Teaching Basketball Players Proper Shooting Technique

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Shooting a Basketball

Basketball is one of the greatest games in the world, but what everyone really loves to see is on the court is players hitting unbelievable shots. Shooting is as much an art form as anything else in life. It can be as beautiful as any painting in a museum, and can sound so good it can rival any song that has ever been composed. This hub is going to help you learn the basics of shooting as basketball as they were taught to me. These techniques can be used at any level and are guaranteed if practiced correctly, will increase any players shooting percentage and ability to score.

Keeping it Simple

The best way to improve any players game is to not over coach. You need to keep it as simple as possible. The way I teach and demonstrate shooting form is by using the acronym, "BEEF." I have used this same teaching technique with elementary and middle school players at our summer camps, as well as high school players who have terrible form. Below, I will break down and explain what each of the letters stands for.

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"B" = Balance

The "B" in "BEEF" stands for balance. Balance is were everything can either go right or everything can go wrong with your shot. For elementary and beginners, we start with just stationary shooting (shooting without moving). We again are emphasizing good balance, and what we want to do is have each player stand with their feet should width apart. If they are right handed, we want their right foot slightly in front of the left. If they are left handed, we want their left foot slightly in front of the right foot. This will give the player a good solid center of gravity. Next, you want to make sure that the players toes are pointing in the direction of basket. Once the player has line everything up, have them bend their knees slightly to allow them to put up and get the power for their shot from their legs. All players should work on their shooting form stationary, and once it becomes comfortable they can begin trying it off the dribble. Just remember the following when practicing balance:

  1. feet shoulder width apart
  2. one foot slighting in front of the other (depending on your dominate hand)
  3. point your toes at the basket
  4. bend your knees slightly

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"E" = Eyes on Target

The first "E" in "BEEF" is to keep your eyes on the target. I can't tell you how many times, I see players miss lay up after layup. The reason why it happens is because they are so afraid of getting blocked that they are looking around for where everyone is instead of focusing on the basketball goal. For elementary and beginning shooters, we again like for them to practice eyes on the target stationary. When they are shooting we try to make them understand to focus only on the target or rim. We want to emphasis to all our players to not follow the flight of the ball with your eyes, simply keep your eyes focused on the target. We like to refer to it as, "Target Focus." Keeping your eyes on the target and not looking to see where other players are, or the flight of the ball is key in developing your shooting form.

  1. focus on target
  2. do not watch the flight of the ball focus on target
  3. do not look for where the other players are focus on the rim

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"E" = Elbow In

The second "E" in "Beef" stands for elbow in. One of the biggest problems we see with our middle school ball players in that when they shoot their elbow is all over the place. Several people just love flaring that thing way out there, and it throws everything off when they shoot. It is vital to your shooting form that you have your elbow in and comfortably under the ball. When we have players that really struggle to keep their elbow in, a lot of times during stationary shooting drills we will make them shoot one handed. This will force them to keep their elbow in, or they will not be able to shoot. When a player keeps their elbow in, it stops them from throwing the ball and allows them to shoot the ball.

  1. elbow in
  2. comfortably under the ball
  3. don't throw the ball shoot it

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"F" = Follow Through

The last part of our teaching technique is the "F" in "BEEF" stands for follow through. Doing this will help to ensure that after you shoot the ball has great rotation on it. This will help you get a great shooters touch. When we say follow through, we want each player to at the end of their shoot flip their wrist and point their fingers directly at the rim. We also like our players to hold, "finish high." This means that if you look down your hand it will be held right above the top of the square on the back board. . We emphasize to our players that they should hold their follow through until the ball comes in contact with the rim.

  1. flip your wrist
  2. point fingers at the rim
  3. finish high
  4. hold follow through until ball hits rim

Practice, Practice, Practice

Following this technique will help any player to improve his or her's shooting percentage, but if you really want to see your scoring increase you really need to practice shooting everyday. Work on the items above and I guarantee you will see an improvement. Good luck, and I hope this helps.

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