I am learning the technique for making shots in basketball.

How do you make the ball go forward to the hoop?

After following all the advice I found so far, I can shoot beautifully in front of the hoop. When I get further away, for example free throws, the advice falls short.

These are the key points for shooting technique I found so far. What am I missing?

  • Feet shoulder width apart, square to the basket or slightly open, depending on the player.

  • Bend your knees and jump using your legs to give the upward power to the ball.

  • Do not throw the ball with your arm. It will be inconsistent.

  • Land the same place you jumped, make a straight up and down jump.

  • Hold the ball with one hand under and the other on the side to guide the ball.

  • Keep your elbow in and straight below the ball pointing to the ground.

  • As you reach the top of your jump, let your arm extend upward and release the ball at the top. Your wrist should snap or flop, which gives the ball a backward rotation.

  • Shoot the ball with a high angle because that exposes the largest opening of the hoop.

  • End your shot with your arm up and your wrist down like you are reaching for the basket.

I see two possibilities for making the ball go forward.

  1. You push the ball forward with your arm near the top of the jump.
  2. The snapping motion of your arm at the top of the jump works like the serve in tennis where you throw the racket up and when your arm extends it whips forward like a rope.

And if you push the ball forward during your jump, wouldn't you land a little behind where you started?

  • Great points, but keep in mind that these points are fundamental in nature in an ideal scenario. Very rarely, outside of free throw shooting (in which jumping is not necessary), will you ever have the ideal scenario to follow all the points listed above. The act of shot-taking during a game will be much more dynamic...you may be off-balance or fading away while taking a shot, for example.
    – user527
    Feb 24, 2014 at 17:36

3 Answers 3


Option 1 is the preferred one, because it involves fewer body parts.

In the old days of basketball, people would not jump at all for game play shots, and use the Korac-style two-hand shot from the knees for free-throws, also known as "grandma style". Underhand, with both hands down. He held the ball between his legs, one hand on each side.

But with defenses getting better, it ended up being an advantage to do your shot from as high as possible, hence people started doing the over the shoulders shot, then incorporated the jumping-then-shot over the shoulders technique.

The reason why it's better to (1) first jump to the highest point and then (2) shot when you are at your highest is because you can isolate one from the other. By isolating the jumping motion to the shot motion as much as possible, it is easier to train by repetition. This means that you can train yourself to a shot motion from your shoulders, arms and wrists, and the motion will be the same when you are jumping than when you are free-throwing.

Another element of competitive basketball shooting technique is how fast are you able to do your shot movement, since your receive the ball until you've jumped and released the ball. Being quick allows you to avoid the defenders blocking your shot. This is sometimes also known as how fast you can "release" or "trigger" or "draw your shot", following the analogy of drawing a pistol to shot in a Western movie. Good examples of well-renowned players that have a quick trigger in their shooting technique are Ray Allen, currently (2014) still playing for Miami Heat, and Chris Mullin, who used to play for Golden State.

It is worth going on Youtube and searching for "Ray Allen shooting technique" for tips.

  • 1
    Or look for Dirk Nowitzki training sessions and see how he obtains stability doing deep knee bending and continuous body movement in a whole jump-shot technique. Also look at super Howard and Shaquille throwing free shots and avoid to throw stones like then ;-) Mar 21, 2014 at 14:23
  • Howard is a good example of not using the full motion of the wrist, using only the finger tips and then overdoing the arm motion.
    – 719016
    Mar 21, 2014 at 15:06
  • Another good example of a player that went from good to bad is Patrick Ewing (retired): later on in his career he added a stop motion step between the arms motion and the wrist motion, allegedly to improve his free throw shooting, but actually worsening it. It shows that when players subjectively think a technique is working for them, they will keep using that technique, even if there is no fundamental physics explanation supporting it.
    – 719016
    Mar 21, 2014 at 15:09
  • Ray Allen is also a bit OCD when it comes to his shooting technique: he manicures his nails before practise and before each game so that each finger weighs exactly the same. I would say that is a bit over the top, but again, if he subjectively thinks it's working for him, it's not going to make it worse.
    – 719016
    Mar 21, 2014 at 15:10
  • Kobe Bryant is another player with a great shooting technique, designed to avoid blocks from defenders. Still, he manages to isolate his shoot from the shoulders up, even under heavy defensive pressure: youtube.com/watch?v=cf-woL3U8QI
    – 719016
    Mar 23, 2014 at 8:00

Basketball Shooting Technique:

1.Face the basket and place your feet shoulder width apart

2.Position the ball in your shot pocket

3.Grip the ball correctly

4.Push the ball upward with your shooting hand

5.Straighten your knees and jump

6.Release the ball

7.Develop muscle memory

8.Learn how to use the backboard

9.Practice in a game setting

To know more check out this link

  • For future reference, it is recommended to (block)quote where necessary to distinguish between sourced content and original content. See this for more information.
    – user527
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:41

One thing I have learned on any touch shot, specifically on runners and full speed layups is to not push the ball forward. On a runner for example do not push the ball forward. If you are moving very fast use your momentum. If you are going forward when you shoot your momentum will carry the ball forward. No one I have ever met can stop quickly enough to need to push the ball forward.

I may have gotten off topic but for shooting @edmastermind29 is correct. You will almost never get that ideal shot where those tips are all that matters. The best way to improve your shot is to practice over and over for hours and hours; days and days. You will develop touch which will help you hit those tricky shots and become more comfortable with your shot. Just be sure to shoot with your fingers not your palm. Your palm is not capable of operating with the exact precision your fingers can for a shot.

These are all the tips I have. Good luck to you sir and anyone else who reads this. i hope it helps!

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