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Proper Form for Shooting a Basketball

Proper shooting form in basketball comes with practice. Many children start playing basketball before they have the strength to shoot the ball properly, which results in a shooting form that tends to derive its energy from the torso. As individuals age and gain strength, however, the ball's release point moves from the middle of the body to above the head, while much of the force propelling the ball is generated in the legs and wrist. Shooting form is easy to learn, but even professionals struggle with perfecting their mechanics.

Step 1
Hold the ball with both hands. It's important to keep in mind that only one hand is used for shooting while the other is used for stabilizing and guiding the ball. Place your dominant hand directly behind the basketball with your palm facing the direction you will be shooting. Put your non-dominant hand alongside the ball. When you shoot, your dominant hand will move while your other hand remains stationary, guiding the ball on its proper course.

Step 2
Point your feet and body toward the basketball hoop. Make sure your toes are pointed straight at your target--if you square up your feet, usually your body will follow. This straight-on approach makes your ball's flight straighter and more accurate, improving your shooting percentage.

Step 3
Bend your knees. Arm strength is important, but you shoot better when you draw your power from your knees. They can generate more force and serve two other purposes: elevating you and making your shot more difficult to block as well as improving the arc of your shot. A better arc will send the basketball toward the hoop at a better angle as well as reduce the risk of getting blocked.

Step 4
Extend your arm upward at a about a 70-degree angle. If it feels like you are putting the ball too high and not far enough into the air, don't worry--the ball's forward momentum will come in the next step. Don't shoot from the stomach or chest. Make sure the ball goes into the air at a steep angle to give it plenty of arc.

Step 5
Flick your wrist as your arm fully extends. This quick motion will give the ball its forward momentum and put some spin on the ball. The spin will help your shot drop if it hits the rim or the backboard, particularly when coming from a high angle.