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Basketball Shooting Tips

Read these 19 Basketball Shooting Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Basketball tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do we score when we are having an off shooting night?


Many players ask what they should do when they are having an off-shooting night (or week, or season), First thing, practice and practice some more. If you put in the work and you know you can make these shots, then just keep shooting. Great shooters have a short memory, no matter how many they have missed, they KNOW the next one is going in. Be confident and take heart - this is the golden rule, and it will work.

Where should the power for your shot come from?

Use Your Biggest Muscles

Your legs are the biggest muscles in your body. They are the engine that power the entire shot. As you jump, you want to ride the power of your liftoff from the floor through your entire shooting motion, releasing the ball at the peak of your jump. This will give distance and stability to your shot. The more you rely on your legs to power the shot, the easier it will be for the rest of your shooting to be effortless and repeatable.

I've been working with a coach latety and he says I can shoot very well and defend very well, but he said I don't have a soft touch and I think too much when I'm in the game. Can you tell me what he means and how I can work on this?

The Midas Touch

Having a soft touch is very desirable, and really just means that rather than clanging off the rim, your ball dribbles softly around the edge - due to your soft touch. To develop a soft touch, you want to have more rotation on the ball when you shoot and a higher arch to your ball. An undesirable trait is thinking too much, and it is due to being tentative. To overcome this tentativeness you want to make sure that when you don't have the ball you think about what you will do with it when you get it (for example - "If I'm open for the shot I will shoot it." etc). This prevents you from freezing up and "thinking too much" once you have the ball.

How can I determine my shooting range?

Shooting Range

One of the determining factors in whether a shot is a good one or not is if it is taken within your shooting range. Your shooting range is the big circle around the rim that you can comfortable shoot from. You don't have to change your form, or techniqe from your shooting range. One problem younger kids have is they try to shoot outside of their "range" and develop bad shooting habits because they are not naturally strong enough to shoot from this far. Find out your shooting range by shooting, taking a step back, shooting, taking a step back. When you begin to lose your form because you are so far out, that is your range. Don't shoot outside of it.

How do you get better ball flight control when you shoot.

Proper Ball Flight Control

You want to keep your eye on the target(the rim) throughout the shot. You want to hold the release an extra half second to a second to increase to provide prober rotation of your shot. An automatic and predictable release and follow through makes all shots easier and gives you more control of your shot. As you land, you want to come down exactly where you started your jump or sightly in front of where you started.


Basketball shooting drill

Your coach will most likely give you a basketball shooting drill to practice with until you are able to perfect your basketball shooting skills and abilities. As your shooting skills improve you will begin to learn how to successfully follow through with basketball layups and other more difficult maneuvers. Your coach will begin you with easy basketball plays in the beginning, then move you to more difficult plays as you show the skills and abilities needed for each level of play. A good portion of basketball and improving individual basketball skills is mental. If you are mentally prepared you will most likely be able to take what you learned in practice and apply it successfully during a game. You, your coach and your team members know you have the skills and abilities, now you need to show you have the strength to apply. Now that you are participating in the “game” with crowds of people cheering you on, you want to make certain you have the mental clarity and control to follow through with the moves you have improved during practice. You must KNOW every move, be prepared for anything the opposing team may have prepared to slip you up, and be ready to follow through with both offensive and defensive actions as they may apply during the game. You must realize at all times during the game that you are skilled, talented and you have moves and abilities that they are not aware of because you have been practicing and perfecting all your skills. There is nothing that they can say or do to slip you up, because mentally you are prepared, concentrating on the job and hand, and they don’t have the control you do.


Shoot When Tired

When you get tired while doing drills, stop and shoot some free throws. In addition to getting practice shooting free throws, you will be simulating game-like conditions in that you will have to shoot free throws when tired.

How do you shoot a jumpshot?

Learn the Jumpshot

Make sure you have the proper, comfortable stance and balance. See the rim. Extend your wrist backwards. The basketball should rest on your fingerpads. Try to keep your elbow in and under the ball. Use your legs to get lift... the longer the shot, the more you use your legs. As you reach the peak of your jump, the ball should be coming out. Raise the ball smoothly and in one, fluid motion. Finish high with your arm to get good "arc" on the shot. Snap your wrist and hold that follow through to get the backspin you need for a "shooter´s touch".

How can I follow through better on my shots?

Hold your follow through

In order to get proper rotation on a shot, the shooter´s follow-through must be correct. After snapping the wrist, the fingers of your shooting hand should be pointed toward the rim.

How can I learn to shoot better?

Shooting Pocket

To solve the problem of arm position on your shot, learn where your shooting pocket is. Let your shooting arm hang down at your side and swing it back and forth and several times. Swing it up toward your shoulder and hold it when it stops. This position is your shooting pocket and is the position that the ball should be in when you begin your jump shot.

How can I improve my shooting?

Balance in Shooting

Your body must be balanced and relaxed when shooting the basketball. Here are some guidelines to good balance. First, your feet should be about shoulder width apart in order to give you a strong base. Secondly, your strong foot (the foot on the same side of your body as your shooting hand) should be about a half step ahead of the other. Finally, your head should be centered. This will keep you balanced throughout the shot and allow you to shoot without having to make adjustments. All people are built differently, so if any of these are a little off, yet you are still comfortable - that is what is important.

What should I look at when shooting?

Focus Point

Most experts would agree that concentration is the key to becoming a great shooter. But what do you concentrate on? Where do you focus?

It's not the ball as many beginning players have a habit of doing. You should NEVER watch the ball after it leaves your hand. You should instead find a FOCUS POINT on the rim. The most popular focus point being the front of the rim. Think about it. Wherever you are on the court, the front of the rim is always there for you. When you have committed to taking a jump shot, the only thing that you should be focusing on is your focus point. Not the ball, not the defender, just your focus point. This will lead to better concentration and a rise in your shooting percentage.

how do I become a better shooter?

Good Shooters

A shooter is as good as the shots he takes. Take shots that you practice and you make alot of. If you take those shots, chances are you will be a good shooter. If you take bad shots, you are probably not going to make many in a game.

What drills can I do to better my shooting form?

Shooting Progression

Because form is so important in shooting, work on making that form a habit is very important. An easy way to do this is to lay on your back and shoot the ball straight up into the air. It is very easy to check on the position of the ball, follow through, and rotation. The ball should go straight up and come straight down with proper back spin. This can be done before going to sleep at night or while watching TV during commercials.

How do I get a "shooter´s touch"?

Put Some Arc On Your Shot

Get the ball up in he air with a nice high arc. The arc will give you a bigger margin of error because it basically increases the size of the rim. Look at the rim coming straight down, and then like at it from head on like a line drive shot coming straight at the rim. The rim shrinks when you shoot a line drive. Just ask Shaq, who throws darts at the free throw line and is notorious for his bad free throw shooting.

How do I grip the ball when shooting?

Hand Position on the Ball

One of the problems with young players being told to shoot with their fingertips is that they hold the ball on their fingertips. In order to control the ball, it has to rest on the pads of the shooting hand. Then, when shooting, the ball should come off the fingertips as it leaves the shooter´s hand.


Landing The Perfect Lay-Up

Basketball layups are generally known as the easiest of all shooting techniques in basketball, and is normally the first technique that players are required to learn. Though it is the easiest, this does not mean that it is easy. There are many important things you should know if you are attempting to perfect this shot. Here are some easy to follow layup tips for any beginner.

When you are approaching the hoop, you must go to the right side or left side to perform a layup. If you head to the right, then you need to push off of the ground with your left foot. The opposite is true if you head to the left of the hoop. This helps to give you proper momentum and height when trying to execute this shot.

The backboard of basketball hoops has a large square printed onto it. The perfect spot to try to hit with the ball for this shot is the corner of the square, either the right or left side depending on where you are approaching the hoop from. Never watch where the ball is going, only keep an eye on where you want it to go. This will improve your chances of shooting accurately.

If you remember these tips the next time you are working on your shot, you should have no problem perfecting it in time. Practice always makes perfect, and if at first you don't succeed, you should try again.

How do I do a lay-up?

Layup follow thru

When first learning to shoot, the FOLLOW THRU should be the same as a regular shot. Your palm is facing the basket, with the ball coming off of the 1st two fingers. Flop over the wrist to get backspin on the ball for a nice soft shot. Later, when a player can jump higher, the palm can face skyward and lay the ball up softly off of the backboard with very little spin. Try not to spin the ball and be too "fancy". This should be a sure TWO POINTS-make sure that you make it.


Basketball Shooting Fundamentals

When it comes to getting that ball into the net, there are some basics to always keep in mind. With some basic basketball shooting fundamentals practiced, you won't be left trying to shoot and missing, rebounding of the backboard, or glancing off the basket.

1) Aim

In just about all sports, you'll need to learn how to aim your projectile at some form of target. In this case, you are aiming to get the ball into the basket (hoop). The most basic and well tried out method of doing this, is to aim for the small square on the backboard. Whether you are right in front of the hoop or you're shooting a three pointer, this fundamental always applies and can make or break your chances of scoring. When you shoot for the square, the ball should bounce down into the basket. So try not to "aim for the net", aim for the square instead.

2) Two Hands

One handed scores are flashy and great in a crunch, but they won't get you consistent points. The best way to keep your point rates going up, is to practice shooting the ball with two hands. More specifically, your hands should be on the ball with your thumbs near touching and the rest of your fingers spread out on the ball. Hold the ball over your head, just enough so that you can see what your aiming at, beneath the ball. When you shoot, you can either just try and wing the ball at the square or you can give the ball a backspin by rolling your hands down and away from the ball as you shoot it. A backspin will often give the ball just what it needs to land right and give you 'nothin but net'.

4) Distance

As a strong player, you will want to make sure you have the skills to score from anywhere. Practice your close range scores by standing as close as you can, and then backing up two steps for every shot you make. Then as you begin to build distance and consistent points, you'll want to start practicing distance and different angles. Continue to place distance between yourself and the basket, while also shooting from the left, right, center, foul zones and everywhere in between.

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