By: Brendan Winters

Often times players think they need to drastically change their shooting form and spend hours upon hours to completely break down their shot in order to improve their shooting, and in some cases this may be the best course of action, but in many cases, players could institute a few small changes or areas of emphasis, and see instant improvement with their shooting accuracy.

This is not to say the below shooting tips are easy, but they are often simply overlooked or not done due to a lack of concentration or understanding. With a bit more focus and effort, players could begin to institute the below shooting tips today, and see better results.

How to Improve your Shooting in Basketball

1. Start and Finish on Balance

how to improve shooting in basketball
Dirk Nowitzki is an example of great balance when shooting a basketball.

One of the main factors of whether or not a shot goes in is balance. Does the player start on balance and finish on balance? Or are they fading backwards or sideways? Do they rotate their body and finish pointing sideways? All of these small things negatively impact your shot.

Drew Hanlen from Pure Sweat basketball analyzed the shooting percentages of the 8 best shooters in the NBA only by looking at the way they landed (via Hardwood Hustle Podcast). He found that when players …

  • finished straight up and down with no turn of feet, they shot 70%
  • jumped forward with no turn, they shot 60%
  • finished with a slight turn of their feet, they shot 39%
  • finished with a big turn/twist/”hockey stop”, they shot 31%

Those are HUGE differences from just a minor detail. If players take some time to make sure they jump and land straight up and straight down, their shooting percentages will go up automatically.


2. Finish with shooting hand fingers dipped “in the rim”

improve your basketball shot
Stephen Curry has one of the best follow through’s in the world when shooting a basketball.

This is a little trick I learned late in my basketball career, but it really helped me. Every time a player shoots the basketball, his or her goal should be to finish with their shooting hand index and middle fingers “in the rim”… literally.

Close one eye, and players should see their fingers dipped into the rim wherever they shoot from on the court. This will also work to make sure players aren’t snapping back their follow-through or having their follow-through go across their body.

It keeps a nice, straight, consistent follow-through, which is a big key to improving shooting accuracy.

3. Focus on a Smaller Target

The Patriot 2
When shooting a basketball, remember Mel Gibson’s words, “Aim small, miss small.”

This one may be the most detailed of all 3, but it can pay BIG dividends especially from long range. Players should NOT watch the ball, but instead focus on their target … and not the whole basket or even just the rim.

It needs to be smaller than that. I’m always reminded of the movie, “The Patriot”, where Mel Gibson is teaching his son to shoot, and tells him “Aim small, miss small”. Same thing when shooting a basketball.

If a player’s target is the whole rim, and the player shoots an inch to the right of his or her target, that shot is going to miss. If a player’s target is a small one on the rim (ie. the metal piece the net hangs from), and the player misses an inch to the right, that shot is still going to go in!

Again, these are 3 small tips to improve your shooting skills, but players can institute them today if they choose for huge dividends on their shooting percentages. These shooting tips take some extra focus and attention to detail, but if a player is willing to make the sacrifice, their shooting accuracy will most definitely improve.

Brendan Winters is a former Davidson Wildcat and European professional basketball player as well as the co-founder of Pro Skills Basketball and co-director of Pro Skills Basketball Charlotte.

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