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Topic:  How do I extend my basketball shooting range and get the ball over the rim consistently?

Question from DJ:
For me I'v just have moved to the bigger balls and struggled all year with my shots bein short im 155 pounds, really strong for my age, and am 5' 9" a post player and untill these last few games i have had problems with getting it above the rim and making it there from about 10 12 feet, i cant judge it, i have the shot as alot of people have said but, it has not shown on the board i was wondering which of these drills would help with all this?

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Answers and Comments

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Jeff says:
2/22/2008 at 8:32:32 AM


When it comes to shooting, there are lots of variables to consider. And it’s a little difficult to give specific advice without seeing your shot. But I’ll try to give you some general suggestions…


Do you jump as high as you can and try to shot like Kobe? If so, that could be the problem.

Your release should be a split second before you reach the top of your jump. If you wait longer, there’s a good chance that you’ll actually be shooting on the way down, robbing you of range and touch.

It’s best for you to shoot about 1 inch before you reach the top of your shot. And the best shooters in the world don’t usually jump very high. They use a quick and consistent jump. Your legs should help you extend range and you should shoot a quick shot on the way up. All too often, players end up with horrible shots because they try to mimic Kobe by jumping as high as they can, hanging, and then shooting. This is a mistake.


Good mechanics are important. And it’s especially important to develop good mechanics early because bad shooting habits can tough to break. Check this page for some advice on general shooting mechanics:

You'll also find a few basic drills on this page.


The obvious answer is to practice. The question becomes what to practice. Shooting revolves around rhythm and form so that is where the answer lies. Just be sure to practice good form. Grooving 500 shots with bad form won’t do you any good.

Developing range

1 - First of all, don’t go too fast. Increase range as your technique and strength develops. Never distort form to get range.

2 - The other thing to keep in mind is that your legs and arc determine range. A good follow through that is high will help your arc. For sufficient arc, a good rule of thumb is to make sure that your elbow finishes above your eyes on your follow through.

3 - A helpful technique for developing range is to intentionally shoot the ball all the way over the backboard. This kind of power is achieved through using optimum leg power and releasing the ball a split second before reaching the top of the jump motion. If done properly, then generating enough force to shoot over the backboard, even from beyond the three-point line, is not that difficult. Once players realize how much power is available through this motion, they can learn to control it for shooting at the rim. Since this takes less force than shooting over the backboard, players have more confidence shooting form long range.

The same general effect can be achieved by using a larger or heavier than normal ball for awhile and then going back to the regulation size one. Players usually find it easy to shoot from farther out because of the contrast. Wait until at least junior high before working with an over-size or weighted ball.

4 - It might sound strange but to become a better 3-point shooter or develop range, you have to practice a lot, close to the basket. Take 100’s and 1000’s of shots 7-12’ from the basket. The purpose for this is to really ingrain your shooting form from an area you can shoot comfortably and have some success. It doesn’t make a difference what drills you do or how you practice it as long as the primary thrust of the work is your form.

Once you have your form ingrained, gradually move back. If you get to a point where you feel the rhythm change or your form start to change, that is the limit of your range. Stay at that spot until your shot feels like it did at 7-12’. Once it feels comfortable again, shoot several hundred until it becomes automatic again.

Once it feels automatic again, start to move back again until you reach the limit of your range and shoot continually from that spot. Once you feel comfortable from behind the 3-point line, you can start doing drills that will make you more proficient.

Players struggle from behind the arc because they have to change their shot to get the ball to the basket. This not only makes the shooter inconsistent from the 3-point line but it affects his shot from everywhere. Remember, to be a good shooter, you have to take the same shot every time, no matter where you shoot from.

DJ, this is just some basics to help you out. We have written an eBook (that’s almost done) that gives you a step by step formula to develop a great shot. That is really what you need, but it’s not quite done yet. Keep an eye out I the next couple weeks, because I think it will really help you.

BTW – Don’t forget that the time of year that you develop a great shot and improve your shooting percentage is the OFF SEASON. So this could be the perfect time for you to start devoping a great shot.

Hope this helps.

Jeff Haefner


dorjee says:
5/19/2008 at 5:00:49 AM

i am poor in shooting so please help me to improve shooting.i feel nerveous while playing a match.


Joe Haefner says:
5/19/2008 at 7:32:57 AM

Hi Dorjee,

For now, you can reference information on this website. We plan on releasing a shooting ebook in the near future.

Joe Haefner


coach crockford says:
7/17/2008 at 12:55:23 AM

Im coaching u 12s b ball and am trying to build up my guards shooting to spread the floor, we have a fairly small team except for one of my players who is 5 11, is there anyway i can get him open shots without him always gettin double teamed and without running any complicated drills???


Joe Haefner says:
7/17/2008 at 8:48:47 AM

Coach Rockford,

Read this article, it may help you:


coach michael says:
8/3/2008 at 3:54:02 AM

i am currently trying to devolp my u12s teams baseline and free throw shooting do u have any simple drills that can help me.


Joe Haefner says:
8/4/2008 at 10:48:34 AM

Hi Coach Michael,

Here are a few shooting drills you can use:

You can adjust these drills to get more shots from the areas that you need to shoot from.

You can find the rest of the shooting drills at this link:

For more on foul shooting, you can visit this link:


Michael says:
7/17/2009 at 7:20:28 PM

Hi, i play basketball everyday for about 2 hours plus. i have been told i am a good shooter and i have confidence in my shot but im nearly always forced to take the outside shot which causes me to change form etc. i practice everyday from around the elbow and a feet or 2 inside the 3 pt line. have you got any advice on how to extend my range to the 3pt line and maybe even a foot or so further? it is now offseason and i really would like to be able to shoot good consistent 3 point shots before i go back to playing in a mens league because i am only 6ft tall so it is very hard for me to score. i have just turned 16 and weigh about 122 pounds if this helps atall. Mike


Jeff says:
7/17/2009 at 8:47:34 PM


My best advice is to use your legs to generate the power in your shot. Look back at the first post on this page. It suggests to practice shooting the ball over the back board. Just go and try it. Once you try it for a while, you'll discover how your legs can give you power to shoot the ball a long distance. You'll be able to translate that motion into your normal shot. Try it and see what happens. Once you get the motion down and get your legs coordinated, practice the new movements thousands of times so you don't have to think about it.


Michael Hack says:
7/18/2009 at 7:35:57 AM

hi again, thank you for the advice above, however i have tried this before and it causes the rest of my body to come out of form because i bend down to much. this also makes my shot become slower and easier to block.

i am just wondering if there is anything i can do to help my upper body more because my friend plays for east midlands and he is 17 and is only an inch or 2 taller than me and he can shoot 3 pointers from a stand-still. as he proved the other day. and it is the exact same shot and is all net. i dont mind taking a long time as i have about 5 weeks of free time before i start my new college. hope you can help me.


Don Kelbick says:
7/26/2009 at 6:46:38 PM


All bodies grow at their own pace, especially at your age.

At 16, you should start to get into weight work. Work a well rounded program, upper and lower body and don't overwork. If you hurt yourself and can't get on the court, you will really hurt the development of your game. Stay away from supplements, get your extra carbohydrates and protein from your diet. Keep it up all year round, in season and out.

Don't believe any claims that there are programs that will bulk you up quickly because they don't exist. It goes without saying that you should stay away from steroids.

You have to be patient, 5 weeks is not a lot of time. You have to look at the big picture and think more along the lines of where you will be in a year, not in a month. Weight is not as important as strength and the two are unrelated. You might not gain weight but you will gain strength.


Michael says:
7/27/2009 at 5:52:14 PM

Hi thanx again for replying even if it is a couple weeks later... but i realise it will take time and im willing to put my heart on soul into the work required to becoming a better player, but i just dont know where to start and im joining a new academy team soon and they are a very high standard so i want to be able to bring something special to the team. i just feel like my game isnt enough and by shooting 3 pointers i think i could help out alot more as i always get alot of open 3's but because im a poor outside shooter i hesitate and look for a pass. Im not good with diets so can you tell me a couple of things to eat and how much i should be eating please? and also i need to know the main muscles to train to be able to take that outside shot without jumping forward and making my shot go flat. but my last question is the main one i'm stressing about. I have very little confidence when im playing and i was just wondering if theres anything i can do to boost my confidence and stop me from shaking because it affects me alot in a game. thanks for taking the time out to read this and i hope you can help me.


Allen says:
3/30/2010 at 1:23:45 PM

Hi when i shoot a mid range jumpshot my form and shoot is great, but when i'm shooting a 3 point jumpshot my form is different and it don't looks good. Can you help me?


scott says:
9/6/2011 at 6:39:28 AM

To all you shooters, I was a 5 ft nothing 1 and nothing boy growing up , in the 6th grade I couldn''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''t hit a bull in the but with a hand full of rocks. There is 2 things I think will help you all. 1st lay flat on your back and do form flips as I call them creating muscle memory follow through every time until your forearm is tired. You HAVE to get your legs stronger ,jump rope, box jumps,run, run stairs. I also will recommend taking a bar bell bar tying a jumprope to it loop it through a 5 lb weight, holding your arms straight out with the weight hanging to the floor and you holding the bar bell shaft straight out start rolling the rope around the shaft as it twists around the shaft you forearms and wrist will be getting an incredible workout. remember form before workout form after workout of strength, and shoot 20 lay ups 50 10 fts watch your feet get a strong base alot of arch, 100 FT''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''S and repeat for 3 to 4 weeks then repost your results. This with the above advise your should be able to shoot from 2 steps over 1/2 court. shooting=strength and form.


andrew says:
7/14/2012 at 6:44:55 AM

Hi, i just turned 13 and im around 5' 5.
Im not that short compared to my teammates but im not as strong as some older players and when i play or defend in low post moves i just get pushed around and cant finish. Also when i shoot from around free throw area i rely on my legs a lot to get the shot far enough but i see nba players just flick their wrists to shoot it this far. How can i build my upper body strength without going to a gym because im not old enough to go to one yet...
pls help :(


Ken says:
7/14/2012 at 10:07:13 AM

Andrew -

Start from the top here and read some of the comments made by the coaches..... and in some cases players.

You just turned 13 - remember, kids mature and different ages, be patient with yourself... you WILL get stronger. 5'5"? I would have killed to be that height at 13, I was a 4'11" freshman.

As for defending in the low post vs bigger and stronger players... tough assignment, Keep a low center of gravity and lean on them a little, it will help you a little bit, BUT, my advice to you is to keep them from getting the ball in the first place. IF you are quicker, work hard to deny them the ball, make them work harder and maybe they wont be as successful scoring.

As for shooting, a lot of the strenght in your shots should come from your legs, it helps with the lift. Keep working on your shot in the area where you are successful. When you are happy with the results %wise, you can move back a couple of feet and shoot some more. Stay in your comfort zone for now and like I said, you can step back a few feet to see if you are still being successful.

NIce to emulate the NBA guys but I couldn't do what they do WITHOUT a ball. Be the BEST that ANDREW can be. Keep working on your game and I hope this helps some.


Shayaan says:
10/13/2013 at 3:58:34 PM

Hello, I am told that I am a decent shooter, but my problem is that I'm not consistent. On any given day, I can shoot from 15-80% unguarded from 3, is there a remedy? Also, do you have any tips for shorter point guards? I'm 5'6", decently athletic and fast, and want to improve driving to the basket. Thank you.


Maureico says:
11/19/2013 at 1:18:22 PM

why do sometimes I shoot over the goal?


Ken Sartini says:
11/19/2013 at 2:04:47 PM

Being consistent comes from a lot of practice. Start closer to the basket and work on your shot until it becomes consisten, then work your way back a little at a time. As for driving to the basket.... pick your spots right now until you become more comfortable with what you are doing. Maybe developing a good crossover move might help you get past the man guarding you.

Maureico -

Hard to tell whats wrong with your shot without being able to see it..... start close to the basket and work your way back as you get more comfortable. Relax and have some fun... maybe you are getting tense as you start to shoot??


Tom Holts says:
1/5/2014 at 1:58:30 PM

I always lunge when shooting I really have trouble using my legs can u give me some good tips that will help. I am also having trouble understanding when to release the ball. Thde main problem however is I cant use my legs properly



Ken Sartini says:
1/6/2014 at 10:12:16 AM

Tom -

Its hard to tell since we cant see your shot, but here are a few things that I can think of.

As far as when to release the ball, its more about where you release it... and your elbow should be around your eye/ear area as you are releasing your shot.

The link is of a 14 year old boy who has worked for 3 years with the Swish shooting method,,,, watching him might help you with your jump shot.

As I talk to a lot of players, they are looking to correct or improve their shot . there is no quick fix for this, you have probably been shooting that way for a long time and have created a bad habit and its in your muscle memory.

To correct this problem, it is going to take 100s, no, more like 1,000s of shots to create a new muscle memory - so the shot becomes automatic.

The first thing you have to do is correct your form... that can be done by shooting against a wall so you don't have to worry about making the shot... only using correct form - 100s of shots a day until you have correct form.

Then you can go to the basket and do what we called BEEF check going from Block to the Middle to the other Block.

Step 1 - We started this with the SHOOTING HAND ONLY.... maybe 12 shots in all.

Step 2 - Then you can bring your guide hand up but NOT on the ball and do the same thing. 12 more shots.

Step 3 - - 12 more shots with your guide hand in the proper position. ( your guide hand has nothing to do with the shot other than to keep the ball in the proper position on your shooting hand.)

The next thing to do would be to step back several feet... 6-7 feet? Now repeat Step 3, don't move any further back until you have mastered this distance.

Once you are shooting with a good percentage, you can move further back. Don't move to the three point line if you are shooting 30 percent from 10 - 15 feet.

Don Kelbick says that a good shooting percentage is around 46% and in game situations that is good... in practice, from short range, I would like to see it a little higher.

From the free throw line... depending on your age and ability level, 60 to 80 percent is what I had my kids try to achieve.

To explain BEEF for those who haven't heard that term.

B - Balance ( staggered stance, one foot slightly in front of the other )

E - Elbow under the ball ( the elbow might be SLIGHTLY out )

E - Eye on the target (keep your eye on the target until the ball goes in)

F - Follow through..... ( keep your arm extended until the ball goes in)

I hope this helps.

Practice this for awhile and then let us know how things are progressing.


Quentin says:
4/10/2015 at 8:46:57 PM

I am in the process of changing my shot form. I was a decent shooter with bad fundamentals but could hit threes on a consistent basis. However since changing my shot form I can only limit myself to mid range jumpers. Once I extend to the three point line I am unable to even hit the net. Also free throws have become increasingly hard without jumping any tips?


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