How to Shoot a Basketball
Set Shot: Part 1

how to shoot a basketball

Learn how to shoot a basketball like the pros!

See what good basketball shooting form looks like with the help of detailed coaching tips, and improve your mechanics with a variety of shooting drills and games.

The key to great shooting is in the little things.

You've got to be able to:

  • shoot the ball straight,
  • with good trajectory,
  • and with the right amount of force.

Fine-tuned mechanics will take care of all of those things.

Since the set shot is the most basic shot in basketball, it's a good place to start.

Coaches, before you get started, here are 5 helpful tips for teaching beginners the proper basketball shooting form.


basketball shooting form


Square up


Hand position
Shooting pocket


Shot release
Ball rotation
Follow through
Full body extension

How to Shoot a Basketball #1

Have you ever seen a car with wheels that are out of alignment?

When you let go of the steering wheel, the car automatically veers off the road.

That's exactly what happens to a shooter who tries to shoot the ball without getting everything lined up first - the ball can't help but go off course.

If you only remember one coaching point, remember this:

Alignment is the key to shooting the ball straight

How to Shoot a Basketball #2
Square up

basketball shooting drills

Your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders should be squared up to the basket.

Even though your feet will be slightly staggered, everything faces straight ahead toward the target.

If your feet point off to the side, you will have to twist at the hips to shoot the ball toward the basket, which throws off your aim.

You want to keep everything in alignment pointing in the same direction.

How to Shoot a Basketball #3

Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart to give yourself good balance. A solid base allows you to go up strong and push upward with your legs.

If you get off balance, your push off is likely to be off to the side. It doesn't take much of a lean to throw off your shot.

How to Shoot a Basketball #4

The index and middle finger of your shooting hand are the last things that touch the ball. As a result, the ball will go where they direct it.

basketball shooting aid

I emphasize that these fingers (which form a "V") need to point toward the target at the end of the shot.

Without using a ball, I exaggerate this point with my young shooters by having them pretend to shoot a ball toward the goal and freeze their follow through.

Have them check to see where the "V" is pointing because that's where the ball will go. If their "V" is off to the right or left, they're pushing to the side instead of straight up.

Learn how to shoot a basketball with fun shooting drills

A great way to practice your basketball shooting form is with the help of repetitive drills that help train your muscles to perform good technique.

After you work on your form for a while, put it into action with a fun basketball shooting game.

And the set shot is just the beginning of the basketball shots you need to learn!

Learn how to shoot a:

Jump Shot
Free Throw

You know, a free throw is nothing more than a set shot with a little bit of pressure added. Learn some techniques to becoming an 80% free throw shooter.

>> >> Shooting Form: The Set Shot