5 of the Biggest Basketball Shooting Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

For most of these fixes, you are going to need to start away from the hoop and take hundreds and thousands of shots. You can find a wall and do this by yourself or find a line and shoot it back and forth to a partner. Once you begin to feel comfortable with your adjustment, take hundreds of shots really close to the basket and gradually move out.

  1. Thumb on Shooting Hand

    Players often have the ball sit on the tip of their thumb on their shooting hand. This position is awkward and forces the body to strain to hold the proper shooting form. In order to be a good shooter, you have to be comfortable.

    It you don't strain, your elbow sticks too far out.

    How do you fix it?

    You need to have the ball rest on the side of the thumb rather than on the tip of the thumb on every shot. It may feel awkward at first, but it will help tremendously and more of your shots will travel to the dead-center of the rim. If you can not determine when you are doing this, you may need to have someone critique your shot or video tape it.

  2. Thumb on Guide Hand

    Some players flick the ball with their thumb on the guide hand when shooting the basketball. This will cause serious problems for the shooter and the ball will often spray left and right. It's tough enough to judge the distance, yet add another factor of left and right into the equation.

    Most players develop this problem when they are too weak to get the ball to the rim, and the habit carries through their teenage and adult years.

    How do you fix it?

    You can squeeze your thumb against the index finger on your guide hand. This will not let you shoot the ball with the thumb. If the problem still continues, take your guide hand off of the ball by about a half-inch and shoot with one hand. Make sure your guide hand stays still.

    You can also use a shooting strap to keep your guide hand and thumb still. This is a very effective way to break this habit and keep your guide hand from moving. We have found the j-strap is very effective and recommend it to solve this problem.

  3. Unnecessary Jerky Movements

    These jerky movements can cause you to become an inconsistent shooter:

    • Twisting the body.

    • Fading backwards, and to the left or right.

    How do you fix it?

    You need to evaluate when this jerky movement is happening and what type of jerky movement is occurring. This may mean you need to video tape your shot if you have nobody to help.

    Two major reasons players twist their body when they shoot is:

    1. Their feet are not aligned correctly.

    2. They bring their guide hand down too early.

    Make sure your feet line up correctly before every shot. This means you may need to pivot more as you receive the pass or as you step into your shot off the dribble. If you use a hop, make sure that you are turning enough while in the air to align your feet properly as you land. If your feet are not set correctly, this will force your body to twist while shooting to try to compensate for it.

    If you bring your guide hand down too early, it brings extra movement into your shot that causes you to twist your body. If you don't believe me, sit in your chair and shoot with one hand and bring your guide hand down to your waist at the same time. What naturally happens? Your torso will twist.

    That's why it is important to keep your guide hand extended in the correct position.

    Pro players use this method to stop their upper-body from twisting when they take shots when they are off-balance or their feet are not aligned appropriately. It helps keep their upper body from twisting during the shot. I do NOT advise for players under the age of 18 to practice this shot, because it can mess up your mechanics.

    A good way to stop leaning is to step towards the basket on the catch. This brings your momentum towards the basket rather than fading or leaning.

    You may also have analyzed when the player starts to jerk their body or lean in a certain direction. The player may only do a jerky movement when dribbling to the left and pulling up for a jumper. If this happens, they need to take hundreds and thousands of repetitions doing that same type of shot with great shooting form.

  4. No Arc - Flat Shot - Flinging the wrist.

    If you are missing a lot of shots because you have a flat shot or you don't seem to get many shooter's bounces, it could be because you are flinging your wrist or have a flat shot.

    You can check to see if you have this problem by bringing the ball to your set point and then bringing it straight down. If your shooting-hand lands on top of your head (or the back of your head) instead of grazing your forehead, then you've got a bad set point.

    How do you fix it?

    Move the ball forward so that when you bring it straight down, the back of your shooting hand grazes your forehead. Practice shooting to yourself from this position until it becomes your new set point.

    You should reinforce your new set point by daily form shooting close to the basket. In fact, you should rebuild your shot slowly by stepping back one step at a time as you establish consistency from a given range, using the new set point.

  5. Shooting after the Top of your Jump.

    Players who shoot past the top of their jump will often develop a hitch and jerky shot. The same with players who try to jump as high as they can on every shot.

    A player should focus on shooting before the top of their jump for a few different reasons: 

    • Quicker release. If you shoot before the top of your release, it gives the defender less time to recover to defend the shot.
    • Make more shots. The shot is fluid which results in a smoother and softer shot because you don't stop the shot motion at any point in your shot.
    • Longer range. If you shoot at or after the top of your shot, it takes a lot more upper body strength to get the ball to the rim. If you shoot as you are going up, the momentum from your legs help carry the ball a lot farther. Try shooting away from the hoop when doing this.

    How do you fix it?

    This one is pretty simple. You need thousands of repetitions shooting the basketball before the top of your jump. 

    In order to fix any of these problems, you are going to have be persistent and focused. "Sometimes, you have to take two steps backwards, to take three steps forwards." What that means is that your shot will most likely become worse before it gets better. Always keep the long-term in perspective. Who cares if you don't shoot the ball well during summer league, if you'll be able to shoot lights out once basketball season rolls around! 

    To learn more about improving your shot, we recommend...

    Basketball Shooting Guide
    One Motion Shooting Video
    Attack & Counter Shooting Workouts App


    Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

    Rakesh says:
    8/3/2022 at 9:10:58 AM

    While shooting the ball, i hit the ball on my forehead at times and it's really frustrating and it throws off my shot, how do I fix it!?

      1 reply  

    Info says:
    8/3/2022 at 1:12:07 PM


    We are sure that is frustrating to you, but keep practicing and taking the shots. Be patient and focus on your shot mechanics. Here is a link to another article by Coach Haefner on Proper Basketball Shooting Technique, Fundamentals, and Form, that could give you some additional guidance.



    JAYDAR says:
    6/18/2022 at 5:29:37 PM

    i always stone my shot''s with a back spin to it, and It always enters (especially when i calm down and carefully take my shot, not too slow but just right ) so my advice to ya''ll professionally is stick with the style that gives you more baskets, not everyone has the same hand shape and structure so dont expect to shoot and make baskets the same way others do, so just try diffrent shot techniques and select one. Tip: when selecting the best shot for you, how you''ll know if one''s good is the one that feels comfortable and gives you more control in the entire shot.
    the bottom line is....stop listening to people tryna give you the (so called appropriate shooting form) so far there are no boundaries to any shooting form in the NBA or in basketball generally. the only thing that matters is so far you get the ball into the basket, now how?...should be left for you to decide, sure some people might laugh, Judge, or mock your form but not to worry when they see you racking up them points in bunches it''ll shut em up

      1 reply  

    Info Products says:
    6/20/2022 at 7:54:59 AM


    Thank you for the feedback!

    Breakthrough Basketball


    lightskin baller says:
    5/18/2022 at 9:27:26 AM

    Excellent tips! I used to be a excellent shooter but because of covid I lost my form this helped me fixed it an Im back to swishing again! my friends actually have to play up again! Thanks so much!!!


    Baller man says:
    5/16/2022 at 5:05:19 AM

    Curry dosent use his thumb he points his guide hand towards the basket after shooting because it makes his shot flow better he is not using his thumb to push the basketball.
    When curry was in high school he spent a month finding the perfect form and he shot no 3 pointers in that month.
    it might not be broke but it can always be better with practice.

      1 reply  

    Jon says:
    5/29/2022 at 1:04:11 AM

    He most definitely uses his guide hand thumb. I’ve studied countless hours of shooters video and I teach shooting my self. He does sue the thumb at the trail end of his shot. The form shooting he worked had more to do with his release point. It was right under the chin then. moved forward and up. With taller defenders they could stick their hand out snd block it. He didn’t change the thumb flick. I don’t use the thumb flick or reach it but if a player has it I’ll mention it to them. It’s their decision to change


    ELk says:
    3/21/2022 at 7:41:21 PM

    Bruh my shot weak if I shoot my shot only goes to one place and it be annoying me I have tried
    lot of trick but not thumb flicking but I do put the ball on the tip of my finger I barely change jumpshots so what going on
    it really annoys me

      1 reply  

    Jon says:
    5/29/2022 at 1:07:32 AM

    You’re probably letting the ball sit too far back on the fingers when lifting into a shot. Your wrist flick happens to early causing you to short the ball.

    At release the index or pointer finger should fire at the target. That’s where the energy from body to the body finishes.


    lil says:
    12/7/2021 at 7:40:30 AM

    Bro these nixxas changed the fxxin rim at my place and made it higher so nixxas can''t dunk smfh. Since then my threes been going down hill big time nocappp. That''s the only place i be practicing at coz of all the pandemic bs


    lil says:
    12/7/2021 at 7:36:47 AM

    This is so fxxin frustrating, for some reason I can''''''''t get my shot back, could be something mental, but I need a answer, I''''''''m literally depressed coz of that sxxt

      1 reply  

    Brodie says:
    12/9/2021 at 12:07:43 PM

    Try shooting from a lower set point. If you release at the top of your head when your shoot, try to shoot it a little bit lower, like around your nose or eyebrow. And make sure that your feet are slightly tilted to the left if ur right-handed, a little to the right if left-handed.

    An exercise you can do to improve your shot is the Ray Allen drill, just search it up. You basically start from the paint, make five in a row, then take a step back. when you get to the three, hit the shot, then move around the court, from baseline to baseline.


    Luke Begley says:
    11/18/2021 at 10:13:29 PM

    I shoot with 2 hands how do I fit that beuse I need to be able to shoot before the season starts. help fast


    Coach War says:
    9/6/2021 at 11:31:02 AM

    Go to dollar tree and buy some oven mitts, not the ones with the thumb on them but without the thumb space and practice shooting with the oven mitt on guide hand. That should help to eliminate the thumb flick. It is a cheap alternative to the Ball Hog Gloves Off Hand Shooting Aid (Basketball Training Aid).


    Will says:
    5/14/2021 at 10:48:43 AM

    Back in around November i was a great shooter, I could make about 70% of my threes shooting about 15 threes a game. But now its more like 20% to 30% every 15 shots. If i go in just a little about to the free throw line i can make almost every shot i shoot. I can't figure out what happened i was wondering if anyone could tell me.

      1 reply  

    Alex says:
    7/19/2021 at 6:25:37 PM

    The same thing has happened to me, can someone please tell me why? I need to find a fix fast.

      2 replies  

    Justine Argana says:
    10/11/2021 at 6:04:19 AM

    I also used to be consistent in shooting in the past. I stopped playing basketball for only 3 months because of the pandemic.


    Demondre says:
    7/25/2022 at 6:51:53 PM

    It’s all in your head same thing happened to me. Now I’m back to making about 6 threes a game


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