Having a good jump shot is essential for any basketball player who plays on the perimeter. Every small forward and shooting guard needs a good jump shot, and it doesn’t hurt if the other three players can shoot as well. It may not be required as much for a center to shoot outside the paint, but most coaches take kindly to a big man who can shoot.
Shooting is probably the hardest part of basketball. It requires good rhythm, technique, and hours of practice to be a good shooter. So let’s break down the proper way to shoot a jump shot. That way you’ll be able to go out there and practice and actually know what you’re doing. Good shooters are not just lucky, they shoot the ball a particular way.
How To Hold The Ball
When getting ready to shoot, the player puts her strong hand behind the ball and her guiding hand to the side. The strong hand does the work of propelling the ball forward while the guide hand merely keeps the ball on course. If a player feels her guide hand doing some of the work to push the ball into the air, then adjustments need to be made.
The guide hand should strictly be kept on the side of the ball. If it creeps behind the ball, the shooter is likely to be less accurate.
Once the shooter has a good hold on the ball, she needs to figure out where it is comfortable to start the shot. Usually a shooter likes to have the ball at chin level or just above the forehead. This depends on strength. If it’s possible to put the ball up above the forehead, this is preferable, as it’s harder to block a shot from above the head.
Now let’s talk about the elbow. The angle of the elbow is one of the most important aspects of shooting form. The elbow should be straight down. Coaches typically refer to this as keeping the elbow in. This is so important because it keeps the shooter’s shot straight.
Getting Arc On The Ball
Some players are able to shoot line drives and have them go in but this is not the best way to do it. It’s more effective to have a nice arc on the ball. This requires the shooter to push the ball up and not just forward towards the basket. Finding the most comfortable arc can be difficult. Somewhere in the middle of pushing the ball straight up and straight out is good but it can take some time to figure out what is most comfortable.
When and how to release the ball is not an easy thing to figure out. Rhythm plays a big role in releasing the ball. The ideal time to release the ball is at the top of the jump. This can take practice to get down.
Releasing the ball should be a smooth motion, ending with a flick of the wrist. The wrist motion at the end is called the follow-through. Many players like to hold the follow-through for a second to make sure that their form is correct. Of course some like to show off and hold it for longer but this is not necessary.
Use Your Legs
The form of shooting a jump shot is all in the arms, hands, and wrist. But the power comes from the legs. A good shooter bends her knees in order to get enough oomph on the ball. Some players forget to bend their knees and are not able to put enough strength into their shots and end up with less arc than needed to be accurate. The more a player bends her knees, the more she can arc the ball, and the more accurate the shot can be.
Put it all together during hours of practice and you can be a know-down shooter!