How to Shoot a Basketball like the Pros

1) Balance is Key

The key to being a good shooter is balance. Everything follows balance.

Larry Bird

2) Gathering the Ball & Ball Placement in Hands

The next item on the shooting checklist involves the placement of the ball in the shooter’s hands.

“Ideally the basketball should rest softly in the fingertips and roll from his index and middle fingers upon release.”

Steve Kerr

3) Pay attention to every detail and mechanic of your Shot

“I’ve developed my shot by paying attention to everything I’m doing. I watch film and see the lift that I have on my shot and I make sure that I’m true to that lift. It’s hard to jump every shot, but I choose to. Some people have ridiculed me in the past and said, well, ‘You can’t take a shot without jumping.’ And I say, well, I could, but what that does is it decreases my chances of making a shot. I can make lots of shots not jumping, but when the shots count, I want to be consistent and try to keep it the same all the time.”

Ray Allen

4) Practice Shooting in Game Speed and Intensity

“I want to practice to the point where it’s almost uncomfortable how fast you shoot, so that in the game things kind of slow down.”

Steph Curry

5) Work on your Technique via FORM Shooting

“Before every day in practice, we would shoot our jump shot over our head from just inside the key. And I swear that helped me develop my form. I kind of grew into my shot from that.” Klay Thompson

6) Shooting is mental: keep shooting even during slumps, confidently.

‘I would go 0-for-30 before I would go 0-for-9. 0-for-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game. The only reason is because you’ve just now lost confidence in yourself.’

Kobe Bryant

7) Kyle Korver has a 20-point shooting checklist

  1. Wide stance.
  2. Exaggerated legs.
  3. Drop through heels.
  4. Engage core.
  5. Slight bend at waist.
  6. Up strong.
  7. Elbow straight.
  8. One hand.
  9. Fingers spread wide. (The Splytter can help you with this)
  10. Slight pause.
  11. Elbow up.
  12. Land forward.
  13. See the top of the rim.
  14. Ball on fingertips. (Avoid sticking to the palm. Cough: Splytter)
  15. Strong shot.
  16. Shoulders forward and relaxed.
  17. Ball and arm risen straight.
  18. Hold the follow through.
  19. Keep the release point high.
  20. On turns, square shoulders.

The point isn’t you try to replicate, but that you have your own checklist to run through when practicing your shooting repetitions. As you work on your FORM shooting, try adding a new, single element to each workout after mastering your basics.

8) Dave Hopla’s Jump Shooting Fundamentals

  • Show the palm of your shooting hand to the passer
  • Keep shooting arm ready in the letter L, and the wrist wrinkled
  • Non-shooting hand—don’t show the palm, put it on the side so that you are ready to shoot (one less movement)
  • After the catch, simply lift your arms into the shooting position—“lift the L up”
  • Don’t catch the ball and then bend: step to meet the ball, step with your left leg on the reception—you heel hits the floor first
  • Catch—sight target—shoot
  • You should release the ball before the top of your jump
  • When you keep your hands up on the follow through—you keep your body straight
  • If you drop the non-shooting hand that is when your body turns
  • Keep both hands up on the follow through
  • When you shoot the ball, your momentum takes you slightly toward the basket, but under control and on balance—do not drift left or right, all of your motion must be toward the basket

9) Track your shots and shooting accuracy with a shooting chart

You can’t measure progress if you don’t know where you stand. Know strengths and weaknesses, and work on them.