5 Tips to Improve Your Basketball Shooting Mechanics


There is only one thing that all great shooters have in common.

Do you know what it is? They spend countless hours in the gym shooting the basketball. Repetition after repetition in order to get muscle memory. This is the only thing that they all have in common. 

I wanted to start off by saying that because some people believe that they have to shoot a certain way or have a certain shooting technique in order to become a great shooter. Although, there are many things that great shooters have in common, they all have their differences.

In this post we´re going to be talking about some of the non-negotiables in your shooting form. They will help you become better at shooting the basketball and to become a better basketball player. 

We have set aside 5 tips for shooting that we would consider necessary, and that many great shooters have in common. Outside of these tips, we believe it is important that you listen to your body. We will get to what that means in a different post. 

Tip #1- Always have your hand under the ball when you shoot.

This seems like a fairly obvious one, but we’ll break down exactly what we mean. 

Many times a messed up shot could be improved simply by changing where your hands (shooting hand and off hand) lay on the ball before you shoot

Some shooters have a tendency to have the ball in front of your hand, instead of the ball laying down on your hand. 

If you were to practice shooting and stop the ball as it comes across your face (or side of the face) and draw a straight line through the ball to the hoop, your palm should not be on that line

Your palm being under the ball is really important for many reasons. It will help with the rotation of the ball because it will lead to a greater flick of the wrist. It will also help you shoot with more range because that flick of the wrist will be more forceful. 

Tip #2 - Where the Air Hole is located

Now if you were to follow tip one and have the ball sitting on your palm before you shoot, where are your fingers located?

If the air hole is in the center of the ball, it should be placed between your ring finger and your pointer finger. 

The specifics could vary depending on the shooter, but it is non-negotiable that it is between those two fingers. If your hand placement is to move any more to the right or left, you will begin to see the ball coming off your hand with weird rotation. You will begin to miss shots to the left and right. 

Tip #3 - Locating the Rim

A non-negotiable to becoming a better shooter is to locate the SAME part of the rim everytime you shoot the ball. 

It’s important that you do this because when muscle memory kicks in. It will know what it takes to get the ball from point A (your hand) to point B (the hoop). If you located a different part of the rim every time, it’ll become more difficult to be a consistent shooter.

To become the best shooter you can, we suggest that you locate the back of the rim. There have been many studies in the NBA and college that shots that hit the back of the rim have around a 70% of going in; whereas, shots that hit the front of the rim have a similar percentage but are missed shots. 

Other than those statistics, we also encourage this because late in games when your legs start to tire out it is better to shoot long and fall short (the back of the rim), than to aim at the front of the rim and fall short of your target. 

Now, we aren’t telling you the back of the rim is a non-negotiable because we believe that having a spot is more important and their are some great shooters who don’t look at the back. 

We also don’t want to change someone’s habit if they have been looking at a different part of the hoop for a lot of years, because changing later in life could be worse. 

So the placement of where you look is something that is important but not vital, but the consistency of how often you look is non-negotiable. It should be every time the same spot. 

Tip #4 - Shooter ready

Being Shooter ready means a lot of different things to a lot of different coaches and trainers. And usually depends on their generation. 

It used to mean having one foot back and being in a low stance ready to catch the ball. 

Now as the game grows coaches and trainers have realized that it is more important to have your legs loaded for the jump shot than it is to have one foot back and in a low stance. 

By having your legs loaded, or full of tension, means to be ready to jump or to explode up with your shot. 

If I were to tell you that you only get 1 step to jump as high as you can, what stance would you be in?

Also, by keeping your legs loaded it also allows your feet to be closer together and closer to your shooting stance. This also makes it easier on the passer to hit the shooting pocket. The quicker you can get your feet under you and in your shooting stance, the better!

Tip #5 - Wrist Flexibility

Now this may seem like a weird tip for shooting better, but I promise that it’ll help a lot. 

If you’ve ever watched Steph Curry shoot you can understand why. His wrist easily gets to a 90 degree angle with his forearm everytime he is releasing the ball. 

We have also talked about Stephen Curry in this other blog post "Top 5 Best Dribblers in the NBA in 2021".

With this much flexibility this allows for him to have a quicker release, shoot from deeper out, shoot with more arc, and get better rotation on his shot. 

These are all important and can be improved simply by having a more flexible wrist. 

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