how to shoot a basketball

For Beginners: How To Shoot A Basketball

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So, you’re thinking about starting basketball as a hobby, or you’re teaching your kids so they can become the next all-star. We support that. Basketball is one of the best sports out there. But where do you start on your basketball journey? Well, it’s simple. You have to learn how to shoot a basketball. 

Some may jump straight into getting their gear together, buying the best basketball shoes, the best compression pants, or the best portable basketball hoops. All your purchasing efforts will be futile if you don’t know how to shoot a basketball though, that should be obvious. 

Read on if you’re interested in learning how to shoot a basketball, what different techniques you can use, and what mistakes you should avoid. 

How To Shoot A Basketball: A Step By Step Guide 

Learning to take shots in basketball doesn’t need to be a difficult thing to do. Many are not willing to put in the hours to ensure that they have the skill locked down, so if you do then you’ll already be ahead of the rest. Always remember that the best shooters are not born that way, they practice so that they can be. So here’s what you need to do to practice how to shoot a basketball. 

Step 1: Work On Your Stance 

You must have your legs and feet in the right stance so that you have good balance. Your legs should be spread out from each other. Your feet must be a decent distance apart, about shoulder-width. When you take a step forward, make sure that you use your dominant side foot first. 

Step 2: Holding The Ball 

When the ball is given to you, receive it with your dominant hand (or the hand that you shoot with). This hand must be beneath or behind the ball. Then, use the other hand to balance the ball by holding it on one side of the ball. To gain more command, use your fingers, and importantly, the thumb of your hand that is beneath the ball.  

Step 3: Watch Your Feet 

Don’t let the ball in your hands ruin your stance. Keep your stance balanced with your legs apart, and your weight on both feet equally. If you’re a right-handed shooter, you should turn your feet a bit to the left, and the opposite goes for left-handed shooters. 

Step 4: Lock Onto Your Target

Make sure that you have a good focus on your target by narrowing your focus onto the place where you’re aiming the ball. This helps you to mitigate distractions. You could keep your eyes on the rim of the basket, the whole hoop, the board behind the hoop, or any similar area. 

Step 5: Arm Placement 

Now you’re getting ready to actually shoot the ball. It now becomes more important to keep your arms in mind. Bend the wrist of your hand that is beneath the ball. It needs to be far backward to add more power to your shot. To help you remember this step, you can check if you see wrinkles in your wrist, if you don’t, then it’s not bent back enough. 

Your elbows are also important here. You must keep them under the basketball.

Step 6: Shoot 

Attempt a shot! But keep your stance, and leg and arms placements in mind while you’re doing it! 

Best Techniques And Exercises 

Now you have an idea of the fundamentals of how to shoot a basketball. Next, you can start looking at a variety of methods and exercises that you can use to keep learning and practicing. 


To assist you to keep the steps listed above in mind, there is a simple acronym that you can remember – BEEF. It is one of the most common techniques used to teach people how to shoot a basketball. 

B is for balance, reminding you to check your stance. E is for eyes, reminding you to lock your eyes onto the hoop. The next E is for Elbows aligned, which means you have to check your arms’ positioning. Finally, F stands for Follow-through. This is to remind you to have your wrist and hand follow as throw the ball to the hoop. 

Block Shooting 

Make use of this type of drill when you’re working on the same technique or ability repetitively (or how to shoot a basketball, in this case). 

Dribble And Shoot

This gets you to focus on your stance and footwork as you practice shooting. You have to take two slanted steps (while dribbling) to your one side and then shoot the ball. And, of course, repeat this on your other side too. 

Repetitive Shooting

This one hones your skills in general. Pick a location up to 5 ft apart from the hoop, and then prepare your stance to shoot. Ensure your base is good, your arms are positioned correctly. Then take 10 or more shots. Reposition yourself on the court and do it again. Repeat as many times as you want! 

Mistakes To Avoid 

Important to note for knowing how to shoot a basketball is also knowing the most common mistakes that people make. These mistakes should be avoided at all costs, shots will be weak. Here’s what you need to steer clear of: 

  • Shooting flat – This is what happens when you forget to check for the wrinkle in your wrist, or when you don’t have your elbow beneath the ball. 
  • Using the balance hand thumb to add extra force – This will ruin your shot. Instead, work on adding power to your shooting hand. 
  • Tightly packed fingers – If your fingers are too close to each other on the ball, your shot will be weak. Spead them out! 
  • Forgetting to dip the ball – Dipping when you catch the ball helps with rhythm and consistency, so don’t forget to do it! 
how to shoot a basketball

Final Thoughts 

Playing basketball is both fun and rewarding, and once you see the progress in your shooting and techniques you’ll be hooked! Keep practicing and you’ll get exactly where you want to be. Once your shooting starts to get better, all that gear you bought won’t go to waste ever again.