How to Shoot the Perfect Jump Shot

Tips On How to Shoot a Jump Shot
Teaching the Correct Way to Shoot a Basketball
By Brad Winters

There is only one way to shoot a basketball – the fundamentally correct way.  I do not believe in the philosophy that “if it goes in it’s okay.”  I have never seen a consistent 40% shooter who did not have correct fundamentals.

For the jump shot, perhaps the most important shot in basketball today, learning first things first is necessary – if a basketball player expects to master the shot.

Here are the basketball shooting fundamentals and the basketball shooting drills we stress for shooting jump shots.  These basketball shooting tips and drills are used by NBA players to improve their basketball shooting skills.

[Related: Basketball Playbook]


Learn How to Shoot a Basketball
Proper Shooting Technique for Basketball

Our initial instruction is in a passing drill setting.  This we find most effective because our players concentrate on performing fundamentals correctly rather than on making the shot.


Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns hits a 3-point jump shot

Basketball Shooting Technique
The Correct Way to Shoot a Basketball

In our passing drill for the set shot, we stress the following points:

Left foot forward, right foot back.

Elbow close to and in front of body.

Fingertips centered on the ball.

Position the “Y” between the thumb and index finger as the ball is lifted in front of the right eye.  This position puts the fingers on the side of the ball.  When the arm is straightened, it will move as it does in a boxing jab so that the fingers are directly behind the ball at the time of release.

Cock the hand so you can see wrinkles on the back of the wrist.

As the arm is straightened, the wrist will snap forward – the straightening of the arm will naturally bring the fingers directly behind the ball for the release and follow-through.

The basketball is brought to a position in front of the face centered between the left eye and the right shoulder, and high enough so that the player can just see his partner over the ball.

Basketball Shooting Mechanics
Improve Your Basketball Jump Shot

In our passing drill for improving our player’s basketball jump shot, we emphasize the following basketball shooting fundamentals:

The ball position is ball above head, centered between left eye and right shoulder.

The basketball player's feet are parallel 12” to 18” apart.

The ball is released when shooter is on his way up, not at the top of his jump.

Basketball Shooting Form
Fundamentals of Shooting a Basketball

We have found that the following basketball shooting fundamentals are the most difficult for the jump shooter to master in trying to learn how to shoot a perfect jump shot:

Proper wrist action – Many basketball players use only half of their wrist power because they fail to cock the hand so that there are wrinkles in the back of the wrist.

Proper elbow position – the “Y” between the thumb and index finger is important.  If a player places his hand directly behind the ball so he looks into his fingers in the starting position, he will force his elbow out. This basketball shooting skill is necessary for developing a great basketball shooting form.

Proper follow-through – The shooting arm should be straight and the shooter's right wrist should be down at the completion of the player's jump shot.  If this is done correctly, the basketball will travel to the basket with an easy reverse spin.

Proper balance – A basketball jump shot shooter should go straight up and straight down.  This will improve the basketball shooters accuracy.  Sometimes during our basketball shooting drills, we place chairs in front of the jump shot shooters to encourage this important basketball-shooting fundamental. In the NBA, Ray Allen's jump shot is a great example of proper basketball shooting form.


Ray Allen

Training Basketball Players to Correctly Shoot
Different Jump Shots in Basketball

We feel that a basketball player should be able to shoot a jump shot in three basic situations:

Catch and shoot from a standing position after receiving a pass.

Shooting TechniqueJump shot off the dribble drive.

Jump shot after receiving a pass on the fast break (three-point shooting).

Drills to Improve Basketball Shooting Mechanics
Basketball Shooting Drills

The following basketball shooting practice drills are designed for these situations.

Partner Shooting Basketball Practice Drill – A 15-foot jump shot counts 2 points and a short jump shot off the glass counts 1 point.  Each basketball player tries for 21 points.  We emphasize shooting the short jump shot off the backboard.  Teammates shoot in pairs.  When the second player receives the pass, he must shoot without taking steps or dribbling (basketball shooting drill variations).

One-on-one Basketball Shooting Drill – We place chairs/cones at the X spots to encourage our basketball players to go straight up and down.  Each player has a basketball and makes a fake, then drives to the X spot for the shot.  The coach can check the player's concentration (eyes) on the target area by standing on the X spot and waving his hand across the basketball shooter’s eyes.  During all of our basketball shooting drills, we continually emphasize to our players the correct steps on how to shoot a jump shot.

 Fast-break Jump Shot Shooting Drill – This is a good 3-point shooting drill for training players to shoot the 3-ball off the fast-break.  Each set of basketball players pass the basketball back and forth up the court (usually two passes) and shoot the 3-point shot when they reach the 3-point line. This also is a good basketball conditioning drill for your players.

In conclusion, use these basketball tutorial shooting tips and drills to improve your team's basketball shooting skills. The fundamentals of shooting a basketball jump shot must be practiced daily. Consistent repetition is the key to improving your team's basketball shooting form and shooting percentage... As your team's basketball shooting skills improve, so will the success of your team on game night.

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"Basketball is like war in that offensive weapons are developed first, and it always takes a while for the defense to catch up." -- Coach Red Auerbach
"The more things we can get kids to do correctly off the court, the more they will do correctly on the court." -- Coach Mike Jarvis
"You don't play against opponents. You play against the game of basketball." -- Coach Bobby Knight
"Great shooters are one dribble guys." -- Coach Rick Majerus
"Good shooters take the shots; best shooters take most of the shots." -- Coach Don Meyer
"Failure is good. It's fertilizer. Everything I've learned about coaching I've learned from making mistakes." -- Coach Rick Pitino
"We're shooting 100 percent - 60 percent from the field and 40 percent from the free-throw line." -- Coach Norm Stewart
"Help your players to control their emotions - do this through example." -- Coach Norm Sloan
"I would never recruit a player who yells at his teammates, disrespected his high school coach, or scores 33 points a game and his team goes 10-10." -- Coach Dean Smith