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Shooting a basketball

Updated on December 17, 2012

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Shooting a Basketball

Shooting is the most exciting individual skill in basketball. If you hand a basketball to someone in a gym, the first thing they will likely do is shoot it. Unfortunately, shooting a basketball cannot be perfected simply by reading about it. Like most things, shooting well takes hours of practice. However, it is important to practice the right way.

The most common acronym for remembering how to shoot is the word "BEEF". Remembering these four easy steps will help a shooter to make sure he is using the proper form. The "B" stands for balance. It is important to start with your feet, because most people fail to think of foot positioning when shooting. Generally speaking, feet should be about shoulder-width apart so that the shooter has good balance. You want them facing your target (the basket). Balance is important so that you have a good base for the rest of your shot.

The first "E" stands for eyes. The shooter should fix his eyes on some part of the basket. Some people recommend the front of the rim, others say that it is better to have them focused on the back of the rim. Either is fine, the important thing is to have them fixed on the same spot every time. This will help consistency in shooting at the same spot every time.

The second "E" stands for elbow. A common shooting problem, especially among younger players, is the elbow coming out to their side when they shoot. This is likely a result of a lack of strength. They must be taught to keep their elbow and forearm parallel to their body. When holding the ball before the shot, the shooter should be able to draw a straight line from the ball, down their arm, and down their leg to the floor. Alignment is very crucial to consistent shooting.

Finally, the "F" stands for follow through. Snapping the wrist on release gives the ball backspin. It helps to control the ball and give it direction on it's flight. If you have ever seen a ball bounce around on the rim before going in, you may have heard someone comment that they had "shooter's touch". The follow through phase is likely what they were referring to by their comment.

There is not magic formula to good shooting. The best shooters are the ones who have spent hours in the gym practicing. However, as you head to practice, remember these four simple shooting tips to improve your shooting.


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