By: Brendan Winters

Form shooting is incredibly important for all players if they want to become (and stay) good shooters. I did this all the way from the time I was young until the time I retired from playing professionally overseas. It served as a great warm up for my body and mind before workouts, practices, and games as well as a way to make sure the fundamentals of my shot remained correct. Form shooting to me is probably the most important thing young players trying to become great shooters can do. In fact, there’s a story that when Stephen Curry was changing his shot in high school, his father, Dell, wouldn’t let him shoot outside of the paint for 3 weeks as he wanted him to focus on his form at spots in close to the rim.

There are many different ways that shooting is taught, and the following is sort of a mash up of many of the things my dad (former NBA player and coach) taught me as well as some of the other techniques, hints, sayings, etc. that I’ve learned myself or have heard from other coaches over the course of my playing and coaching career. There is no one right way, but I’m confident in the below technique as I used it in my career as well as over the last few years coaching/training with great results for many players.

There are two basic ways to form shoot: 1-hand and 2-hand. Both are equally as important, but today I’ll start with how to 1-hand form shoot a basketball in 4 simple yet detailed steps.



“Home base” is simply the starting position every time a player sets up to 1-hand form shoot. In this position:

– Stand straight up with toes, hips, and shoulders facing target (rim or backboard)
– Place feet shoulder width apart
– Let guide hand hang down by side
– Bring shooting hand/forearm parallel with floor, palm facing up
– Ball sits on top of hand on finger pads and fingers, off the palm
– Shooting elbow is tucked into side of hip



“Sit” only has to do with the lower body and means the player pretends there is a chair behind them and sits their hips/butt back like they would normally do to sit down in a chair. The reason for this visual is because young players have the tendency to come up on their toes bringing their knees forward, which we don’t want. For this step:

– Keep upper body the same
– Sit hips back, allow knees to bend naturally
– Make sure knees don’t come forward and player goes up on toes
– Stay back on heels!!
– Chest up
– Eyes focused on target (rim or backboard)

STEP 3 – LIFT (to an ‘L’)


I put a side view picture (with no guide hand) above to give the look of the ‘L’. For this step:

– Remain “sitting”
– Lift ball to shooting position
– Form ‘L’ with bicep and forearm (as opposed to ‘V’)
– Ball remains on finger pads and fingers, off palm
– Ball height is between shoulder and top of head
– Index finger pointed back towards face/eye
– Elbow remains under ball, do NOT let it wing out!!!
– At same time as lift, bring guide hand up to side of ball but DO NOT touch
– Guide hand is only up to get used to feeling of it being there




In the final step, this combines the lower body and upper body where the players shoots the ball and literally dips his or her fingers into the rim while holding up their follow through up. For this step:

– Lower and upper body begin upward movement
– Lower body: begin push up and forward from heels
– Upper body: begin push up from elbow
– Keep eyes locked on target, do not watch ball
– Allow ball to begin to roll back off index and middle finger
– Snap elbow and lock, wrist will naturally flick
– Lock out knees and end on toes
– NOTE: Goal is for elbow and knees to lock about same time
– Dip index and middle finger in rim (or pointed at backboard)
– Make sure guide hand and/or thumb does not rotate
– Hold follow through up until ball goes in or hits rim



  • SIT

  • LIFT



So there it is. “Sit. Lift. Dip & Hold.” Pretty easy to remember, but as you can see above, the actual steps are extremely detailed. Form shooting needs to be done slowly, thoughtfully, and close to the basket. Players needs to go through each step in their head checking each step to make sure all the details are correct (eg. feet shoulder width, knees not coming forward, elbow in, locking out follow through, etc.). Each shot should take about 10 seconds for beginners and as players get better and more comfortable with this, each shot will be 3-5 seconds.


1. Start on the baseline 3-5 ft. away from rim
2. Shoot 10 form shots slowly and deliberately
3. Move to the “block”/wing spot (again 3-5 ft. away)
4. Shoot 10 form shots
5. Repeat in middle/front of rim, other block/wing, other baseline
6. Five spots total, 10 shots each, 50 total form shots
7. When finished, go back to beginning position, take step back, repeat

Practice this. If players do it every single day before workouts/practices/games, they will see results. For professional help on the above process, we have plenty of programs that work on this, including Private Training, Small Group Training,Skills Academies, and Clinics (including an upcoming Christmas “Shooting” Clinic).

For more information on any of our programs, please email or call our office at 704-288-1710. To sign up, click here!

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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