Shooting a Basketball
Picture Perfect Form

A checklist you can use when your players are shooting a basketball to help you analyze their shots and provide the feedback they need to learn how to shoot a basketball better.

Good basketball shooting form doesn’t develop overnight. It takes proper technique, lots of practice, and coaching feedback.

Basketball Shooting Aids


Feedback is critical to improving your shot.

Feedback lets you know what you're doing right, so you can repeat it.

And it lets you know exactly what you're doing wrong, so you can correct it.

An excellent method for teaching players how to shoot a basketball better is by taking videos of them while they're shooting.

If you can video the shooter from different angles, like from the front, back, and both sides, you'll get a complete picture of what their basketball shooting form looks like from start to finish.

Video gives you the chance to analyze the technique, replay the shots, play them in slow motion, and look carefully for the mistakes that might have been hard to notice in real time.

As a shooter, being able to see your own mistakes is priceless!

I remember as a player my coach would critique my shot and give me tips to correct it, but sometimes it never clicked until I could actually see myself shooting a basketball with my own eyes!

Nowadays with small video cameras and cell phones, capturing players on film has never been easier.

As you watch the shooter from each angle, use this checklist of basketball shooting tips to help you troubleshoot the technique.



Basketball Tips to Help You Analyze Your Shot


Shooting a Basketball
BACK VIEW

  • Feet are shoulder-width apart with weight balanced evenly on each foot.

  • Head is straight and not leaning to one side.

  • Index finger of the shooting hand is lined up in the center of the ball.

    shooting a basketball

  • Fingers of shooting hand are spread evenly and comfortably apart.

  • Index finger and middle finger of the shooting hand form the letter "V."

  • Non-shooting hand is positioned on the side of the ball with fingers evenly spread.

  • Shoulders are square to the basket.

  • Shooting elbow is up, in, and under the ball.

  • Elbow, wrist, and hand are lined up throughout shot.

  • Ball has backspin while it’s in the air.

  • Shooting hand and wrist stay on a straight line to the basket during the follow through.

  • Shooting arm is fully extended and wrist has snapped so fingers are pointing at the floor at the end of the follow through.

  • Shooting arm is in line with the basket; not pointing off to the right or left.


Shooting a Basketball
SIDE VIEW: Shooting Hand Side

  • Foot on side of shooting hand is slightly ahead of the other foot.

  • Knees are slightly flexed.

  • Head is straight, lined up directly over the rest of the body and looking toward the basket.

    shooting a basketball

  • Wrist is cocked while the ball is in the shooting pocket, with the fingers of the shooting hand pointed upward.

  • Ball is taken straight up from the shooting pocket to the cocked position just above the eyes.

  • Head is straight and does not move backward when the ball is brought up to the shot release position.

  • When the ball is in the cocked position, the back of the shooting hand should be about parallel to the floor, and the elbow should be ahead of the ball.

  • Shoulders, hips, and feet are all aligned on top of each other.

  • Wrist snaps and the ball is thrust off the fingers.

  • Ball is released near the top of the jump at about the 1:00 position. (Straight up is 12:00)

  • Shooting elbow is extended and the wrist is flexed so the fingers point toward the floor.

  • Follow through is held until the ball reaches the basket.

Shooting a Basketball
SIDE VIEW: Non-Shooting Hand Side

shooting a basketball

  • Non-shooting hand (the balance hand) holds the ball on the side or slightly under the ball.

  • Ball slides up past the fingers of the balance hand on the shot, and the balance hand doesn’t really move.

  • Fingers of the balance hand point upward throughout the entire shot.

  • Ball is released near the top of the jump.

Shooting a Basketball
FRONT VIEW

  • Feet are shoulder-width apart and toes are pointing straight toward the basket.

    shooting a basketball

  • Ball is brought in a straight line from the shooting pocket to the cocked position above the forehead.

  • Body is squared up to the basket; the shoulders, hips, knees, and feet are all facing the basket.

  • Shooting elbow is kept in during the shot.

  • Eyes are on the target the entire time. Make sure the ball or the elbow of the non-shooting hand doesn’t ever block the shooter’s vision.

  • On the follow through, the fingers of the shooting hand point downward while the fingers of the balance hand point upward.

  • Follow through is held for at least a second.

  • Non-shooting hand does not rotate or push the ball on release.


It will take some practice to be able to spot the mistakes your youth basketball player is making while shooting a basketball, but if you stick with it, you'll be able to give her the feedback she needs to become a great shooter!

Learn how to shoot a basketball:

Set shot
Jump shot
Lay-up
Free throw


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