Basketball Shooting Drills: Developing Proper Shooting Form


I can remember myself at a young age watching Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller battle it out on the basketball court. After the games would end, I would almost immediately go outside and start shooting and practicing my game. I had the drive and will, but one thing I lacked was the knowledge and discipline. 

As I practiced basketball shooting drills in hopes that I would become a superstar, little did I know that I was developing bad habits that would later take years to correct. I specifically named Reggie Miller above, because some people will mention he had one of the worst shooting forms and is still considered one of the greatest shooters of all time. That being said, it's extremely rare that something like this happens and if you bank on it working for you, then you're taking a huge risk.

Basketball players tend to develop bad shooting habits for several different reasons. First, many kids are usually not strong enough to use proper technique while shooting, especially when moving further from the basket. Secondly, young players try to simulate shooting situations that they see NBA players doing without knowing why they do it. Lastly, youth basketball players want to be the next star before they even develop basic skill and knowledge of the game through basketball shooting drills. All these things consequentially lead to stunted growth basketball-wise.

It's important to know how to properly hold and release the basketball when shooting, but it's equally as important to understand why. Using proper shooting form will help your entire game flow smoother. The transition from dribbling to shooting, catching a pass to shoot, and other basketball motions all have the same basic fundamentals. 



When shooting, make sure to keep a small pocket of space in between your hand and the basketball. You want to make sure that the basketball is flowing off your finger tips as you release and follow through with your shot. Your guide hand is only there to help you lift the ball into your shooting pocket and to help with aiming. The main shooting problem most young players encounter is their guide hand. Some players will shoot with two hands, some will drop their guide hand, leading to missed shots. Others will use their guide hand thumb to push the ball which leads to a sideways spin. The guide hand is also often misused by young players who want to shoot far away from the basket, when they aren't strong enough. Your shooting hand finger tips should be pointing down, towards the rims after your shot and your guide hand should have all 5 fingers pointing at an upward angle towards the rim.


Just like ball-handling, your elbows should stay in and facing your target. If either of your elbows are inwards or outwards too much, then you will almost always have some kind of side spin on the basketball. It'll also be very difficult to be accurate and consistent with your shot. It's also crucial to have your knees bent and in an athletic stance. This will help with exploding into your shot and will decrease your release time. If you're standing straight up, you'll have to bend your knees and then start your shooting motion after. At the higher levels, decreasing seconds off your shot can be the determining factor in getting your shot off or not.


Players: If you'e struggling to maintain form and make shots close to the rim, then your chances to make deeper shots are even slimmer. It's important to develop great habits along with muscle memory and the best way to do this is by starting close with many repetitions. A lot of great NBA/WNBA players warm up by shooting close to the rim and slowly moving away. Developing good habits early on will make shooting become as easy as writing your name by the time you reach high school. Regardless of your form, you can always focus on these 3 Simple C's when you're shooting. 

Here at Dr. Dish Basketball, we train hard, with technique, and with purpose. We know every player will shoot with their own unique form, but shooting fundamentals will always apply especially through purposeful basketball shooting drills

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