Proper Basketball Shooting Form and Mechanics

Everyone loves a shooter, except for the opposition of course. Shooters and scorers change the dynamic of a game, and have the ability to break it open at anytime. They are also the most valuable asset on the floor down the stretch when the defense buckles down in the paint. A good shooter stretches the floor and makes a team very hard to defend.

True shooters can control the game without touching the ball for majority of the possession. When there is a lethal shooter on the floor the defense is on their heels the entire game, whether it be in a high school, college or NBA game or even a pickup game at the park.

So many young players shoot and shoot and shoot all day, but they can’t seem to hit it on a consistent basis in games. Majority of the time it’s because they have bad shooting mechanics.

You can shoot 10,000 shots over the summer, but if it’s with bad form, you’ll never be consistent and it’ll show in games. If you’ve been putting up reps and reps but aren’t seeing any results, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. If it’s broke, it needs to be fixed. Go to a coach, hire a trainer who know’s what their talking about, or even approach a teammate that has always been a great shooter and ask for some form advice.

If your shot just doesn’t seem to drop no matter how hard you work, be sure to take time to learn the fundamentals of shooting and develop a good form before you get back in the lab.


All four of these shooters share some of the same shooting fundamentals and mechanics.

True shooters are the players that cannot be left open. You’ll know your a shooting/scoring threat, when it is a sin to leave you open in games. When the opposing teams coach is screaming at his players and benching anyone that dare leaves you open, or when the defense is face guarding you up the floor, your probably wet.

It takes a lot of reps to get to that point, but before that it takes finding and mastering some shooting fundamentals and tips.

Kobe Bryant was very critical of the AAU system and blamed it for the lack of development and skill in American players. He has a point. Kids are so busy playing in games and tournaments during the summer AAU season that they don’t actually get a chance to get in the gym and work with a coach on their form, they don’t get to have those “I made 500 jumpers today” days because their scrimmaging all practice and have tournaments going on during the weekends.

There are players in the NBA that don’t know the basic fundamentals of a jump shot, and that is a sickening reality. There are guards in the league today that will miss over 10 straight wide-open catch-and-shoot jumpers in a row during shootarounds! This is supposed to be unheard of. Dude’s are clanking shot after shot because they have their elbows sticking all the way out or their feet are turning to the side and their landing all over the place.

It’s ridiculous.

Players that can’t make a jump shot consistently struggle mightily in college and in the NBA, and their development while they were in high school is to blame for that. They never picked up the correct fundamentals of shooting at a young age like they should have and their so far out of touch by the time they get to the league. NBA teams often bring in shooting coaches during the off-season to restructure a players broken jump shot, but if he hasn’t got it by the time he’s 25 years old, it’s likely too late.

Parents and coaches need to break down the fundamentals and mechanics of shooting with their child from a young age. If  players are taught the basics, and the pick up on them early on, they will always be at an advantage. Once you have a form down and develop a touch, it’s all about getting the reps up.

There’s no one way to shoot a jump shot, but there are shooting principles and mechanics you will need to follow if you want to become a knock down shooter.

Proper shooting form and mechanics are a prerequisite to becoming a good shooter.

If you get in the gym and work on your shot, from all angles and in many different situations while following these shooting tips, you will develop confidence in your jumper and will see major improvements.

Here we go!

Stance (balance)

– Your feet should be square or close to square with the basket.
– Your body should be in-line with the basket (hips, shoulders, feet).
– Your lead foot depends on which hand you shoot with, if you shoot right handed, your right foot should be slightly ahead of your left.
– Your knees should be bent (majority of the power comes from the lower body when shooting a jump shot).


There are two motion shooters and one motion shooters, figure out what works for you.

– Two motion shooters prefer to hitch, or pause the shot for a split second before they release it.
– One motion shooters have a quick and smooth release, their is no hitch.

– One motion shooters elbows are usually in on their release, while two motion shooters elbow naturally come out during the hitch portion of their shot.

***NBA 2K is a great way to study the difference between one motion and two motion shooters*** 

Steph Curry is a one motion shooter. As soon as it reaches his release point (right around his eyebrow) he goes into his follow through without hitching. Check out the quick release, Curry literally launches it the second he touches it.

(Skip to the 1:48 mark to watch Steph’s shot.)

Ray Allen is a two motion shooter. Notice how he clutches the shot to his release point right before he lets it go.

Holding the ball

– Place your non-shooting hand to the side of the ball, literally just a guide for the shot which actually should come off of one hand.
– Do not palm the ball.
– Let the ball rest on your finger tips so that you can fit your finger between your hand and the ball while it rests on your finger pads. This is done so that the ball can come off your finger tips when you follow through.

Shooting Pocket

Every player has a shooting pocket, when you are catching and shooting, you should catch the ball in the same spot every time. Some players shooting pocket is right down the middle of their torso, while other shooters are in one-line slightly to the right or left of their hip.


– Keep your elbow in.
– Form an “L” with your shooting elbow.

Follow Through

– Snap the wrist, your follow-through should be straight in one line, not to the side.
– The ball should come off your finger tips.
– A great form is to have your index finger and middle finger being the last two fingers to touch the ball as it leaves your hand.
– Extend your follow through/arm. Don’t leave it high up in the air, give your shot a direction.
– Hold your follow through up there till your shot hits the floor.

Notice how Steve Nash’s finger tips are right on the ball as it spins off his hand. Also, check out the snap of Kobe Bryant’s wrist, as well as his middle finger and index finger dipped lower than his other fingers, these two fingers are always the last two to touch the ball on Kobe’s release.



– Look at the basket when you shoot.
– **Don’t listen to that back-rim, front-rim stuff  as it limits you as a shooter**
– Just be sure to keep your eyes on the target.

Release Point

– Find your release point, for some it could be above the eyebrows, below the eyes or above the forehead.
– Release the ball on the way up
– **Many female players have success releasing from right under the chin.**
– Release your shot from the same spot everytime you shoot (builds consistency).

Dirk Nowitzki has a very high release point, making his shot very hard to defend, especially at his height. Steph Curry’s release point is right above his right eyebrow, he has a extremely quick release out of that point.


Control the Trajectory of Your Shot.

– The trajectory of your jump shot is the path the ball takes when it is released.
– The ball should always go in a straight line towards the hoop.
– Don’t leave your follow through too high or low, or you’ll either shoot too high or too flat.
– Be sure to give your shot a direction by extending your follow through and shooting arm towards the hoop.
– Keep your follow through straight.

Picture perfect follow through from MJ. He is guiding the ball towards the hoop in a straight line by extending his arm and pointing it directly towards the cylinder. 

Develop YOUR OWN Form Using These Fundamentals:

We all have our own unique looking shots, so don’t think you have to shoot one way. Find your own form! You may have a lower release point, you may jump a little higher on your shot, you might even shoot better with your feet slightly tilted. It’ll take time, and it may take some trial and error, but once you find a form that you are comfortable with and are sure that it is built around the above fundamentals and shooting mechanics then you’ll be halfway there to becoming a great shooter.

Experiment with it. You don’t have to follow each and every step listed above, don’t be a robot, even the pro’s don’t follow every step above. Shooters and scorers don’t think too much, they find a good release, shoot thousands of shots a day and build a chemistry with their form. Once you’ve put up enough reps with a proper shooting form, it’s all muscle memory from there on.

Remember, this is only one half of what it takes to become a great shooter. The next step is reps on reps on reps on reps. The best shooters in the world shoot the ball hundreds, even thousands of times a day, but they shoot it with great form. That is why they are great shooters.

Forming an “L” with your elbow and having your feet square isn’t going to turn you into Ray Allen overnight, that happens by applying these shooting fundamentals and combining them with an insane work ethic.

Shoot till your arms fall off….. with proper form!

Keep it locked to Ball Don’t Stop for more training tips.


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  4. Ian

    December 11, 2017 at 9:10 am

    i love basketball

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