How to Shoot a Basketball
What is the secret to landing the shot every time you shoot a basketball? That’s the question that every player wants to know and truthfully, no one has figured it out. There is no perfect technique and no magic trick to insure that you will land 100% of the shots you take. However, you can work on some basic form and mechanics to insure that you have the best chances of making a goal. Let’s take a look at some of the most important techniques you can practice while shooting a basketball.
Keep Your Eye on the Rim
This is the basic rule for shooting a basketball. Don’t follow the flight of the ball with your eyes. Focus completely on the rim and make it your primary focus while making your shot. Aim for the red square on the backboard to help you line up the shot and then let it fly!
Develop Proper Stance and Balance
Before you take your shot, you need to get in the right stance. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and slightly staggered. The “shooting foot” will be slightly in front of the other foot. Make sure you are properly balanced and comfortable.
There are two basic stances that professional players use, the open and square. The open stance is usually most effective. You point your feet towards one side of the basket. A right handed shooter would point his feet just to the left of the rim. Once you try it a few times, you will discover that this stance feels really comfortable and natural. However, you can also use a squared stance where both feet face directly towards the rim if that feels better. Whichever way you prefer to stand, you need to be consistent and make sure you always keep your knees slightly bent.
Master the Shot Pocket
You’ve probably heard the term “shot pocket” but a lot of people have no idea what it really means. This is basically the position a player gets into right before a jump shot. The ball is in the pocket when the shooter’s arm is in a vertical position out to the front with the ball resting in hand. Everything should line up so that the ball and your shooting eye are forming a straight line to the rim. It’s essentially your shooting position. Anytime you catch the ball, you want to quickly convert it to the shot pocket so that you’re in position to take a shot.
Perfect Your Grip
Grip is one of the most important variables that can influence your success on the basketball court. To hold the ball properly, you should position the air hole between your middle and index fingers. Your fingertips should be parallel to the seams in the ball. There should be a little bit of space between the ball and the palm of your hand. Try to cup the hand with your fingertips having total control rather than relying on your palm to power the shot.
Take the Shot
Once you’ve got your grip right, your stance is comfortable, and the basketball is in the shot pocket, it’s time to take your shot. As you shoot, the ball should move directly upwards towards the goal. Extend your elbow and wrist until your arm is in a straight line pointing towards the rim. As the ball leaves your hand, it should have a nice symmetrical backspin. Finally, you will follow through with the shot. Your wrists should be relaxed and your fingers should be pointed at the target. After the basketball leaves your hands, you should see your fingers pointing straight towards the basket.
Try working on each of these techniques individually and then gradually tie them all together. Eventually, you will be landing shot after shot.