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Basketball Shooting Tips

These basketball shooting tips emphasize the fundamentals of shooting the basketball. Becoming a great shooter means mastering the fundamentals.

Do not try to work on all of the shooting tips presented here simultaneously, you'll only frustrated yourself and prolong mastery of these skills. Be patient and master one skill ("tip") at a time.

You will know you're ready to move on to the next tip when you no longer have to think about the skill you've been working on, just like you don't have to think about walking anymore. Depending on your skill level, it could take you hours, days or even weeks of continuous practice before you internalize and master just one of the fundamentals below.

Shooting Tip #1 - Shoot The Ball At A Higher Arc 

Basketball Shoot Arc

A standard basketball hoop is 18 inches in diameter, and the ball is approximately 9.4 inches in diameter. When you shoot the ball at an arc that causes the ball to approach the hoop at 30 degrees, you only have 9 inches of space to get the ball through the hoop, but the ball is 9.4 inches! You're going to miss the shot!

When you shoot with an arc that approaches the rim at 50 degrees you have 16 inches of room to put the ball through the hoop. You have a much better chance of making the basket if the ball approaches at 50 degrees rather than 30 degrees.

The best arc though is one that approaches the basket at 70 degrees because you will now have 17.25 inches of hoop to work with. This is a high percentage shot.

Shoot the ball at a higher arc and you will instantly improve your shooting percentage.

Shooting Tip #2 - Elbow Towards The Middle Of Your Body

Your elbow needs to be under the ball and in-line with the center of your body, like this:

Elbow Shooting Tips
Source: Espn.go.com/page2/s/wiley/020319.html

Proper elbow positioning will ensure that you're shooting underneath and straight through the ball. This will prevent the ball from going off course, making your shot more consistent.

Sticking your elbow out to the side will likely cause your shot to go slightly of course, imagine trying to bowl a strike with your hands on the side of the bowling ball instead of directly underneath it. Shooting a basketball is the same way.

Shooting Tip #3 - Always Aim For The Back Of The Rim

The best pure shooters in basketball such as Dell Curry, and his son Stephen, aim for a spot just before the back of the rim, not the front or middle of the rim. This gives you more margin for error.

Let me ask you a question, "Which has a better chance of going in, a shot that hits the front of the rim, or a shot that hits the back of the rim?" The correct answer is a shot that hits the back of the rim, it could bounce into the basket (aka "shooter's bounce"). Also, aiming for the back will cause the ball to go in even if you shoot the ball short. Even if you overshoot the ball, it could hit the backboard and go in.

Shooting Tip #4 - Hold Your Follow Through

Holding your follow through will ensure that you have good arc and rotation on the ball. Your follow through should finish high (elbow above the eyes, arm straight, and wrist above your fingertips).

Source: Chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-01/07/content_406798.htm

Shooting Tip #5 - Keep Your Head Still 

The positioning of your head dictates the positioning of your body. Try this exercise real quick, tilt your head to your left side. What happens? Your whole upper body becomes off balance as it tilts to the left along with your head. The average adult human head weighs somewhere between 8 to 12 lbs! So keep yours still when your shooting. Being balanced is the key for being a great shooter. Focus on keeping your head directly above the mid-line of your body.

Shooting Tip #6 - Jump Straight Up 

Here's another important tip for establishing a nice balanced jump shot. Jump straight up in the air when you shoot, and land back down on the same spot. This will greatly enhance your balance, and the likelihood of making the shot. Even if you're running at full speed you have to be able to stop on a dime and jump straight up in the air without drifting forward, left or right. Another benefit of jumping straight up when your shooting is that it makes it harder for your defender to block your shot.

Shooting Tip #7 - Focus On The Target ASAP

As soon as you catch the ball the very next thing you should do is look up and focus intently on your target (the spot just before the back of the rim). This will give you a split second longer too judge the distance and get set for the shot, which can make all the difference in the world.

Shooting Tip #8 - Tune Out The Rest Of The World 

When you catch a pass or pick up your dribble to take a shot this is the time when you need to tune out from everything around you. Block out everything, the defender, the pressure, your shooting technique, the people watching, your fatigue, everything.

It's just you, the ball and the basket...

basketball hoop

Shooting Tip #9 - Simulate Game-Like Situations In Shooting Practice

Taking hundreds of jump shots a day is good for internalizing proper shooting mechanics;however, after you've mastered and internalize the mechanics you need to start mimicking game-like situations as much as possible in shooting practice. You will find specific game-like shooting drills in the basketball shooting drills section.

Shooting Tip #10 - Videotape Yourself

No matter what the sport, professional athletes watch lots of video footage of themselves so that they can identify and work on problem areas. It's recommended that you get someone to videotape you in practice and games.

You'll likely be surprised the first time you see yourself on tape. It's kind of like when you hear your voice on a voice recorder for the first time, you can't believe it's you because the voice sounds so different than what think you sound like. Well the same is often true the first time you watch yourself on tape. This is a great feedback mechanism that enables you to take a step back and get an objective view of your shooting technique.

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