Step 1: Prepare for shooting
Being a great shooter starts before you get the basketball. This step is often overlooked by most players and coaches, but it can be the difference between having enough time to make a good shot of having a defender close the shot.
Below are the three rules to make sure you’re ready to shoot when you catch the basketball.
- Start with your knees and hips slightly bent. If you catch the basketball with your legs straight, it will take longer to bend your legs before getting up for your shot.
- Show Target Hands – By showing your hands to catch the basketball, it shows precisely where you will receive the ball to shoot.
- Be mentally prepared to shoot. As long as you are comfortable in the shooting range position, you should be mentally ready to shoot as soon as you catch the ball.
Step 2: Placing your hand on the basketball
After catching the basketball, players must be able to quickly adjust their hands to the correct positions on the basketball.
The shooting hand must be below or behind the basketball, and the balance hand must be on the side of the basketball.
The thumb of the shooting hand and the base of the thumb of the same hand should form a ‘T’.
All the fingertips of both hands should touch the basketball.
Another important but overlooked detail is that the fingers should comfortably extend the full width of the basketball.
These adjustments must occur immediately after receiving the basketball.
Step 3: Balanced Base
“The key to being a good shooter is balance. Everything follows balance”- Larry Bird
Most players and coaches believe that the success of taking a good shot at the basket is mainly due to upper body movements, this is far from the truth. Good shots always start with the base.
If a player cannot correct the base for a good balance, then it is very difficult to become a consistent shooter. A balanced foundation involves three important factors.
- Feet slightly narrower than shoulder width. If your feet are too narrow, it is very difficult to maintain balance when shooting. If your feet are too wide, you won’t get enough lift on your shot.
- Dominant foot slightly forward, When combined with the next step, this will improve balance at the time of your shot and release hardening at the shoulder. For right-handed shooters, this means sliding your right foot slightly forward. The opposite for left-handed shooters.
- Weight equally distributed on each foot. For obvious reasons, a player should not lean to either side when taking a shot, his weight should be equally distributed on both feet.
Step 4: Direction of the feet (The turn)
When shooting the basketball, a player’s feet should turn slightly, that is, they should have the same direction at the time of the shooting. For right-handed shooters, their feet should turn slightly to the left, for left-handed shooters, their feet should turn slightly to the right.
To understand why this is important, stand on the free-throw line with all 10 toes pointing towards the edge of the basket. If you try to keep your elbow aligned with the ring while shooting with this base, you will notice that chest strain is required.
To relieve the body of this tension, players should move their feet slightly to allow their elbow and shoulder to line up with the edge more comfortably.
Step 5: Consistent pocket or start shot
The “pocket shot” is the area in which a player feels most comfortable starting the shot from the start of his shot. Usually, it will be around a player’s lower chest or stomach area, or it will be in the middle of their body or slightly on the side of the shooting hand. All players should find what is comfortable for them.
Every time a player catches the basketball to shoot, they must bring the basketball to the most comfortable start to shooting before shooting up.
Maintaining a consistent shooting pocket ensures that players are shooting the ball, in the same way, each time they shoot.
Step 6: Eyes on the target
A while back, I asked 15 shooting coaches what part of the hoop encouraged players to focus when shooting, the responses were surprising.
Many of the shooting trainers were teaching their players to target different targets in the rim. However, all of them were able to develop excellent shots.
This indicates that there is no lens to focus on when shooting.
Players have a number of options below: The centre of the front of the edge, The centre of the back of the edge, The first loop in the net, The entire hoop, etc.
Once you find a target, you are comfortable with when shooting, be consistent.
If you continuously change the target you are targeting, it is almost impossible for you to become a good shooter, you have to choose one and then allow your shot to develop using that target.
Step 7: bend the wrist.
Shooting with a straight wrist is another of the most common problems for youth players. Players who do this will often push the basketball into the hoop without a parabola, rather than shooting the basketball up in a parabola.
The goal of this step is to bend the wrist of your shooting hand as much as possible (usually a little before 90 degrees). This will give more power to the shot and will also create and develop a good parabola needed to be a good shooter.
When properly bent, there will be small wrinkles on the skin on the back of the shooting wrist, this provides a convenient visual cue for players to know if they are bending their wrist correctly before shooting.
Step 8: Elbow under the ball
When you are getting up to shoot, the elbow of your shooting arm should be directly under the basketball. This requires players to have their upper and lower arms forming an ‘L’ and also have their wrist bent back 90 degrees.
Doing this will ensure that the basketball shoots straight into the basket and also has a good effect or parabola.
Step 9: balancing hand
The balancing hand is what we call the non-shooting hand. As the name implies, its only function during the shooting motion is to help balance the basketball in the pitching hand to the pitching point. For right-handed shooters, this is the left hand. For left-handed shooters, this is the right hand.
As the elbow begins to extend in the shooting motion, the balancing hand is released flat from the side of the basketball.
If the balance hand is not flat when releasing the ball, it means that the player has pushed the basketball with the balanced hand, and the throw will generally go left or right.
Step 10: rhythm trigger
The final step is where everything comes together, shooting with rhythm involves many parts that occur simultaneously:
- The basketball is lifted from the most comfortable place the player has between the stomach and chest.
- The knees and hips are straightened when the player is lifted into the air to gain strength for the ball.
- The elbow of the shooting arm is stretched in midair once the basketball has been lifted beyond shoulder height.
- Near the peak of the shot, the wrist is bent so that the fingers point towards the ground. This will ensure that the ball is in the correct direction.
- Also, at the time of throwing, the balance hand will release the basketball perfectly flat and will not interfere in the throwing of the ball.
- The last two fingers to touch the basketball should be the index and middle fingers at the same time.
- When you return to the ground, the rhythm of your jump shot will have guided your body slightly forward from where it took off.