Developing Basketball Shooting Form

Proper body positioning and shooting mechanics can help increase the chances of making a shot before the ball leaves your hands.

February 21, 2019

When a player first steps onto the basketball court, there are several essential skills they need to work on: dribbling, passing and catching.

Shooting form is one of these fundamentals. You will need to develop your shooting mechanics before you hear the swish of the net.


Proper shooting form begins with your feet. You should be on the balls of your feet while keeping them shoulder-width apart.

Alignment is another important aspect of shooting form. Keep your foot, knee, hip, elbow and shoulder on your shooting-hand side in line with the ball. Your shooting hand should be behind the ball, as this will help with your follow-through.

Once you have good footwork and alignment, then you can begin your shot:

  • As you bring the ball up to take the shot, you want to keep your elbow behind the ball with your wrist tilted back.
  • The ball should be resting on the pads of your fingers, not in the palm of your hand.
  • As you continue to bring the ball up, your non-shooting hand should be on the side of the ball to help guide your shot.
  • When releasing the ball, make sure your hand is directly behind the ball for proper follow-through. Your wrist will roll over and will point with your middle and pointer finger toward the basket.


You want to focus solely on your technique as you execute this drill.

  • Stand facing the basket. You should be close to the rim and in the middle of the lane. This should be a very short shot.
  • Check your feet and alignment before taking a shot.
  • As you bring the ball up to take a shot, you will hold your follow-through until the ball goes through the net.
  • Repeat the shot from this same position to create muscle memory for your proper shooting technique.

Learning the basics of proper shooting form is one the first fundamentals that players should work on in their development on the hardwood.

Once you progress your shooting mechanics, you'll need to regularly practice shooting to stay sharp. The 3-Minute Timed Shooting Drill can help you develop into a stronger, more consistent shooter.