How to Shoot Better: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Making Shots in Basketball

Shooting is becoming a prevalent strategy at the highest levels of basketball, and more kids are trying to learn how to shoot better as a result.

Fortunately, almost anyone can become a better shooter if they practice enough with proper form. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how you can improve your shot with these shooting fundamentals.

Shooting is Becoming More Important

As the game of basketball progresses, teams are putting more focus on shooting the basketball. Players are getting smaller and slimmer as the down-low, pound-the-rock style game is changing to focus on three-point shooters.

In today’s NBA, if you can’t shoot the ball than you aren’t very much of a scoring threat. Parameter play is more critical than ever as teams focus on getting the most points out of each possession.

This change at the pro level is trickling-down to youth sports as well. More kids want to learn how to become a better shooter and how to shoot better in basketball.

Practice Makes Perfect

The good news is that you can learn how to make shots in basketball. Not everyone has the physical gifts required to dunk.

A lot of other fundamentals also have a cap on how good you can become. You might not have the size or the hand-eye coordination to dribble a basketball as effectively as the greats either.

Shooting, on the other hand, does not have the same ceiling based on your physical attributes. You can learn how to shoot a basketball better, even if you’ll never come close to touching the rim.

The perfect example of the power of practice is one of (if not the) best shooters to ever play the game: Steph Curry.

Curry reportedly shoots 2,000 shots a week. He shoots at least 250 a day, with another 100 before every game.

That’s a lot of shooting – but it’s required if you want to get good. You can learn how to make a shot in basketball, unlike some of the other skills. You can even become one of the best shooters in your league if you try hard enough.

Step-By-Step Guide

In this section, we’ll give you a step-by-step breakdown on the steps you can take and fundamentals you can learn to improve your basketball shot and make more baskets.

Stance: Be Ready to Shoot

The best shooters are always ready to shoot – even before they get the ball. Position yourself in a way that gets your body prepared to take the shot as soon as you catch the pass.

Being ready to shoot the ball will limit the amount of time a defender has to track you down to get a hand in your face or block the shot. The quicker you’re able to start and finish your shooting motion, the more daylight you’ll have.

Stand with your feet slightly between your shoulders and your knees bent. Put your dominant foot a bit to the front, and distribute your weight equally between both feet.

You should also keep your feet shifted a bit to give yourself less distance between you and the basket. Turn a few degrees so your dominant hand will be a tad closer to the hoop.

Hand Placement

Now that you know how you should be standing in preparation to receive the ball, it’s time to think about where you should put your hands. The catch-and-shoot tactic is extremely useful, and the quicker you can get your hands into the right spot, the faster you’ll be able to release the basketball

Put your shooting hand on the back of the ball, with your guide hand on the side. The two hand should be about an inch or two apart, with the fingers of your shooting hand spread throughout the back of the ball.

Start You Motion from the Bottom

The shooting motion originates from your lower body, then flows through your upper body until you finally release the ball. It’s essential that you keep your stance comfortable and balanced when you receive and shoot the basketball.

As we stated above, keep your knees bent and be ready to spring into your shot. The quicker you can comfortably get into your shooting form, the more baskets you’ll make. After some practice, this stance and shooting motion will become second nature.

Find Your Pocket

We can’t give you a universal placement for your shot pocket – every shooter is different. A good tip we can give is to take a couple of shots while being conscious of where you naturally bring the basketball before starting your motion.

Most shooters prefer the mid-torso area as a shot pocket, but yours might be higher or lower. Take note of where you’re most comfortable, then try to replicate the shot pocket when taking some followup shots.

The Shot

Make sure you never shoot with a straight wrist. Shooting this way is pushing the ball forward, and won’t result in a clean or consistent shooting motion. Bend the wrist as far back as you can while remaining comfortable.

Keep your elbow under the basketball at about a 90-degree angle as well. Placing your elbow on either side of the ball will force it in the opposite direction, causing you to miss.

Keep your guide hand (non-shooting hand) gently on the side of the ball. Do not use this hand to exert force. As the name suggests, this hand is for guidance only.

Finally, release the ball at the top of your shot by extending your elbow and letting your shooting-hand fingers point to the ground.

Eyes on the Prize

You probably know the phrase “keep your eyes on the ball” if you’ve ever played baseball. The same logic applies to shooting a basketball – only the target is the basket.

There is a bit more variance with shooting, though. Some shooters prefer the front of the rim, some look at the back of the rim, and others choose the bottom of the net.

Decide what strategy works best for you, and repeat until you perfect your form.

How to Shoot Better

Follow these tips, and you should be well on your way to becoming a great shooter. Remember: practice is your best friend here. The more you shoot, the more comfortable you’ll become. The more comfortable you are, the most shots you’ll hit.

Want to learn some more basic basketball fundamentals and advanced coaching tips? Take a look at our blog!