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

    Liam says:
    10/3/2023 at 8:16:52 PM

    I shoot with both hands and am trying to fix my form but it seems Lamelo Ball shoots with both hands so I'm thinking about keeping my form. The only thing is that when I'm shooting with both hands my elbows go out, my jump looks bad, my head goes up, and it looks like I'm throwing the ball. How to fix this?


    Lucas says:
    5/29/2023 at 11:21:32 PM

    How do i fix my offcenter shot. It goes to the side and I hear it’s a bad thing

      1 reply  

    Roy says:
    6/12/2023 at 4:32:21 AM

    like it said before, be comfortable. don't be a robot. if you're right handed your left hand should almost feel like it is not touching the ball. Another big thing is getting the right amount of lift on your jump. A quick and high release is best. (study Ray Allen, Kyle Korver, Kay Thompson, Rashard Lewis, Kevin garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, among others). the biggest key is finding the right form for you and then repetitions is also key ( hundreds of shots a day)


    Kosmo says:
    5/21/2023 at 12:47:33 PM

    what am i doing wrong if every time i shoot my hand is making a slap noice. Am i slapping the ball when i shoot and how to fix thise??


    Ariahn says:
    5/19/2023 at 4:23:11 PM

    My right foot is 1-1and1/2 size bigger than my left and sometimes I feel it messes up my foot alignment, should I align my heels or my toes?


    ez says:
    4/21/2023 at 4:55:42 PM

    Anyone can help me with my shot. I have a particulary low set point, close to my eebrow to the bridge of my nose. Whenever I shoot, I thumb flick and shoot double handed (most of the time). I also get way too much power in my shot and usually have to shoot from the logo, any tips on this?


    Xander says:
    1/9/2023 at 6:25:57 PM

    Hello. Could someone help me fix an issue where I have a delay while shooting the basketball. I record myself when I take shots and my form to myself looks a bit off, but what most people tell me is that I take a long time before I release. How can I fix that? It feels natural, so even with many repetitions, I would still do the same thing. I'm not a horrible shooter, but when I shoot I release my shot slow.


    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


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