Basketball Shooting Form: Are You Making These Two Fatal Mistakes?

STACK Expert T. J. Allan describes two shots that have so many imperfections, even the best shooters cannot overcome them.

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Basketball shooting form is not only an art, it's also a science. The best shooters in the world have perfected their shots through years of practice, constantly searching for even the slightest imperfection that would decrease their accuracy. Here are two shots that have so many imperfections, even the best shooters wouldn't be able to overcome them.

The Slingshot

We often see this type of shot from players who shoot above their heads. The shot basically looks like a slingshot. The lower arm looks like a catapult with the elbow acting as the hinge. The telltale sign is the arc of the ball is almost non-existent. It's a line drive.

The problem with the slingshot is the angle of the elbow is too narrow. Instead of shooting up and then out, the shooter extends out first and can't get enough arc on the ball.

The Two-Handed Shot

This is more often seen in younger, weaker players who don't have the strength to get the ball to the rim without using their guide hand. The problem is that as these players get older, they never break the habit. It can easily be seen during the follow-through, because the shooter's guide hand will be turned facing the basket instead of staying perpendicular to the body.

The problem with the two-handed shot is that it's extremely inaccurate. The guide-hand thumb doesn't touch the ball every time. When it does, airballs often result.

A Quick Fix for Both

One-arm shots can fix both problems if you follow the keys below on every shot:

  • Start every shot at 90/90. Your elbow and shoulder should both be at 90 degrees. The ball should be directly over your wrist, and your wrist should be directly over your elbow. Your guide hand will be at your waist. It will never touch the ball.
  • Shoot up through your eyebrow and then out.
  • Hold your follow-through. Your elbow should be near your eyebrow, and your middle finger should look like it's dipping directly in the middle of the rim at the end of the shot.
  • Start close. Move back only when you've mastered the movement.

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