November 2, 2009


Shooting is the act of throwing the ball to the basket with precision and accuracy to score points. You can shoot off the dribble or off the catch, and while almost every player uses his own technique, there are some general rules to follow.

Shooting Form: The BELIEF system

Balance: control of the center of gravity over the base of support.

Athletic Stance:

  • Back is flat; no rounded shoulders or humpbacks
  • Chest and eyes are up
  • Hips are back
  • Shoulders over the knees, knees over the toes
  • Weight is evenly displaced on each foot

Eyes: Find a target and fine-center on it through the entire shot; use a narrow-external concentration area when shooting

B alignment 3Line: The shooting toe points at the target with the knee over the big toe. The elbow is over the knee with the hand over elbow and ball over hand: one vertical line runs from inside the big toe to the ball. At the set point for a right-handed shooter, the right thumb points at the right eye. The elbow starts under the ball with the forearm in a vertical line. The exact position depends on one’s body and proportions – there is no one size fits all (see picture to the left).

Index finger: The index finger and middle finger split the center of the ball. At the finish, the index finger points to the target. When gripping the ball, some players center their index finger and some players center their middle finger, while other players center the ball somewhere between the index finger and middle finger. The exact position depends on one’s body and proportions – there is no one size fits all. While we advise a finger position which centers the ball somewhere between the index and middle fingers, find a comfortable position which enables you to shoot the ball straight to the basket.

Extension: Extension begins with the triple extension of the ankle, knee and hip joints and moves to the elbow. Start small (flexed) and end tall (extended).

Finish: As the elbow reaches near full extension, wrist flexion begins: the fingers push the ball up and to the basket. The off-hand falls naturally off the ball, imparting no force. After the release, the shooting hand falls forward naturally with index finger pointing at the rim. Fingers remain spread and relaxed through the entire shot. Follow through with the entire body.

Shooting Footwork – 1-2-step

  • A quick step-step stop.
  • Use the inside foot – the first step of the 1-2-step is the inside foot or the foot closer to the middle of the court.
  • Sit the hips back and down; flex the ankle, knee and hip to diffuse the force over a larger area and reduce the impact on any one joint.
  • Stop with the shooting foot forward.
  • When a right-handed player stops right-left, he stubs his left foot rather than take a full step to keep his right foot forward.
  • Square to the basket on the catch – pivot while stepping into the shot with the second foot.

Catch and Shoot

    • Call for the ball with the palm of your shooting hand; fingers point to the sky.
    • Anticipate the stop on the first step of the 1-2-step to slow one’s momentum.
    • Use the inside foot.
    • Step with your first step (inside foot) as you receive the ball and step quickly with the second step.
    • Catch at the depth of your shot with feet slightly wider than shoulder width.
    • Know where your defender is upon reception, so you know if you are open.
    • Eliminate dipping the ball; use the Hard2Guard position as the shot pocket.
    • Shoot early in the jump and land in the take-off spot.

Shooting of the Dribble

  • Use the same basic shooting technique and shooting footwork.
  • If dribbling with the right hand, a right-handed shooter brings his left hand to the ball as he picks up his dribble.
  • If dribbling with his left hand, he sweeps the ball across his waist to his right hand to pick up his dribble. The right hand stays on the right side of the body, ready to rotate in a straight line into the shot.
  • Step in with a 1-2-step, using the inside foot as the first step.
  • Get low on your last two steps to control momentum and jump straight up as you shoot.
  • Players tend to take an extra step and to shoot flat when they move to the dribble. Focus on the footwork to get into position to shoot well and focus on the same release – shoot from small (crouched position at the stop) to tall (extended position after the release).




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