Basketball is among the most popular sports in the world. It stands among the most demanding games, as the athlete needs to be extremely competent physically as well as technically. The rule to win is pretty simple; put in more baskets than your opponent. So the biggest question you’ll be having is obvious: ‘How to shoot a basketball?‘
Basketball has five main positions – point guard, shooting guard, centre forward, power forward and small forward. Shooting guards, as their names suggest, are generally the best shooters in the team.
But, shooting is a very tricky aspect. And to be a great shooter, it is necessary to possess a sound technique and form.
Well, although none can be absolutely spot on, the fundamentals are really important to learn and master the skill of how to shoot a basketball.
Stationary form and technique
In this part, we will give you an overview of the basics of shooting while standing, its technique and mechanics.
- Knowing your target
- Grip and Shot Pocket
- Jump, landing and follow-through.
Knowing your target
Even before you shoot, you should have your eyes on the target. Always locate the target as soon as you receive the ball or even before it. It is more crucial than actually following the flight of the ball. Looking for the target later may take a few more milliseconds and you have a chance to lose the ball.
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Positioning yourself accurately is very important when it comes as it gives you the basis for the right delivery and accuracy of the shot.
Always stand with your feet shoulder-width apart; this is the most stable position. Try to keep your feet staggered slightly, i.e. one ahead of another. The stronger(shooting) foot should be slightly ahead than the weaker one as generally, it is the most comfortable position.
Although, definitely you can change things a bit according to your personal comfort you should be consistent with that. You should try to keep your feet in the general direction of the basket, if not exactly towards it. Always bend your knees before taking a shot.
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Grip and Shot pocket
It is important to place the ball in the shot pocket as soon as you catch. The shot pocket is the position just before taking the shot when the shooting arm and shooting fingers are in a vertical position to the face with the shoulders stretched out.
It is important to place the ball, which should be above your waist and your eyes in a straight line to the basket. Again consistency is important here too.
Next comes the grip. This is perhaps the most technical aspect of shooting. Your index and middle fingers should be on either side of the air hole while the fingertips will be parallel to the seams (lines on the ball).
There should be a thin gap between your palm and the ball, and it should be properly balanced. You should also consider gripping the ball properly such that it is comfortably sitting on your fingertips.
Delivery is a very important aspect of shooting and it is something in which you have to excel to become a good shooter. Great shooters are the most difficult to find as it takes years of hard work to learn and master the skill.
During delivery of the ball, a good emphasis is placed on the positioning of the balance arm or non-shooting arm.
The balance arm, as its name suggests, is just for that purpose and is kept on the side of the ball.
For example, if you are right-handed, the left hand is your balance arm and should be placed on the left-hand side of the ball.
It is very important to note that, this arm should provide no spin, angle or force on the ball, as that will change the direction and speed of the shot. It should be kept stationary and should always be the first hand to come off from the ball.
The ball release is extremely important; the elbows should be placed comfortably under the ball and the ball is moved directly upwards from the shot pocket.
You should also take care of the ball position; which should be in front of body and never behind the head.
The force applied by your arms, core, and legs to power the shot should be well-coordinated. Always keep in mind, that the elbows,wrist and the shooting arm in whole should be in a straight line to the basket.
Roll your fingers slightly on the ball to give it a straight and symmetrical backspin. Again, remember to keep your balance arm stable and not affect the motion of the ball.
Jump, landing and Follow-through
Jumping is the most basic of skills in basketball; you have to be good at jumping to play basketball. Flex you knees and use the explosive force of your legs to jump before releasing the ball.
Release the ball just before the top of the jump, i.e. the highest point on your leap. More importantly, also ensure that you jump and land in the same spot, because else your balance is disturbed. This also leads to the change in the direction of your shot.
Follow-through is basically the movement of the body after an action is completed. In this case, after you have shot the ball on target it is important to remember a few factors which are necessary for a good follow-through.
Always try to keep your fingers pointed towards the rim/basket and your wrists should be loose. It is important to finish your release high, ideally, you should see your fingers on the upper square of the backboard.
Another point of marked importance but often neglected is to hold the follow-through. You should always try to hold your follow-though till the ball hits the rim. This becomes extremely essential in an actual match, where the ball might bounce back after hitting the rim.
If you maintain your follow-through till the point it hits the rim, you might have a chance to catch the ball earlier than others and again go for a shot.
Never leave PRACTICING!
Shooting, as we said is the most important and difficult skill to master. And not everybody can do it, because it needs years of hard work and patience to master.
Continue practising, always have your trainer to spot your mistakes, see video clips of yourself to better understand the faults. Above everything, practice with passion and love for the game.
It also pays to go through the basic rules led down by FIBA. This will help you in knowing exactly how to approach the guards and shoot in the most right manner.