Learning the proper techniques of how to shoot a basketball can mean the difference of a kid giving up on the sport and becoming an NBA All-star. Other factors like dribbling, playing defense and rebounding are also very important, but learning to shoot properly keeps a kid interested in the game. They say that defense wins championships, but the best defense is a good offense.
Anyone can learn how to shoot a basketball with proper form. Even if one has been playing for awhile, improving your shot can help your game more than any other thing. Even though there are some good shooters in history that have strayed from the basic fundamental shooting style, the majority of good shooters have the same basic mechanics in common.
The first thing to consider when learning to shoot a basketball should be strength of the shooter. If it is a child being taught how to shoot, a full sized basketball and goal are probably not going to be most productive. It will be hard for the child to handle the basketball and he or she may learn bad habits like using both hands to push the basketball toward the goal instead of using one hand to push (or shoot) and the other hand for lateral support. Bad habits are hard to break.
It may be wise to start with a basketball that fits their hand better. With a lighter and smaller basketball it will be easier to teach them proper form and the proper motion of shooting. It is also a tremendous boost to a kid’s confidence when the hoop is down to their size and they can make a lot of shots. He will want to play basketball the rest of his life if he’s having fun.
Another thing to consider is the physical agility of the shooter. There needs to be a certain level of strength and mobility for a person to have proper mechanics of a good shooter. One doesn’t need to look like a professional basketball player, but good physical health is very important before you start any rigorous training or drills.
With these things in mind lets look at the basics of how to shoot a basketball.
First, we ‘square up’ to the rim. Squaring up is forming an imaginary line across your toes that is perpendicular to the rim. Picture standing at the free throw line with your toes up to it. Your knees, hips, shoulders and head should be squared up to the basket.
Next, the shooting elbow (if you are right-handed, then it would be your right elbow) should be tucked against your right hip area with your arm forming a 90 degree angle. Picture making an L with your arm. The shooting hand needs to be behind the ball and pointed up. Knees bent slightly. The weight of the shooter should be on the balls of the feet and the back arched a little.
In one fluid motion bring the shooting arm off of hip keeping the L shape in the arm. The forearm needs to stay straight up and down; tucking the elbow in helps with this. With the off-hand guiding left to right, continue to raise the shooting arm until about the top of the head. Once the ball is at the top of the head, start straightening the arm and extending the shoulder toward the basket.
Continue the follow through and let the basketball roll off the end of the fingertips creating a backspin on the ball. This will give that shooters touch that is so desired. Depending on the distance of the shot, the power needed comes from the legs of the shooter. As the shooting arm is being raised the legs need to be straightened with power adjusted for distance.
The final picture of the shooter should be one of a fully erect posture, shooting arm and hand fully extended with a bent wrist and fingers pointing down. The non shooting arm should still be bent as it was removed just above head level. Picture holding a basketball between your non shooting hand and your shooting forearm. And that is how to shoot a basketball.
Now all that’s left is practice, practice, practice.