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Top Modern Basketball Shooting Technique

May 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 191

Have you ever got caught up doing something for what you thought might have been an hour, only to have looked up at the clock and noticed that 3 or 4 hours had actually passed? If you have, then either you were so focused on or you actually loved the job or activity, enough so, that time was not a factor. When you implement my first basketball shooting technique here, proper shooting form, and then the other 3 shooting techniques in my website, you will be drawn into a fascination for improvement, where there will not seem to be enough hours in a day to practice and perfect your basketball shot. If you are passionate about basketball and the basketball shot, these techniques will increase your passion and leaving the gym will become that much more difficult. These techniques are simple and absolutely amazing! I can't stress enough on their effectiveness. The zeal for your shot will develop into a magnetic attraction for shooting, where nothing else will seem to matter except the beauty of your shot.

Read on to understand the beauty, ease and simplicity of the technique I introduce here and then the other 3 in my website, especially my favorite, shot timing, which I'm sure you will enjoy.

To understand the basics of proper form, or the basic traditional shot, I will give a simple, detailed, step by step process that explains the traditional method of shooting a basketball, then show a few adjustments that can be made to modernize the shot. Take a few minutes here to understand and go through this simple process.

Proper form begins by first facing the basket. Ideally, you should use the center of a free throw line as a guide when facing the basket. Both feet and shoulders should be pointing straight at the basket. The feet should be even and about shoulder width apart. This is called "squaring up to the basket."

Some coaches teach that the shooting foot, which is the same foot as your shooting arm, should be placed slightly ahead or in front of the other foot(about six inches). The shooting foot forward technique is not necessarily traditional, but seems to be favored by some coaches. I disagree with this technique and will discuss why later in the footwork section.

When you have squared up to the basket, take your shooting arm and let it hang naturally on the side of your body. Move your arm up and straight forward until your arm and fingers are pointing straight up at the ceiling. The area that was just covered by moving your arm upward is called the " shooting alley." Some coaches teach that you should bring the ball up to shooting position from waist level, through the shooting alley. Again, I disagree with this technique and will show why in the release section.

Next, let your arm hang by your side again. Take the part of your arm between the elbow and shoulder (the upper arm) and bring it up through the shooting alley. Place it to where it is parallel to the court.

Next, bend your elbow and move your forearm up to where it is pointing straight up at the ceiling. This creates a 90 degree angle between your forearm and upper arm. Your forearm should now be perpendicular to the court and also to your upper arm.

Next, take your wrist and bend it back to where your hand is parallel to the court and also to your upper arm. This creates a 90 degree angle between the back of your hand and your forearm. This is the proper shooting form for the shooting arm and resembles a square and is considered "box" form..

At this point if you are squared up to the basket at the free throw line, directly in front of the basket, your elbow should not be pointing directly at the center of the basket. Your forearm and therefore your elbow, should be in line with the left or right edge of the basket, depending on which arm you shoot with.

From this position, if you place a basketball on your hand, you should be able to hold and balance the ball without any help from the opposite hand. Hold the ball like you would hold a tray of food.

Next, take the opposite hand (the guide hand) and place it gently on the side of the ball. The guide upper arm should also be parallel to the court and brought up along its own shooting alley, with the forearm slightly tilted inward. This is the traditional fundamental proper form: The Correct Shooting Position.

From this position, with or without the ball, notice if there is any stress at the wrist and/or shoulders. From my experience, I almost always hear complaints of stress in these two areas. There are a few adjustments that can be made to relieve the stress and move to a more comfortable, less stressful position.

Next, remove the ball from your hand. Let's experiment a little so you can understand your arm and hand structure better. From the correct shooting position, take your shooting hand and move it forward to where your hand is in line with your forearm and your fingers are pointing directly up at the ceiling. Do the same with your guide hand. At this time both palms should be facing straight forward. Can you face both palms directly straight forward toward the basket without any stress or tension at the wrists? If you can, then you may not need to make any adjustments. If there is any stress or your hands are slightly angled, then adjustments should be made.

Next, from this position and with your fingers still pointing at the ceiling take both hands and turn them inward to where both palms are facing each other. Does this seem to be more natural, less stressful, position?

Next, take your forearms and tilt them inward until they are both parallel to the court with the palms facing down and fingertips touching. Now, take your palms and turn them away from you directly straight forward. Is there any stress at the wrists from this position? Notice that the elbows are pointing completely outward while the palms are facing forward. At this point there should be little or no stress at the wrists.

If by moving the elbow outward you release stress at the wrist and help point the palm forward, then from the correct shooting position if you can't face your shooting palm directly at the basket without any stress at the wrist, then your elbow should be moved a little outward. This is a technique that moves from the traditional towards the modern form.

I have to take some time here to note that most coaches will adamantly disagree with me here. If there was ever a part of the basketball shot where coaches preach correct form, it is in this area. I have never known a coach that has taught the elbow out technique. There may be some out there, but for the most part the elbow is always taught to be tucked in and to point straight at the center of the basket. If the elbow is in line with and pointing straight at the center of the basket after squaring up, it is said that this is what keeps your shot in line with the basket. I do not see any truth in this and dismiss the elbow tucked in technique or theory as a basketball shooting myth. Either the elbow is tucked in, pointing straight at the basket, with an angled and stressed hand and wrist, or the elbow is slightly out with a more aligned and relaxed hand and wrist.

In my opinion, the basketball is not shot straight with the elbow, but rather, it is shot straight with the hand. The hand is what ultimately decides the direction and path of the ball. The arm pushes the ball up and forward and the hand decides the direction and path. Still, many coaches will disagree with the elbow out technique and argue that the elbow is what decides the direction and path of the ball. So be very careful and subtle when moving the elbow outward.

Next, from the correct shooting position, take your shooting arm and extend it fully up and slightly forward. From this position, it should be easier for the palm to face the basket without too much tension at the wrist. Notice that from the correct shooting position to the fully extended follow through there will be a slight twist of the forearm, which in turn makes it easier for the palm to face straight toward the basket with less tension. So as you push the ball up, your forearm will automatically and naturally twist making it easier for the hand, as you continue to extend, to direct the ball straight. The higher the arm moves up, the lesser the wrist tension and the straighter the hand position.

Next, from the correct shooting position, take your forearm and tilt it back toward your body and create a 45 degree angle at the inner elbow. This angle creates a "V" from the wrist to the elbow to the shoulder. The 90 degree angle of the wrist and elbow change. This V form is another shooting position that you can use as a starting point and can replace the box form. Although, you should know that this form is not generally accepted by basketball's hierarchy. I personally find this form to be very comfortable but do not give it too much attention for obvious reasons, but was added here to make a point about shooting comfort.

As you can see by making a few adjustments from the traditional fundamental proper form, or correct shooting position, you can move toward a more modern and comfortable form. You can make subtle changes without sacrificing too much beauty, form and style.

I recommend from the correct shooting position, with the ball in your hand, moving your elbow out about two inches while simultaneously moving the ball inward about an inch. The forearm should be tilted back about an inch. For more power or distance you can lower the ball while simultaneously lowering your elbow an inch or two. These are my recommendations; very simple and easy and in my opinion, you will have better ball control. Ultimately, your form and comfort level are left up to you. The closer you adhere to the proper form, the more you will please basketball sovereignty.

Keep in mind that the basketball world has advanced very slowly in this area and is not yet ready to move toward any considerable change, so be careful when making adjustments away from proper form and keep them simple and subtle.

To your shooting success,


If you enjoyed the technique on proper form then you will enjoy the other 3 basketball shooting techniques: Footwork, Shot Timing and The Release. Go to These techniques are a complete guide and they are all you will need for a beautiful, smooth basketball shot. David D'Marco

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