Leave a space between the middle of your palm and the ball. You can insert a pencil in the area, just to check it.
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    Spread your fingers so that the ball has a stable and comfortable balance in your hand. Your fingertips should be touching the ball (i.e., the ball should sit on them).
Get the Proper Grip

You should practice holding the ball without dribbling or passing it.


Be Aware of Your Balance Hand

Your balance hand is important in making the shot, too. You should keep these dos and don’ts in mind about it:

  • Do keep your non-shooting hand (i.e., balance hand) on the side of the ball.
  • Do use your non-shooting hand to guide your shots.
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    Don’t let your balance hand move on delivery.
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    Do let it always come off the ball first upon delivery.
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    Don’t let your balance hand add spin or force to your shot.

Keep in mind that your balance hand should add balance to your shooting motion.


Follow on the Delivery

Your delivery will be the difference between a successful and missed shot. Keep these delivery tips in mind:

  • Never dip the ball. It should start its motion upwards directly from the shot pocket.
  • Keep your elbows in a comfortable position under the ball. It should stay in your front and not behind your head.
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    Coordinate the uncoiling motion of your legs, core and arms.
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    Extend your elbow and wrist in a straight line to the hoop.
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    Extend your shooting hand in a straight line to the rim, too.

You have to be aware of hand position, too. Your hand should deliver the right power so that the ball comes off with a symmetrical backspin.


Release on the Upforce and Landing

Your landing should be such that you will land on the same spot where you jumped. This shows your good balance on the shot.


You should also release the ball on its way up. This is usually just before you reach the top of your jump. You must also use your legs in generating the upforce, yet another proof that power is in your legs.


Follow on the Follow-through

Even after the ball has been released, you should still be aware of the follow-through.

  • Keep your wrists relaxed.
  • Point your fingers at the target.
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    Hold your follow-through position until you make the shot.
Follow on the Follow-through

Of course, plenty of practice is a must to perfect the stationary shooting position. You can add your dribbling skills at different speeds to your shooting skills during the game.


Train, Train, and More Training

This is another important factor that you should be practicing. You must always remember to practice every single day, or at least when you have free time to play a game of basketball with yourself.


Training will help you increase your stamina and speed when it comes to running in the basketball court.


Don’t Replicate a Basketball Player of Your Choice

This happens because some people watch too much NBA, and they end up replicating the jump shots of most famous basketball players like Kobe who like to hang in the air while they make their shots.

For most young players, because Kobe is such a sacred name to them that they will often want to copy or imitate his high jumps. A jump should be made an inch as you are going up, which means that your shot should be at the top of your jump.


If you try to mimic jump shots from players like Durant or Jordan, then you might just earn yourself a spot on the bench.

What Makes Shooting Critical?

Aside from being a major spectacle in the game, shooting is also critical for basketball games as it makes a huge difference in the game. It’s not just about the enjoyment of spectators, scoring, or the showing-off of players. This skill is also important for the following reasons:


Good Shooting will Make Your Team’s Offensives Great

With a few good shooters, the team will easily have a leg up in their offense. How? The fact that your team has a few shooters will already put the rival team to go into a defensive mode.

They’ll be required to do this because they’ll need to minimize your team’s odds at scoring more hoops that will leave them behind in terms of points. They’ll be in great trouble if they don’t have a lot of shooters on their roster, allowing you to have a better chance of winning the game.


For some coaches, it’s more important to prevent the other team from scoring, so they won’t have to work hard in getting their shots through. By having a few good shooters in your team, you have more chances of getting balls through your designated hoops.

This will mean that the rivals will have to watch out for more players. In turn, this can wear their defenses down, giving your team better odds of winning the game.


Good Shooting will Let Your Team Win More Games

As mentioned above, the higher scoring team wins the game. However, having a competitive advantage in basketball isn’t just about a high score.

Your team also needs a good shooting percentage because if you’re paired off with a team with outstanding defense, you might still have lower odds at winning the game.


For most teams, having a number of good shooters instead of having two or three excellent shooters boost the odds of winning more games. If more team members can guarantee more balls successfully shot, they’ll offer a higher fighting chance to win more games.

Relying on just two or three players to always make a basket, no matter how great they may be, will still put a team at a disadvantage.


Good Shooting is the Foundation of a Basketball Career

A player who shoots well will also have better chances of starting out a basketball career. College scouts are on the lookout for great performing players, so if you want to stand out, you’ll want to grab their attention with excellent shooting skills for starters.


By raking in points for your team, you’ll have better odds at bagging a college scholarship.

Final Words

Becoming a great shooter in basketball demands raw talent and skills development. You have to spend hours on perfecting your shooting stance and style. You can build muscle memory in this manner and, thus, make more effective shots.

Artis Gilmore and Wilt Chamberlain didn’t achieve their place in the NBA as the top shooters for nothing. They had to practice their shots from all angles, directions and speeds – and so should you!

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