The 12 Steps of Basketball Shooting Basics

The 12 Steps of Basketball Shooting Basics
Published: 2022-01-19
5/5 Average rating
Please sign in in order to rate the blog.

By Jason Gilliam-Alexander

Jason Alexander is one of SportsEdTV’s most valuable coaches. He has tirelessly produced many of our training videos.  Jason recently produced this Basics of Shooting Guides sure to become a classic beginner’s tool for players, coaches and parents in the world of basketball.

                                                                                             ---Mark Strickland, Director of Basketball, SportsEdTV


Set Shooting requires BEEF--Balance, Eyes, Elbow & Follow through.

Shooting hand should be behind the ball where ball rests on slight finger-tips. Wrists will lock in harmony with elbow.

Guide hand should be on side of basketball or perpendicular to shooting hand – able to give that hand a high five after shot based on placement

Eyes will remain on rim into shot, while shot is in air and all the time until it makes or misses. Shoulders ought to be squared up or parallel with basket.

Body is aligned with shoulders and feet, squared up to basket


Jump Shooting

All of the set shooting mechanics apply.

Player ought to be shot ready, which means, player is on balance with feet, eyes on passer, hips are down, knees are bent and hands are ready to catch and shot.

Player meets the pass in air, lands on two feet with a small pro-hop or jump stop.

Landing on two feet evenly provides balance, then, player should explode off the ground vertically into shot, releasing on the way up before reaching apex height of jump.


Hook Shots

Hooks should be shot with shoulder pointed directly toward basket and chest facing directly toward sideline.

Footwork should be one – two, or, left foot – right foot when shooting hook with right hand. Footwork would be one -two, or right foot – left foot when shooting hook with left hand.

Player should be holding the ball chest high, both hands, until its time jump up and release shot.

Again, non-shooting shoulder should be buried in defender’s chest or directly facing into the basket. Eyes should be on rim. 


Non-dominant hand shots

Non-dominant hand shooting requires same mechanics.

Most importantly, the shooting wrist and elbow must lock and follow through for layups, floaters and hooks and or jump-shots.

Elbow should be in to ensure accuracy of shot and follow through.


Driving shots, layups or floaters

Driving shots, layups or floaters, can be taken of the one – two footwork or pro-hp/jump stop footwork. Follow through technique still applies.

If using the backboard, player shoulder target top corner of the box on the same side as shot, or, high off the glass and high arcing.

Basketball should hit above basketball on backboard and drop down into hoop.


Mental Approach to Shooting

The mental approach of the shot is primarily derived from memory and visualization.

The more reps a player has shooting a particular shot, the more they can visualize making shot before they shoot and the more their confidence level will be.

Focus should be on basket – specifically the back of the rim.

Eyes should remain on basket through shot and NOT on flight trajectory of the ball.

Consciously player should be shot ready: eyes on ball, hips down, hands ready and feet set to catch and land on two feet for balance, then, into shot.

Subconsciously, the player should be able to determine how much time and distance away from defender is needed to get shot off.


Shooting While Being Fouled

In shooting while getting fouled, player needs to maintain eye contact with basket while foul occurs.

Hopefully, player executed good footwork, had hips down and was shot ready so that they can absorb contact and remain on balance through their core.


Rebounding Shots

Rebounding shots involves anticipation, then, using coordinated footwork to position for rebound.

If the rebound is close to rim, player and can rebound shot at apex of leap, square their body in air and release shot back into basket all in one motion.

Unable to shoot while mid-air, player will land on two feet, then, use their feet to go back up into appropriate shot.

Footwork and balance will be important to shoot immediately after rebounding as there will likely be physical contact from defender. 

Absorbing contact is needed through use of core, low body strength and choosing correct shot type after rebounding.

Finding air space or creating separation prior to shooting important.

That can be achieved through proper footwork pivoting, use of body and or the ability to jump away or over defender all while maintaining proper body movement pending the shot.


Foul Shots

Foul shots require a routine – same habits, ritual and mechanics every shot. Player receives ball, both feet should be pointed toward basket.

Knees and hips should be down. Eyes should be on rim.

Player goes through preferred routine, then, sets basketball in hand while hips are down and comes up shooting.

Player should end foul shot with heels off the ground, shooting hand and elbow locked in follow through position.

Guide hand or non-shooting hand should be perpendicular to shooting hand. Again, eyes remain on rim and not flight of basketball.


Shooting Behind Screens

Shots from behind screens involve proper use of feet as player is likely to be moving. Players can use the one – two footwork technique or pro-hop onto two feet method.

Bottom line is, when its time to shoot player’s weight is centered and equally distributed through footwork and balance.

Extremely important that player shooting behind screen utilize proper spacing relative to screener, be able to square up their feet and shoulders, then, utilize lower body strength to stop, square and elevate because their hips were down.

Hands must be ready before catching of pass to make shot rhythmic, fluid, quick and in motion.

Post shooting requires eyes on basket, holding of follow through until ball makes or misses and landing in same place as original shooting position.

Player must square up, then jump up and come straight up and down to maintain good body balance.


Using the Backboard

Backboard use means shooting high off the glass.

Ball should hit backboard above rim level and drop DOWN into hoop.

The top-right and left-hand corner pf the box is the proper placement to make shot. 

Follow through of shooting process provides basketball with proper backspin for soft touch off the backboard.


Spin and “English” off Backboard

Using “english” ball spin technique when shooting off the backboard is very useful, particularly when the window for a releasing a shot is tight, small, or contested.

Typically, the ball should hit high above rim on appropriate top corner of box.

However, when the defense doesn’t allow for a standard backboard shot and placement, a player can use “english” or spin.

When using the far right or far left side of backboard english can be applied to place the ball further away than top corner of the box.

The english or spin allows the basketball to move a greater distance off the backboard to rim. The english or spin should be same direction as player wants ball to move.