Basketball Shooting Tips – What Part of The Rim To Focus On & The Guide Hand

By Don Kelbick

Question 1:

Do you focus on the front, middle, or back of the rim?


My teaching methods are a bit “out of the box” (non-traditional) and not everyone takes to it. I will answer you questions the best that i can, relating to the methods that have been successful more me but I don’t know if they are the answers you are looking for.

I do not teach target. I believe that shooting is a kinesthetic skill, not a visual one. I believe you shoot by feel, not by sight. I often teach players to shoot with their eyes closed. I want them to concentrate on form and feel, not whether it goes in or not. Given enough repetitions, they learn to adjust their feel for distance. I can routinely make 80% from the foul line with my eyes closed. That is based on that the monstrous amount of repetitions I have had in my life. I don’t expect young players to do that but it serves as a good illustration. Pro players routinely shoot for a higher percentage than I do. The direction of flight is determined by your follow through. Just follow through straight at the rim. To be more traditional, why not aim for the hole? Isn’t that where you want the ball to go?

Question 2:

Where is the guide hand placed exactly? Do the fingers and the thumb point up in the air or to the rim when holding the ball/releasing?


When I teach shooting early in the process, I teach it 1 handed with no guide hand. Once we add the guide hand, I usually stress comfort. As long as the ball is steady and and your guide hand doesn’t interfere with the ball and shooting mechanism, you can place it however it is comfortable for you, as long as it is the same every time.

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Shooting Tips – Finger Placement & Analysis Paralysis

By Don Kelbick


Position of the shooting hand before releasing: Is the middle and/or index finger in the middle of the basketball?


To be honest with you, I don’t know where those fingers are. All I want is for your hand to be behind the ball (as opposed to on the side) and in the same place every time. Again, it is a feel thing.

I do not get into the really picky little things, such as what direction your fingers face or making everyone put there hand in the same place. It will be different for different people. I think that the most damaging aspect of any skill, which coaches seem to add to, is “analysis paralysis.” That is a saying where you worry so much about the little things, you examine what you are doing so much that you paralyze yourself and can’t perform the skill at all. I prefer to remain focused on the big picture.

If adjustments need to be made, make them generally. For example, I will say, “put your hand under the ball,” instead of “put your hand here.” I want players to shoot the basketball without thinking of anything. The more minute you get with technique, the more they think about and the less effective they become.

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Basketball Shooting Workouts and Practice Tips

By Jeff Haefner

To become a better shooter, you need to practice smart.  And just as important, you need some good basketball shooting workouts that actually make you better.  Too many players practice aimlessly without an intelligent plan.  You can get an edge on your competition by practicing smart and following a logical plan!

Here are a few important guidelines when you workout and practice shooting:

1 – Set goals based on number of shots (or makes), NOT time!

Do you make this mistake?

You could literally practice for an entire hour and only take 100 shots.  That’s not enough and you might be neglecting certain types of shots that are important.  If you just go to the gym with the idea that you’ll shoot for an hour, then you’ll discover that you waste a lot of time dribbling around.  You just don’t get in a good workout.

All the pros and great shooters set a goal for a certain number of shots, no matter how long it takes.  You can set your goals based on “makes” or “attempts”.  It’s really up to you.  It’s more challenging to base your workout on “makes”.  So if you’re looking for a challenge, that’s the way to go.

The key is to get to enough of shooting repetitions.  You should shoot at least a few hundred shots at each practice session.  Setting the right goal will help you get in the reps!

2 – Chart your progress.

To improve your confidence, start charting all of the shots that you take in practice.  It’s easy to do and you’ll be absolutely amazed at how much it helps.

After every practice session, keep track of what kind of shots you took, the number of shots taken and the number of shots that you actually made.  Take the time to develop a basketball shooting chart, because it really helps.

3 – Work on each type of shot.

When practicing, be sure to work on the following types of shots:

  • Shooting off of the “catch”
  • Shooting off of the “dribble”
  • Stepping into your shot from both directions (right and left foot).
  • Various ranges that are games like shots for you.
  • Shooting from a “jump-stop” (only if you have mastered the step-in technique or if your coach directs you to use a jump-stop motion).

4 – Go at Game Speed.

If you don’t go at game speed in practice, then your shooting percentage in games will be lower than it should be.  If you have ever played, you will understand the actual speed of a game.

5 – Shoot game-like shots.

Shooting game-like shots may be completely different for two people on the same team.  One player may take the majority of his shots flashing to the ball from anywhere within 12 feet of the hoop.  Another player may take the majority of his shots from 15 to 20 feet.  That’s why it’s important to meet with your coach and ask what type of shots you’ll take within the offense, so you know what you should practice.

6 – Gradually move back, working on all ranges.

Don’t neglect mid-range shots.  Too many players have holes in their game because they don’t practice mid-range shots.  Michael Jordan made a living off mid-range jump shots.

7 – Incorporate free throws into your routine.

If you get winded, catch your breath by shooting a few free throws.  This is a good way to manage your time effectively.  You’ll get more done, in less time!

8 – Use chairs to help you practice footwork and simulate game-like conditions.

You can easily simulate game like situations (dribbling around defenders, running around screens, etc) by using chairs.

If you have a partner, you can still use chairs.  The player shooting the basketball gets his own rebound and passes it back to the partner standing by the chair.  The partner places the ball on the chair.  The shooter continues the same pattern on the opposite side.  If the shooter misses, rebound the shot and finish with a lay up.

For more chair drills, see the basketball shooting drills in our full blown shooting course.

Example of a Good Basketball Shooting Workout

Here’s an example of a good basketball shooting workout…

Polish mechanics and shooting form

At the beginning of your workout, you should focus on shooting form for a little while.  This will help to keep your mechanics from slowly drifting in the wrong direction.

Spend about 4-5 minutes practicing the following:

  • Shoot the ball one-handed away from the basket (this can be to a partner, line on the floor, or spot on the wall).
  • Shoot the ball one-handed at the basket (up close, just two or three feet away)

Groove your shot to build confidence and positive mental images.

Of key importance is starting each and every workout with at least 50 shots close to the basket to groove your shot.  No matter what else you include in your routine, don’t leave these easy shots out!

So, at this point, you should shoot using your normal two-handed grip (shot and balance hand) up close to the basket.  These are supposed to be easy shots.

Practice catching and shooting by stepping into the shot (pivoting)

Now you can gradually move back and work on various shooting situations.

Spin-flip the ball to yourself, as if you’re catching a pass and shooting.  Mix up shots from different angles and distances — top of key, right elbow, left baseline, etc.

  • Shoot 25, 8-foot jump shots, stepping in with left foot pivot.
  • Shoot 25, 8-foot jump shots, stepping in with right foot pivot.
  • Shoot 25, 12-foot jump shots, stepping in with left foot pivot.
  • Shoot 25, 12-foot jump shots, stepping in with right foot pivot.
  • Shoot 25, 16-foot jump shots, stepping in with left foot pivot.
  • Shoot 25, 16-foot jump shots, stepping in with right foot pivot.
  • Shoot 25, 18-foot jump shots, stepping in with left foot pivot.
  • Shoot 25, 18-foot jump shots, stepping in with right foot pivot.

Free throws

  • Shoot 50 free throws.

Practice shooting off the dribble
Instead of flipping the ball to yourself, you now take a couple of hard dribbles and pull up into your jump shot.

  • Shoot 10, 8-foot jump shots, dribbling to the right.
  • Shoot 10, 8-foot jump shots, dribbling to the left.
  • Shoot 10, 12-foot jump shots, dribbling to the right.
  • Shoot 10, 12-foot jump shots, dribbling to the left.
  • Shoot 10, 18-foot jump shots, dribbling to the right.
  • Shoot 10, 18-foot jump shots, dribbling to the left.

Free throws

  • Shoot 10 free throws.
  • Shoot 10 random jump shots
  • Shoot 10 free throws.
  • Shoot 10 random jump shots
  • Shoot 10 free throws.
  • Shoot 10 random jump shots
  • Shoot 10 free throws.
  • Shoot 10 random jump shots

With this routine, you shoot several hundred shots, including free throws, shots off of the “catch,” and shots off of your dribble.

Designing your own basketball shooting workout

There are hundreds of options when designing a routine.  Since every player is different and needs to emphasize different things, you should develop your own specific workout.

Now it certainly helps to find a bunch of good workout examples to give you ideas.  And you can use those shooting workouts as a base to design your own.  But don’t just use a cookie cutter workout.  You’ll cut yourself short.  Start with some examples, then as you learn, start to design your own custom shooting workout.

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21 Easy Ways to Improve Your Basketball Shooting Percentage

By Jeff Haefner

Tip #1 – Locate Your Target (the Rim) Earlier

Getting in the habit of locating your target (the rim) earlier will improve your shooting percentage.  Why?

Locating the rim just a split second earlier gives your brain more time to subconsciously calculate distance and focus on your objective. Your eyes should be on the rim as early as possible. To make this little trick work, you need to develop this habit in practice, which carries over into games.

Tip #2 – Always Hold Your Follow Throughfollow-through-full.jpg

You’ve probably heard this a hundred times but there’s good reason for it.  Holding your follow through solves a multitude of shooting problems.  This simple movement helps you maintain good basketball shooting technique without even thinking about it.

Tip #3 – Finish with a Relaxed Wrist

A common mistake is for players to follow-through with a tense wrist.  Your wrist should be as relaxed as possible.  Your hand should finish on line and even bounce a little during the follow-through.

Tip #4 – Use a Colored Ball to Improve Rotation

To improve the straightness of your shot, try a colored basketball during practice.   This makes it easy to see the rotation and direction of the ball.  The immediate feedback makes it quick and easy for you to adjust and improve your shot.

Tip #5 – Don’t Shoot like Kobe (By Hanging In The Air)

TOO many kids try to copy Kobe and end up with bad shots for the REST OF THEIR LIVES!

Youngsters have no business trying to hang like Kobe and shoot.  Kobe is a freak of nature!  You should shoot as you’re going up (at least 1 inch before you reach the top of your jump).  Trying to mimic Kobe’s shot will just earn you a place on the bench and lots of frustration.

Tip #6 – Stop Thinking about Your Shot During Games

One of the worst things you can do is think about your shooting mechanics during a game.

Thinking about your shot is for practice, NOT for games!  In fact, you should only think during certain parts of your practice.  It’s ok to think during a form shooting session or when learning a new skill, but once you start developing rhythm and get further into practice, don’t think!

During games, train yourself to think about other things or nothing at all.

You’re going to miss a few.  So what!  Don’t think, just shoot the damn ball!!!

If you adopt this mentality, your shooting percentage will go UP.

Tip # 7 – Eliminate Negative Thoughts with this Simple Trick

Eliminating negative thoughts can dramatically improve your basketball shooting percentage.

To stop thinking and eliminate bad thoughts, you can try this little trick…

Before each game, practice, and shooting session, tell yourself that you don’t care if you make any baskets.   Say it out loud or in your head several times.

THEN, when you go to shoot (right as you’re catching the ball), say something to yourself like, “Nice shot. I can do better.”  In other words, try not to care if it goes in or not.

This simple little trick helps you to relax into the process and not think about the result. Using this technique will be enough to break you out of mini slumps and restore your confidence.

Tip #8 – Develop Optimal Arc

DID YOU KNOW that a shot with a flat 35 degree arc only has .6 inches of margin for the ball to clear without hitting the rim?  The shot has to be almost perfect to get a swish.

BUT a shot with a 45 degree medium height arc has a 3 inch margin of error!

That’s right.  Just by increasing the arc of your shot, your margin of error could increase as much as 500%!

How many shots bounce OUT of the basket because you missed by just a fraction?

As a general rule of thumb, finish your follow through with the rim clearly visible beneath the fingers of your shooting hand.  That way you will ensure that you have a decent arc on the shot.  Shots with proper arch have a much better chance of going in.

Just don’t go too high.  Because if your arc gets too high, you’ll loose your distance control.

Tip #9 – Watch DVDs

Simply by watching great shooters groove their shots over and over, you can improve your confidence and form.

The good habits and examples can be contagious.  As you watch, the good form becomes ingrained in your mind.

Not to mention, you should never stop learning.  There are lots of good shooting DVDs and books for you to learn from.

Tip #10 – Use a Partner to Tune your Shot Alignment

Spend a little time during each practice lined up along a court line about 20 feet from a partner, shooting back and forth and trying to have the ball bounce as close to the line as possible. This simple practice technique will help you to fine tune your control of the precision of your shot.

Tip #11 – Land In Front

Balance is a very important aspect of shooting.  You achieve balance primarily through a proper stance and footwork. 

After your shot, you should land in front of where you started.  You can do this by making sure that your momentum is going towards the basket on every catch. You should also establish good balance from your stance.

Tip #12 – Film Your Shot

You’d be amazed at how filming your shot in both games and practices can help you.

The most common response from players is… “That’s how I shoot!!??”

That’s right.  Most players haven’t seen their own shot before. Seeing your shot on film can help you to detect poor mechanics and motivate you to make commitments for improvement.  Bottom line– it’s a great way to refine your shot.

Tip #13 – Get a Partner

When possible, try to shoot with a partner.  Because when you’re alone, you end up chasing the rebound before following through properly.

This is important.  Think about how you practice…

You shoot and then you start following the shot immediately so you can get lots of reps.  Guess what?  This can mess up your follow-through.  You need to FINISH each shot and hold your follow-through.  That’s why we recommend getting a partner to rebound for you.  Now just because you can’t find a partner you can (and should) still practice by yourself.  Just be aware of holding your follow through.

Tip #14 – Fix Bad Habits by Immediately Correcting Your Shot

This is one of the easiest ways to break bad shooting habits.  For example, let’s say you forgot to hold your follow-through.  Well, immediately after you shoot, raise your hand back up and put your hand in the correct follow-through position.  This simple technique will help you quickly correct the bad habit

Tip #15 – Use a Return Device

Using basketball rebounding and return devices can literally double the number of shots you can take in practice.  Just think how much time you spend chasing the ball when you practice.  A return device solves that problem and lets you take more shots in less time.

Tip #16 – Get To Set

When you catch the ball, you should get the ball to your set position as quickly as possible. This will speed up your shot. Your set point can be anywhere between your hip and your shoulder.

Tip #17 – Don’t Fall for Gimmicks

Too many players spend their hard earned money on shooting gloves and gimmicks, thinking this will make them great shooters.

You can’t use these devices during a game so it really doesn’t do you much good.  You need to learn how to shoot effectively without these devices.  There is NO magic pill.

Tip # 18 – Keep Your Shot Motion Balanced, Fluid, and Consistent

A fluid motion means that there are no jerky movements or stopping points, just one constant flow from start to finish.

Consistency can’t be stressed enough.  Your feet, arms, set point, and jump height should use a consistent motion every time you shoot.  All the greatest shooters in the world have amazingly consistent movements.

Tip #19 – Groove 50 Shots Before Every Game

Before every practice and game, face the basket and shoot 50 EASY shots about four to ten feet from the basket.

Not only does this improve your shooting form, but it helps to develop phenomenal confidence.

You’ll quickly become very good at grooving these shots over and over.  You’ll see the ball going in the basket over and over.  You’ll swish the ball repeatedly and probably shoot 60%, 70%, 80%, or more, which is great for your psyche.

Why do you think that NBA players do this before games?  Why do you think that Tiger Woods starts all of his practice sessions by making 100 three-foot putts?

Because it works!  Don’t overlook this powerful strategy.

Tip #20 – Quickly Chart Your Shot to Determine Tendencies

Head to the gym and shoot a bare minimum of 50 shots.  Ask your partner to chart your shots.  The KEY is to chart the detailed results of each shot.  You will track how many shots fell short, too long, to the left, and to the right.  This information will help you to determine what you need to work on.

For example, if you consistently miss short (like many players do), you’ll need to work on your power and distance control.  If you consistently miss to the right and the left, you need to fix the mechanics of your foot and/or arm alignment.

Tip #21 – Work Game-Like Movement into Your Practice

To make game shots, you need to practice game shots.  You should use good shooting drills and practice movement off screens, cuts, chairs, and pivoting in both directions.

Get to the Gym and Apply What You’ve Learned

There ya go… 21 simple ways for you to improve your basketball shooting percentage.  Now get to the gym, apply what you’ve learned, and knock down more shots!!

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Announcing our NEW Basketball Shooting Guide and Limited Time Discount: Increase Your Shooting Percentage

By Jeff Haefner

After 3 rewrites, over 1000 hours of research, 6 interviews with shooting experts, and tons of hard work…

We have FINALLY released the NEW Breakthrough Basketball Shooting System and Step by Step Guide!!

In this brand new system COACHES will discover…

  • How to improve your entire teams shooting percentage.
  • 55 new basketball shooting drills.
  • 8 super effective shooting workouts.
  • How to consistently develop long range shooters.
  • The mental aspects of shooting.
  • How to teach shooting fundamentals.
  • How to easily break your players out of shooting slumps.
  • Tips from the world’s BEST shooters and instructors.

Basketball PLAYERS will discover…

  • How to become one of the best shooters in your league.
  • 8 super effective shooting workouts.
  • The mental aspects of shooting and how to easily get an edge on your competition.
  • How to get more playing time.
  • How you could earn a college scholarship.
  • How to increase your shooting range.
  • 18 basketball shooting drills for players.
  • Tips from the world’s BEST shooters and NBA instructors.

Limited Time Discount 

You can get this new system at a discounted rate during the next 7 days, so be sure to check it out soon…

Tips From the World’s BEST Shooters and NBA Instructors 

The most exciting part about this program is that we have gathered advice and tips from some of the greatest shooting coaches and resources in the world.  We gathered all the best information we could find and compiled it in ONE PLACE.

We interviewed these 6 basketball shooting experts that have unbelievable credentials.  We also reviewed and researched dozens of DVDs and books to make sure we knew everything there was to know about shooting the basketball.

We’re really excited because this allowed us to create a phemonal product that is very unique and unlike anythign you’ve seen before.

The off-season is the best time to improve…

One thing you’ll discover is that the best time to improve shooting is in the off-season.  Whether you’re a player trying to improve your shooting percentage, or a coach trying to improve your entire team’s shooting percentage… most of the improvements happen in the off-season.  We’ll show you step by step what you should do in the off season and during the full swing of your basketball season.

Check out it out and let us know what you think: