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Basketball

How To Shoot a Basketball: Your Complete Guide To Become a Pro

© Miko Lim
Have a long unused hoop up in your backyard? Perhaps it's time to reawaken those skills... Learn the basic fundamentals on how to shoot a basketball with this easy how-to guide.
Written by Kim OswellPublished on
Learn the basic fundamentals on how to shoot a basketball with this easy how-to guide.
Whether you want to learn how to play basketball for fun or want to become the next Steph Curry, you need to have proper shooting technique. Arguably the most important skill in this worldwide sport, being able to shoot provides you with several benefits on the basketball court. To strengthen your knowledge of this skill, consider what shooting entails, the simple shooting method, how to shoot, the importance of being a great shooter, and various shooting drills to help you perfect your form.
To play basketball, it's important to know the basic rules of the game, the layout of the court, player positions, and various skills that can help you improve your game. Shooting, in particular, is widely considered one of the most essential skills of the game. This is because it can set a strong foundation for your knowledge of the sport. For example, knowing how to shoot properly can increase your knowledge of the game regarding strategic gameplay and other fundamental skills such as dribbling and passing. Ultimately, correctly shooting a basketball can establish you as a well-rounded athlete in this sport.
Get your game on
Get your game on

How To Shoot a Basketball

1. Get into a proper stance

Placing your feet in the right position can help you maintain balance and ensure you're able to handle the ball with ease. To shoot the basketball into the basket, keep your legs apart and extended. Your feet need to be in a comfortable position and approximately shoulder-width apart. This can help you support your weight rather than falling over when you shoot the basketball.
Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis
If you plan on moving forward, bend your knees and move your dominant foot a little ahead of the other. For example, if you're right-handed, your right foot needs to be slightly in front of your left foot. Get balanced before the ball is in your hands so you can take a shot as quickly as possible without having to regain balance before shooting.
In addition, slightly flex your knees to make it easier for you to jump when you shoot the ball. Though this step takes practice, once you've mastered it, it can help you take a stance and make the shot more quickly.

2. Grab hold of the ball

Along with knowing how to stand, you need to maintain control of the ball. Grab hold of the ball using your fingertips of your shooting hand. Ensure that the ball and your eyes form a straight line leading to the hoop.
Keep your elbows aligned and make sure your hands are stable enough to ensure the ball heads in the right direction. Keep your lower arm vertical and at a 90-degree angle. Your elbows need to be in line with your shoulder as you raise them slightly to aim for the shot.
Once you have the ball, make sure you have it under your control using at least your fingers and your thumb. This helps the ball leave your hand with ease.

3. Focus on your target

Keep your eyes on the target by narrowing your focus on where you want the ball to go. For example, consider directing your attention to the backboard or the back rim of the net a little before shooting. This can help you avoid outside distractions that may hinder your ability to make the shot.

4. Take the shot

With the previous steps in mind, your hands need to be on the ball as your wrists flick forward to drive it toward the net. Be sure to arch your arms to propel the ball upward and into the net. Your arm needs to extend completely and your elbow needs to lock.
The more practice you receive with these steps, the easier it can be to execute them in the future without thinking ahead of time.
Take the shot
Anthony Davis

Understand the Simple Shooting Method: BEEF

Whether you're playing one-on-one basketball or as part of a team, one simple shooting method to consider learning is the BEEF principle. This concept improves your form, balance, control, and overall shooting ability on the court. To refine your free throw and jump shooting, consider the following elements of the BEEF principle:
  • Balance: Maintain a solid, balanced base that will help set the foundation for a perfect jump shot. Weight should be equally distributed between both legs with a slight bend in your knees.
  • Eyes on the target: Most pros say that the ball will go wherever your eyes are looking, so make sure you're looking at the basket. Where you focus exactly is up to you, but focusing on the front of the rim or the back is a good place to start.
  • Elbows aligned: Your elbow should be at a 90-degree angle with your torso as you prepare to shoot. The elbow should be underneath the basketball and your shooting hand fingertips should be on the ball with your off hand making light contact on the side of the basketball.
  • Follow-through: The crucial last step of the BEEF Method is the flicking of the wrist to follow through on the shot. Upon release, the ball should roll off the tips of your pointer and middle finger. If you've done it correctly your wrist will be flexed with your fingers pointed down at the ground.
Shooting is hands down one of the most crucial parts of the game, and even a slight improvement in shooting percentage can make a huge difference in winning percentage. Practice, practice, practice in the form of strategic shooting drills is the way to increase skills and get better. Here are individual shooting drills to add into your basketball training routine.

Shooting Drills to Help Your Form

To perfect your form, it's important to practice specific shooting drills. These drills will develop your technique, improve your consistency, and increase your confidence on the court. Here are some shooting drills that can help you perfect your form and make you a better shooter:
  • 1-2 step shoot: This drill involves stepping into your shot with one foot at a time and can help you develop your offensive skills. To perform this drill, begin by taking your stance. As you receive the pass, step with one foot in the pass's direction. If you're right-handed, step with your left foot, and vice versa. Then, step with your other foot to complete the 1-2 step shoot.
  • Set to go: This drill involves you standing a few feet away from the basket. Once you're in a set position, keep your arm angle at 90 degrees with the ball positioned under your shoulder. Then, extend your legs and shoot at the same time.
  • Off-dribble shooting: To perform this drill, take two 45-degree angle dribbles to your right and shoot the ball. Then, do the same to your left. The goal is to perform this drill at high speed and to maintain proper footwork and dribbling throughout.
  • One Hand Form Shooting: Stand 2 to 4 feet in front of the rim and establish your base and position your feet properly to line up to shoot. Bring your arm up into an L position, your upper arm parallel to the ground and your forearm pointing to the ceiling. Your upper arm and forearm are at about a 75 to 90 degree angle. Shoot 5 to 10 reps then move to a new spot
  • Add Off Hand: Stand 2 to 4 feet in front of the rim. Establish your base and position your feet properly to line up to shoot. Bring your arm up into an L position, your upper arm parallel to the ground and your forearm pointing to the ceiling. Your upper arm and forearm are at about a 75 to 90 degree angle. Place your off hand on the ball. Shoot 5 to 10 reps then move to a new spot. Tip: Make sure your four fingers are pointing up to the ceiling when you put your hand on the ball.
  • Block Shooting: Block Shooting drills help you practice the same skill over and over and are excellent for developing shooting technique, developing rhythm and building confidence. They can also serve as warm up drills.

Importance of Becoming a Great Shooter

Knowing how to shoot a basketball has several benefits that can help you stand out on the court. Although you don't need to be an expert shooter, this highly coveted athletic skill can help you advance your overall technique. Here are some of the benefits and overall importance of becoming a great basketball shooter:
Helps your team score points: Being able to shoot a basketball increases your team's chances of winning a game. This is because making baskets is the way you score points in a game of basketball. Therefore, the better shooter you are, the greater your chances are of gaining points and helping your team win the game.
Increased shooting percentage: When your team has a higher shooting percentage, it can help you devise a strategy to win games more frequently. For example, if you need a certain number of points to win, being a great shooter can help your team understand the types of shots — and the number of shots — it needs to win. A team with a higher shooting percentage requires fewer shot attempts to win the game because they're more apt to make every shot. A lower shooting percentage may cause your team to rely on rebounds or forced turnovers.
More playtime: Coaches value basketball players with strong shooting skills. Often, this skill is hard to come by, so honing your shooting skills can give you more time on the court during a game
3X Chicago
3X Chicago
Knowing how to shoot a basketball is fundamental to the game. The more you understand proper form technique and follow it up with practice, the better athlete you'll be.