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Form Shooting Drill

Drill Purpose (All Ages)

This drill will improve shooting form and develop good shooting habits so once players get in a game, they will consistently use proper form without thinking about it. This simple drill is critical for youth player and can greatly improve shooting percentages for all types of players. All youth coaches should run this drill almost daily.

Breakthrough Bonus: Download this "Form Shooting" article as a FREE PDF! (Download Now!)

Instructions

First of all, it's important to understand that this is drill requires you and all your players to pay very close attention to the details. It also requires a lot of repetitions. This is all about developing perfect shooting form, so once you get in a game you use the proper form without even thinking about it.

Note: For the first time around, you'll need to demonstrate proper technique to all your players.

  1. Each player needs to grab a basketball and find a basket. It works best to have three players (or less) at each basket. Two players on each side of the basket and one in front.

  2. Each player should stand about 2 feet from the basket. (Yes, it's only two feet. Do not stand farther back!)

  3. For right handed shooters, your right foot should be centered with the basket and pointing directly towards the middle of the basket.

  4. Your left foot should be positioned shoulder width apart in a comfortable position. Most players leave their left foot slightly behind the other foot. The left foot should be pointing in the relative area of the basket but probably should not be pointing directly at it. Most players feel the most comfortable with their left foot pointing just to the left of the basket.

  5. Bend your knees, at a comfortable angle somewhere around 45 degrees.

  6. Now if you're feet are aligned properly, the rest of your body should follow suit.

  7. Hold the ball in your hand, palm facing up. Your non-shooting hand can dangle to the side.

  8. Slowly bring the ball in and hold is as if you were shooting with one hand.

  9. Your arm should form a 90 degree angle.

  10. Your tricep should be parallel with the floor and directly above your right leg.

  11. Your wrist should be bent with fingers spread out. The ball should be sitting on your finger pads, NOT your finger tips.

  12. Your index finger should be in the center of the ball.

  13. Pause. This is when you make sure your arm, feet, and everything is in the correct form.

  14. Look at the front of the rim.

  15. Proceed to shoot with one hand, leaving your off hand to the side. The player should use his legs on every shot. At the end of the shot, the player should be up on his toes. This is very important, because players generate most of their strength from their legs to shoot the ball to the basket.

  16. Hold your follow through. Tell your players, "It's like reaching into a cookie jar."

  17. Grab the ball and repeat the process.

  18. Get the ball quickly but don't hurry your shot! Take your time.

  19. Each player should get a minimum of 20 repetitions, but 50 or 100 would be better.

   Form shooting1 (8K)
Progression

As players master this skill, you can progress to other variations:

  1. Use two hands instead of one. Just make sure the off hand is one the side of the ball and not used to propel the ball.
  2. Do a jump shot. You should still stay two feet from the basket.
  3. Flip the ball to yourself, pivot, and shoot a jump shot. Again, stay close to the basket and make sure you proper form, even though you are going slightly faster. Do not sacrifice form!
For more advanced players, we commonly start with one-hand form shooting and progress all the way to pivots. We generally spend a few minutes on each progression and check all the players to make sure their form is not slipping.


Points of Emphasis

Continually tell your players...

  • Hold your follow through.
  • Take your time and always make sure your form is perfect.
  • Bend your knees.
  • Don't stand back too far! Stay just a couple feet from the basket.


Motivation / Teaching Tips

Tip #1 - Tell you players, "Once you get good at it, don't think you can stop. There are NBA players that do form shooting everyday!"

Tip #2 - Assign a coach to each basket to make sure they are using proper form. Help them correct any problems. If they don't do it properly, this drill is a waste of time.

Tip #3 - Make sure your players do NOT dip one shoulder or lean too far forward. When shooting, you want your players to have an erect torso. I like to use the phrase "shoot tall."

Tip #4 - If you as a coach, don't know all the aspects of proper shooting form, consider picking up a good shooting video. We covered the basics above but there are more things to look for, like hand placement on the ball and so on.


Recommended Training Materials & Resources:

Basketball Workout Plan App - 80+ Workouts Developed By NBA Skills Trainer

Baden 28.5" Shooting Basketball

Baden Heavy Training Basketball - 29.5'

Baden 35" Oversized Training Basketball

Rapid Fire - II - Basketball Rebounding/Return Device





What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...





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Comments

Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

Coach Berry says:
12/27/2006 at 11:10:00 AM

I've used this drill at the beginning of my practices for years.
What I do in addition for this drill is include the following rules...
1. If you make 5 shots in a row (no backboard), you take one step backward.
2. If you MISS 3 shots in a row, you take one step toward the hoop (unless you're at the original position).
These rules give a bit of an incentive for better concentration.

Like
   

trace austin says:
12/27/2006 at 2:31:23 PM

thank you for this drill and tips. i am coaching a 9 and 10 year old girls team(my daughter)and i have been trying to teach proper shooting form to several of the girls. i have been playing basketball since i was 5 and know proper form but wasn't able to get consistently get my point across. i am confident this will help and plan on using during my practices. thank you.

Like
   

odelia says:
12/28/2006 at 12:20:20 PM

tyvm im learning alot from ur tips and drills.

Like
   

Trish says:
12/29/2006 at 10:59:29 PM

I really appreciate the newsletter and the tips. I haven't coached for a long time, and so an assistant volunteer turned into a head coach volunteer for my daughters 5-6th grade teem. I have enjoyed reading up on drills, plays and tips. They are a lot of help!

Thanks!

Trish

Like
   

Ariel Rabe says:
1/2/2007 at 1:15:12 AM

It is much easier to teach shooting skills to beginners than kids who have played basketball or who have experienced playing in mini-tournaments and eventually acquired poor shooting habits, sadly with nobody telling them the right form or shooting mechanics. Please allow me to share this. In shooting, my focus is, as I call it, on the 4 S of shooting: spacing, spread, side to side control, stretching plus the "finger ruler" rule where the index finger is positioned in the "center" of the ball, at eye-brow and forehead level, comfortably straight like a ruler and follow-through. The 4 s is actually similar to developing dribbling skills. Thanks a lot and Happy New Year!

Like
   

Mohamed Hammad says:
1/16/2007 at 2:06:55 AM

Indeed i found it much easier to teach the proper shooting form using one hand then with 2 hands,,I coach a 9-10 years old boys.They're progressing in a very noticeable way..I'm thinking of buying shooting equipments like:the shooting gloves and other equipments that helps in shooting with perfect form.
Thank you very much .

Like
   

hany says:
8/30/2007 at 9:29:23 AM

this drill is verry good but with guides under 14 years i want drill to hi jump in lay up

Like
   

Lucy says:
10/4/2007 at 9:16:49 AM

All information is very important for me and my students.They help to teach of the this game very well.
Regards
Lucy

Like
   

jj says:
11/2/2007 at 12:22:39 AM

the "cookie jar idea"....is a bad idea. When kids think of putting their hand in a cookie jar the visualize their fingers CLOSED. Instead their fingers sshould be spread slighlty apart. The cookie jar thing is a common myth.

Like
   

Joe (Co-Founder of Breakthrough Basketball) says:
11/2/2007 at 11:44:41 AM

Hi JJ,

Yes, that is a good point and the hand is supposed to be relaxed. Coaches should point out the proper follow through and not rely on a kid’s wide interpretation of what “putting their hand in the cookie jar” might entail. The cookie jar is just a fun analogy to help kids remember to hold their follow through. You should also be careful about telling kids to have fingers spread apart. Instead, it should be a relaxed and comfortable follow through. Finger should not be too wide, and not too close together. A stiff follow through will result in a lower shooting percentage. The keyword here is “relaxed”.



If anyone has another good follow through analogy, please share…

Like
  1 reply  

Amos says:
12/13/2015 at 10:41:26 AM

When you first reach into the cookie jar, your fingers are open and relaxed like you want it to be on the follow through.

Like
   


al bouldin says:
11/17/2007 at 8:50:19 AM

I am a first year coach working with JV and Varsity girls. Many of my girls have been shooting with incorrect form for so long. Although I have applied these drills, it seems my veterans resort back to their old ways. I know it takes more than a couple of weeks to fix years of incorrect mechanics. Any suggestions other than have patience. Thanks

Like
   

Jeff Haefner says:
11/17/2007 at 9:01:31 AM

Al,

Yes, we all face that same problem! I have a few suggestions to help break those old shooting habits:

1) Practice shooting form away from the basket. When ever changing mechanics you should move away from the basket. You can shoot to a partner, shoot from a chair in the air, shoot to a place on the wall, or shoot to a place on the floor.

Why? Because when you change mechanics, the first thing that happens when you shoot, is you miss. This is very discouraging for a player. They immediately think their old way is better and they want instant gratification, so they go back to the old way.

2) Lots of repetition. It takes hundreds and thousands of reps to break old habits.

3) Explain that they will be much better in the long run and it takes time.

I suggest listening to this interview, which explains how to solve this problem in more detail:
http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/audio/news7kelbick.html

Good luck!

Jeff Haefner
http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com

Like
   

steve dement says:
11/21/2007 at 7:27:08 PM

Al-
I have coached for thirty years and am coaching varsity girls at a new h.s. this year.
Whether coaching girls or boys I have always found it beneficial when teaching a new fundamental in shooting, have them shoot to a partner or at a spot on the wall. Usually what happens when using the basket is they focus more on result (making it) instead of the process (changing it), thus they resort back to old habits. Hope this helps.
-steve dement

Like
   

Vince says:
11/24/2007 at 5:44:17 AM

Re: the 'cookie jar' thing - I was always taught the 'gooseneck' and 'wave the ball goodbye'. Waving goodbye is good because it implies a loose, relaxed wrist.

Thanks guys for the drills, and brilliant website. No doubt will be spending a lot of time on here. Greetings from the UK. Vince.

Like
   

wael says:
12/21/2007 at 12:30:55 PM

thanx for this very important information that u send me.
*the deffense link u send it to me need acredit card and i didn't use it,so try to send me another some thing i can use it,thank u.
*i need drills and plays that could help players to move and play as ateam(basic drills).
*i need more drills for 1/1and 2/2-3/3-forgive me because i ask u for alot of things,but i'm anew coach and i want to be agood one.thanx

Like
   

stefan aurelian says:
12/26/2007 at 9:14:23 PM

all is very corect, i've seen that after i read it.
it helped me to really realise what i've done 3-4 years
amazing!!!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!
i am sure this will help and guide a lot of youngs players.

all my respects, ASH

Like
   

Max Guidi says:
1/23/2008 at 11:03:23 AM

Al
These drills are very good for players around 8-11 years old. Sooner or later they will learn the correct shooting form.
These drills really help.Everything is a good idea, but the ''cookie jar'' thing, not really.
I would rather watch Ray Allen attempt a jump shot.


Max

Like
   

kami says:
1/30/2008 at 4:00:40 PM


This is a very good drill for ages 8-11 but i am a bit older then that and i need better drills to learn but other people need to check this web out because other then this being to young it good information!


= ]]

Like
   

Sikander says:
2/6/2008 at 4:25:16 AM

I want some basketball freinds send me a mail i live in Bochum

sikander_isa@hotmail.com

Like
   

abdulai abdul fatawu says:
2/9/2008 at 6:23:38 AM

Dear sir/madam,
my name is fatawu i am a basketball player in Ghana tamale.i play in a team call northen rockets.i am 14 years of age.i will be very greatfrull if you could kingly send me a book of how to play basketball so that i will be good in my sociert.because i want to be like IVERSON.bye for now.
ABDULAI ABDUL FATAWU,
P O BOX TL402,
TAMALE GHANA.

Like
   

morina says:
2/21/2008 at 6:23:50 PM

thank's about this ,it's very good

Like
   

Rick Allison says:
3/14/2008 at 12:40:41 PM

I have found that doing this type of form shooting with a heavy ball (twice weight of a regulation ball) adds a bit of functional strength training to the shot release mechanics. However, I require that the shooter''s off hand be in its proper position on the side of the ball (but not touching the ball). This keeps the shoulders square and does not introduce a body position that does not naturally occur during shooting (i.e., arm at the side).

Everything should be focused on developing proper muscle memory. After a sequence of rotation through 5 spots around the basket, we move back two big steps (allow the off hand to be placed on the ball) and introduce some combination motion mechanics, such as, triple threat/shot fake/strong-side jab/shot...or, triple threat/shot fake/cross-jab/shot...or, triple threat/shot fake/strong-side jab/shot fake/cross-jab/shot. Focus is on efficiency of ball movement (i.e., straight-line movements), body positioning and motion mechanics. With the heavy ball this has the added benefit of working on some transverse functional strength movements.

I have found this short, heavy ball, near-basket shooting routine has helped to improve shooting range with proper mechanics. Made baskets during the heavy ball routine are secondary in importance to proper form and follow through.

Rick Allison
LoneStar Basketball Academy
http://www.lonestarbasketball.com
[[[ C2E ]]]

Like
   

ahmed says:
4/7/2008 at 9:43:11 AM

good site for basketball

Like
   

Tdub14 says:
4/21/2008 at 9:17:47 PM

I have been playing basketball for 10 years. I am 15. Ive been to a bazillion camps. I made varsity my freshman year. I practice everyday. and everyday i practice the basics. If you want to be a good shooter you have to go up to your basket and practice your form. I usually spend 3-4 hours a day in my driveway trying to make perfect swishes. Very close to the basket at first. If I make 3 in a row without the ball touching the rim I take a step back, until i get to the 3 point line. then i start over. It has made me a very good shooter.

I also coach 6,7th and 8th graders. Its hard to get them to shoot well because they dont have enough strength to get the ball up. My advice would be just go over the basics with them. Put them all at a basket and do the drill described above and have a contest ( if you dont they wont try). If you have an assistant one of you stand on one side of the court, making sure they perfectly swish it and dont touch the rim. Whoever makes the most wins. Im going to do it in my next practice

Like
   

john says:
5/4/2008 at 9:32:22 PM

this helped me alot so it can help you keep on trucin with that shot

Like
   

Eric says:
6/5/2008 at 11:11:36 PM

The instructions are well stated but I hope you can come up with pictures so that those younger age players will have a clear visualization of the process. Furthermore, these tips are great, or make the best!

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
6/6/2008 at 5:23:46 PM

Hi Eric,

You can find pictures at this link: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/fundamentals/shooting.html

Hope that helps.

Joe Haefner
www.breakthroughbasketball.com

Like
   

Tim says:
6/14/2008 at 9:05:20 AM

Do all 3 players shoot at the same time or 1 at a time explain the 3 players at a basket and how they interact and take turns?

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
6/14/2008 at 1:55:43 PM

Hi Tim,

A player will be in front of the rim, a player will on the side of the rim, and another player will be on the other side of the rim. You blow the whistle and tell them to start.

Tell the players to take a few shots, then shoot from a different shot. As for shooting at the same time and rotating, the players usually figure that out themselves. I've never had a problem with it.

Joe Haefner
www.breakthroughbasketball.com

Like
   

yuval bizur from israel says:
7/5/2008 at 1:43:37 AM

you must tell your players to put three fingers on the horizontel line ,
ih order yo have a good and fuster speen of the ball.
tell them to take the fingers slithly back on sendung the ball away.

Like
   

coachj says:
7/12/2008 at 4:34:07 AM

thanks very for a new tips, new knowleged in form of shooting. This can help us in our team to improve our shooting. Thanks very much and GODBLESS!

Like
   

david says:
7/13/2008 at 7:28:57 AM

thank you very much i have been trying to improve my players close range and overal shooting ability this also helps my players with there rebounding also thank you so much.


Like
   

Lari says:
7/17/2008 at 5:32:34 PM

This drill is very good to practice shooting the correct way!!! Whenever i warm-up i do these drills so i can get the feel to shoot and have good control of my shots!!!


Like
   

irishman says:
8/10/2008 at 1:57:07 PM

dear coach i am having trouble with my boys baseline shooting and there overal speed what would you reckamend ?

Like
   

Jeff Haefner says:
8/10/2008 at 5:52:51 PM

Irishman,

To improve your teams shooting check out our new basketball shooting guide:
http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/pr/btshooting.html

This covers pretty much all aspects of shooting.

Jeff

Like
   

irishman says:
8/14/2008 at 10:25:44 AM

its all well and good saying that the book is gonna do this but im not gonna pay for somethin without some shooting drill examples in section 2 thanks for nothing

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
8/14/2008 at 11:02:33 AM

Irishman, you bring up a good point. That is something we are actually working on. Putting samples from the product on the page, so you can determine if you are interested. We do have sample drills that we would use on drills page: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/drills/basketballdrills.html

and shooting fundamentals here: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/fundamentals/shooting.html

Hopefully, that helps.

Like
   

irishman says:
8/19/2008 at 7:00:14 AM

ive already seen these drills and with 6 to 9 players its hard to keep them involved wothout complecating things (i only have a half court) what NEW drills do you recamend

Like
   

bradon says:
11/11/2008 at 10:17:46 PM

thank u i have a great shot now

Like
   

coach dixon says:
11/18/2008 at 6:49:05 PM

thanks for sharing all of these tips they will be helpful in preparing my 9 and 10 year olds for the upcoming season

Like
   

Alan Young says:
11/29/2008 at 4:04:34 PM

... I've been playing basketball in league's for around 11 years, (4th Grade-Sophomore year in college) and all my coaches taught me to look at the back of the rim, not the front...

Like
   

Justin says:
12/3/2008 at 12:02:06 PM

I really enjoy your tips. I just bought a video that was recommended (swish 2) I have two very good athletes that have very ugly shots. We do form shooting daily, but they do everything right handed in life EXCEPT shoot. It looks sick. They are strong kids so they don't need to use two hands. Any advice? Do you think Swish2 will help me? What can I do in the meantime as I wait for the video?

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
12/3/2008 at 1:49:30 PM

Hi Justin,

Once you get Swish 2, I believe it will provide you with a lot of good shooting information to start with. We also have a lot of good information on our shooting page: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/fundamentals/shooting.html

We also have developed our own product on shooting that includes an ebook that covers the fundamentals of shooting, an ebook that covers shooting drills, and an ebook that covers shooting workouts. it also includes audio of 6 shooting experts we interviewed. If you are interested, you can check out it out here: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/pr/btshooting.html

Like
   

Dan says:
12/4/2008 at 11:29:59 PM

I have found 9 to 10 year olds do not have the strength in their arms and wrists for this drill. At this age, both hands are needed to shoot the ball. We discuss proper form and by age 12 to 14, the strength will start to develop.

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
12/5/2008 at 1:29:21 PM

Hi Dan,

For younger players, my advice would be to use lower hoops and smaller balls. This makes a huge difference.

I would also advise to teach shooting form away from the basket, so "made" shots do not influence the way young players choose to shoot the ball.

They see one go in and they think they should shoot like that everytime, when that same shooting form they used to make the shot could be detrimental to them improving in the future.

Like
   

mick says:
3/13/2009 at 9:21:52 AM

dear coach

my players are getting tired of the same drills , can you please email me some new drills that arent to complicated and that we as a team ( and i as a coach)
can pick up quick

Like
   

michael says:
3/21/2009 at 9:33:19 PM

i thought you had to look at the back of the rim when you shoot.

Like
   

shawnrobson says:
4/14/2009 at 9:02:56 AM

i am just looking for stuff to teach and talk about with preschoolers and so them how to shoot

Like
   

Byron Mcvay says:
10/14/2009 at 5:17:19 PM

Hey thanks this has really helped me becom a better shot we use this during basketball practice alot to make us better, but it helps to hold your follow thorugh with your fingers WIDE. GO GOLDEN EAGLES

Like
   

Ben Freeman says:
11/13/2009 at 9:49:40 AM

Hey coach, I am a middle school boy's coach and my playing days have been reduced to a recreational league every winter. However, every year when getting the rust off the jumper, this is the drill I begin every workout session with. It's great for triggering old muscle memory or reinforcing new muscle memory for youth players.

Like
   

Ryley says:
11/23/2009 at 12:04:28 AM

Hi i really like these drills and newsletters. I am the captin of my team and i need some help with my left hand i can dribble really good left handed but its the close shots and lay ups left handed i need work on. If you have any tips, suggestions, or sites that could help me please anwser back.thanks so much!!


From ryley down on the coast of fundy bay

Like
   

Alex Risner says:
12/19/2009 at 3:07:42 PM

I really like these drills. The only thing I can think of is that you need some more one person drills. A lot of people I know don't have anyone to help. I would appreciate it if you could find some one person drills.

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
1/7/2010 at 11:10:12 AM

Hi Alex,

We have plenty of player drills in this section. You can almost adjust any of these drills to be done by yourself: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/drills/basketball-drills-players.html

Like
   

Coach Jim says:
1/18/2010 at 4:17:36 AM

I would to others that player should end up with elbow above your eye, so that players willlearn proper arch technique.

Like
   

ICFire says:
1/23/2010 at 3:03:18 PM

Hi, I have just linked your site to mine. Please can you post my link here?

http://toplaywithfire.blogspot.com/

Your link is already on my site, that would be awesome if you could return the favor.

Like
   

Alan says:
4/15/2010 at 1:02:27 AM

Something on top of this I tell my guys -- I was going to your thoughts on this.... I tell them to concentrate on one part of the rim, right in the center of where they want to shoot it. Also, they should try to make the shot nothing but net everytime... this helps to develop touch.... Joe / Jeff any thoughts?

Like
   

Jeff Haefner says:
4/15/2010 at 8:07:00 AM

Alan - I think that's fine. It seems that everyone has a different opinion on this topic and I think the coach and/or player should just do whats comfortable.

The main thing is to put your eyes on the target early. Some kids look at the basket too late or never completely look at the target.

Like
   

Slim says:
6/26/2010 at 11:13:00 PM

Hey son,
I got a microfracture surgery on my knee, and i cant play ball for a while. Ive lost all my muscle memory, and before i got surgery I had some serious game, is there anything I can do to to restore some of it, im a little rusty. Please help

-Slim

Like
   

Issues in Sport says:
10/1/2010 at 4:46:59 AM

This is one of my favorite shooting and conditioning drills. I learned a version of this drill when I was an assistant with the WNBA Washington Mystics. It is a catch and shoot drill with varying basketball movements built into it. You will be amazed what great basketball conditioning it is too.

Like
   

Professional Sports Fan says:
1/4/2011 at 2:09:25 AM

The drills a team practices, however, have to be planned with a certain strategy so they address the right issues for the players. The guidelines for basketball drills that are suggested in this article will help you team to get the most out of all practice sessions.

Like
   

Professional Sports Fan says:
1/13/2011 at 8:38:01 PM

One player who is part of the loop will pass to the hub player and then go after his pass (he will run toward the center to become the next receiver and passer). Then the center player will overtake to the player to the right of the player who just conceded the ball to the center. That middle player will then fall into the space in the ring that the other player just gone.

Like
   

joe says:
3/21/2011 at 3:31:13 PM

i am a 13ear old and do this drill almost every other day . it really helps my technique form and focus when doing this drill. any advice on how to train to shoot equally the same with both hands. I am a lefty but can do other sports stuff with my right as well. my right handed lay up ia average . tips please.

Like
   

mercedes says:
5/15/2011 at 3:22:39 PM

i love this we site it is useful because i like to practice at home im not a coach

Like
   

Boojonjowie abdul muhammad alah says:
9/19/2011 at 11:36:43 AM

indeed veeeeery niiiiiice :)

Like
   

CuriousNewbie says:
10/31/2011 at 3:40:41 AM

I just started learning and I want to ask, at step 6, its stated that "the rest of your body should follow suit". Should my upper body move backwards a bit? I would like to learn the correct form to shooting so that I could have a good habit and not have a bad habit.
Hope to hear from you soon.

Like
   

Larry says:
6/16/2012 at 3:59:20 PM

I wana go to the nba im real good but my shot im right handed and when i shoot my left hand shoot to im 13 trying to be the best in my county

Like
   

Carlo says:
8/29/2012 at 6:37:30 AM

Hello there :) i tried doing a jumpshot but when i tried it, the ball goes through the ring. How can i control the ball when doing a jumpshot in 2-3 feet? Thank you so much and God bless:)

Like
   

Ken says:
8/29/2012 at 12:03:29 PM

Joe -

Its all about practice, achieving good form and developing muscle memory. Develop a great shot with your dominant hand, making lay ups with your opposite hand takes a lot of practice.
Start close ( just like in BEEF check) take one step and shoot, kind of like Mikan lay ups. Once you have the footwork and shot mastered step back and take on dribble and go into the shot - just keep working your way back.
Once you have this mastered come back and I will explain X out to you.

Newbie -
IF you are talking about jump shots I taught my players to try and land in the spot they took off from or slightly forward. If you fall back your shot will have a tendency to flatten out.

Larry -
I'm not quite sure what you are looking for - work on your form and start in close when you are warming up, work your way back as you achiece success.

Carlo -
Look at what I said to Larry, make sure your form is correct, stay close and work your way back as you achieve success.

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Marlon says:
9/23/2012 at 9:18:54 PM

Scrubs do this drill yo.

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Tracy says:
12/20/2013 at 10:35:07 PM

I am coaching 3rd and 4th grade girls and I have been doing the form shooting drill, and my problem is that now several are having a hard time switching back to using the non shooting hand during other drills and scrimmages. So they will try to shoot with only one hand, and causes them to shoot completely wrong. Any suggestions?

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Jeff Haefner says:
12/21/2013 at 8:36:30 AM

If you feel they have developed a decent release with their shooting hand you can do this drill with two hands (guide hand on the side of the ball) each practice. They can practice catching the ball, bringing it to their shot pocket, and then going up with it.

The only cure is practice and repetition. Any simple shooting drill with them shooting properly and simulating what happens in a game should work.

Keep in mind, teaching 3rd and 4th graders how to shoot is difficult. They are too young to understand many of the concepts and not strong enough to shoot properly. You could argue that 3rd and 4th graders shouldn't even be shooting a basketball yet. Spend plenty of time on things that can do like footwork, dribbling, and passing. I know we live in a world where kids start playing sports designed for adults really early. And we need to make the best of it. So that's just something to keep in mind.

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Burk says:
12/23/2013 at 6:59:53 AM

Where is science behind your instruction? This type of training explains why foul shooting has not improved in 50 years.
Your emphasis on the hand movements in the shot is baffling!
Your method relies on hours and hours of practice for someone to improve. There are no great shooters any more and this non-scientific approach only proliferates mediocrity..watch BernRd King in his hall of fame documentary. There is a shooter!

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Ken Sartini says:
12/23/2013 at 2:12:12 PM

Burke ...

If you are going to be good at anything it takes work.. Whether it is basketball another sport or anything else that you do in life. When it comes to shooting you need to develop a good form where it becomes automatic or what we call muscle memory. This takes a lot of time you are correct.

Once you have developed that muscle memory you can stand at the free-throw line and make a pretty good percentage of them with your eyes closed. You just have to believe in yourself and the muscle memory.

Some of the greatest shooters in the game are the last ones to leave the gym at night. If you watch videos of some of the best at teaching kids how to shoot... You will see that they are all pretty much the same. Tom Nordland has a video on you tube with a 14-year-old boy who is almost automatic..... He worked with him for three years and that's what made him a good shooter.

I remember asking Don Kelbick why some pros have such a hard time shooting free throws. He said for the same reason that college players, high school and middle school players miss.....NERVES.

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Burk says:
5/29/2014 at 3:48:20 PM

What is the purpose of "reaching into the cookie jar"?

It seems absolutely crazy to point your fingers down and away from the target. What is the scientific explanation behind it.

Logic would tell me this is an extra movement which would result in more misses. Golfers focus on having quiet hands so as not to have excess movement and causing them to miss putts.

This movement also seems to put much more spin on the ball causing the ball to bounce more and miss when the ball hits the rim. A scientist would look for the ball to be as soft as possible when hitting the rim. So what is the science behind extra spin? I don't see shooters putting more spin by flicking when they are close to the basket.
Also, flicking is an added movement that slows the shot and lowers the arc. A slow release is susceptible to being blocked and a low arc results in the ball hitting the front of the rim and then the back of the rim and bouncing out (not to mention the added spin it causes)

How has this become an accepted movement? especially when you consider that free throw shooting has not improved in over 50 years.
I would be willing to bet that an engineer or kinesiologist would frown on this extra movement. One's margin of error is 4.5", extra movements would seem to directly affect this margin of error in a negative fashion. So what is the scientific explanation of this "flicking" technique?

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Burk says:
5/29/2014 at 3:57:55 PM

Reply to Ken Sartini,
Your explanation makes no mention of science. Also, it is a well known fact that there is no such thing as muscle memory.
There really are no great shooters today. You mention nerves... Well, why not eliminate the nerves. There are 29 joints and 27 bones in each hand. Emphasis on the hand is counter intuitive to successful shooting. Eliminate those things and you don't have to spend the thousands of hours in the gym to develop the shot.
Foul shooting has not improved in over 50 years.
Guess you didn't take the time to watch one of the greatest shooters in the history of the game. No flicking by him, interesting?
Bernard King, Unstoppable...watch it.

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Ken Sartini says:
5/29/2014 at 7:32:04 PM

Burk -

As for their NOT being something called muscle memory take a look at this and Rick Allison's post. He is one of the great teachers of the game and he talks about MUSCLE MEMORY

Muscle Memory

Have you ever wondered how professional tennis players are able to put a serve right on the line time after tim? How about how a professional golfer is able to pull off pin-point shots with extreme consistency? Aside from intense focus, these athletes are using motor learning, also known as muscle memory. This is essentially teaching your muscles how to repeat movements or techniques over and over.

The theories that explained motor learning were developed at the beginning of the 20th Century. Dr. Edward Throndike was a pioneer in the study of motor learning and he conducted various experiments that showed subjects required very minimal training in completing tasks that were learned decades before. These experiments led Thorndike and other scientists to determine that learned motor skills are stored in the memory section of our brains.

We all use muscle memory techniques in our everyday life. Whether it be riding a bicycle, typing on a keyboard or entering a common password or pin number, we have taught our muscles to carry out these commands without putting much thought into them. It takes a great deal of practice and repetition for a task to be completed on a strictly subconscious level. For that professional tennis player or golfer it takes hundreds of hours of practice and repeated shots for the brain and muscles to perform at a world class level.

The process of adding specific motor movements to the brain’s memory can take either a short or long time depending on the type of movements being performed. When movements are first being learned, the muscles and other body controlling features (such as ligaments and tendons) are stiff and slow and can be easily disrupted if the brain is not completely focused on the movement. In order to complete the memorization, acts must be done with full attention. This is because brain activity increases when performing movements, and this increased activity must be fully centered on the activity being completed. Much of the motor learning in the brain is located in the cerebellum which is the part of the brain in charge of controlling sensory and cognitive functions.

Once actions are memorized by the brain, the muscles must be trained to act in a quick, fluid manner. This can be done in the gym, on the court, or other playing field. When athletes complete strength training exercises, they enhance the synapses in their muscles which increases the speed impulses travel from the brain through the nervous system to the muscles. This is key because it lowers the time between when the brain decides to complete a movement to when the muscles actually start to move. This allows tennis players to react to a hard serve or a golfer to adjust the club during his swing. When the perfect shot is carried out, the brain will begin to memorize what it felt like and use the timing of the improved synapses so the action can be repeated.When practicing, you will inevitably hit poor shots every once in awhile. This is where a good attitude comes into play. As stated before, muscle memory comes from focusing on a single action or movement. Unfortunately for some players, when you hit a bad shot, you will focus on this shot because bad shots are more emotionally charged than good shots. For your brain to memorize the good shots, you must attempt to look past the good shots and focus on what you do right on your great shots! If you do this, brain and muscles will be able to memorize what it feels like to hit a strong shot, and you will become a better player.

Muscle Memory

By: Kenny Morley, Ohio State University

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Ken Sartini says:
5/29/2014 at 7:42:35 PM

bURK -

Rick Allison says:
3/14/2008 at 12:40:41 PM

I have found that doing this type of form shooting with a heavy ball (twice weight of a regulation ball) adds a bit of functional strength training to the shot release mechanics. However, I require that the shooter''s off hand be in its proper position on the side of the ball (but not touching the ball). This keeps the shoulders square and does not introduce a body position that does not naturally occur during shooting (i.e., arm at the side).

Everything should be focused on developing proper muscle memory. After a sequence of rotation through 5 spots around the basket, we move back two big steps (allow the off hand to be placed on the ball) and introduce some combination motion mechanics, such as, triple threat/shot fake/strong-side jab/shot...or, triple threat/shot fake/cross-jab/shot...or, triple threat/shot fake/strong-side jab/shot fake/cross-jab/shot. Focus is on efficiency of ball movement (i.e., straight-line movements), body positioning and motion mechanics. With the heavy ball this has the added benefit of working on some transverse functional strength movements.

I have found this short, heavy ball, near-basket shooting routine has helped to improve shooting range with proper mechanics. Made baskets during the heavy ball routine are secondary in importance to proper form and follow through.

Rick Allison
LoneStar Basketball Academy
http://www.lonestarbasketball.com
[[[ C2E ]]]


Joe (Co-Founder of Breakthrough Basketball) says:
11/2/2007 at 11:44:41 AM
Hi JJ,

Yes, that is a good point and the hand is supposed to be relaxed. Coaches should point out the proper follow through and not rely on a kid’s wide interpretation of what “putting their hand in the cookie jar” might entail. The cookie jar is just a FUN ANALOGY to help kids remember to hold their follow through. You should also be careful about telling kids to have fingers spread apart. Instead, it should be a relaxed and comfortable follow through. Finger should not be too wide, and not too close together. A stiff follow through will result in a lower shooting percentage. The keyword here is “relaxed”.

This is why I used that terminology... to get my players to relax while they are shooting. and to shoot the ball the same way every time.



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mae says:
7/26/2014 at 3:03:47 PM

Need help teaching my 8 yr ols daughter how to play basketball

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Rosiknator says:
1/19/2017 at 8:12:39 AM

this was very very gud

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Aarit says:
3/30/2017 at 8:29:21 PM

Breakthrough basketball is a really good website that teaches you a lot about basketball for beginners, intermediate, and pro players.

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