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Basketball Jump Shot

By James Gels, from the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook, @

The jump shot is the most common shot used today. It revolutionized the game back in the late 50's and 60's. Most games used to be very low scoring until the arrival of the jump shot. With the jump shot you don't have to be stationary and open (like with a set shot). You can score on the move, and in traffic, by jumping and extending your shot over the defender.

Be sure that you don't start shooting a jump shot until you are physically strong enough. If you start too young, you will sacrifice good technique.

JJ Redick
JJ Redick

Gripping the Ball, Footwork

Receive the ball in the "triple threat" position, where you are ready to either shoot, pass, or drive. Young kids have difficulty shooting the jump shot because they are not strong enough yet. They will often use a two handed method. But you must develop the correct technique to be effective.

First start with shots only one foot from the basket. See form-shooting (show video)... Gradually extend your range outward. If you get too far out, your technique will fall apart and you will develop bad habits. If your shot is suffering, try to fix it by going back to the basic one foot shot near the basic, using proper release, backspin ("rotation") etc.

Gripping the ball and the shooting motion are the same as in the set shot. The shooting hand acts as a "platform" and is under the ball. The other hand is used to balance the ball and should be on the side of the ball. Receive the ball with your knees bent and feet shoulder width apart.

Use your legs to provide the power for your shot. Be sure that you are squared up to the basket, with your shoulders squared up to the hoop. Alternatively, some good shooters prefer to turn the shooting side in toward the hoop with that foot forward. Whichever method you find most comfortable, make sure that you are in balance before releasing the shot.

Spring off the floor with both feet and do not drift sideways or backwards. Go straight up, or slightly forward for longer shots, and shoot the ball just before you reach the height of your jump, especially on outside shots, where you need the extra power of the upward force from the jump.

On short shots in the paint, shoot from the top of your jump. This will allow you to shoot over a defensive player. When going up for the shot, the shooting arm forms an "L" with the elbow pointing toward the hoop, and the forearm vertical, with the ball up over your head.


Focus on your shooting spot, either the back of the rim, just over the front, or a section of the backboard. Concentrate on this area and don't watch the flight of the ball. When shooting, the shoulder acts as a "hinge" as you extend your arm upward.

Fully extend (straighten) the elbow while keeping the elbow in. Failing to extend the elbow results in "short-arming" the shot. Release the ball with a snap or the wrist, letting it roll off your fingertips. Then extend your fingers and wrist in a "gooseneck" fashion, or like you were "reaching into the cookie jar" high in the cupboard (see diagram).

the correct follow-through

Developing a Quick Release

See Shooting with a Quick Release by Coach Hal Wissel.

From Point Guard College... How to Develop a Deadly Pull-Up Jump Shot

Point Guard College

Related pages:

There are some excellent shooting videos (DVD's) that will help you. Tom Nordland's excellent SWISH Video/DVD will help you learn how to shoot, and is a great teaching tool for coaches wanting to learn how to correctly teach shooting form. Hal Wissel has two excellent Shooting DVD's that will take players and coaches to the next level. I highly recommend all three DVD's.

Helpful DVDs:

Creating the Perfect Jump Shot

Creating the Perfect Jump Shot
with Barry Hecker, former Memphis Grizzlies (NBA) and Los Angeles Clippers Assistant Coach; more than 30 years professional and collegiate coaching experience plus youth and high school coaching experience

For 40 years, Barry Hecker has taught youth, high school, college and NBA players how to shoot the basketball. In this video featuring an on-court presentation, Coach Hecker shares a shooting progression workout that every ambitious player should practice daily . He breaks down the fundamentals of shooting, shares several shooting drills and reveals one of the most forgotten weapons in the game of basketball... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD - Video Store!

Ganon Baker: 20 Shooting Drills for the Lost Art of the Jump Shot

Ganon Baker: 20 Shooting Drills for the Lost Art of the Jump Shot
with Ganon Baker, Nike Basketball Training Specialist, Ambidextrous Shooting Coach, World Renowned Instructor and Clinician.

Ganon Baker, owner of Shake N' Bake Basketball Services, works out more than 3,000 kids a year. He also teams with Nike as a Skill Development Trainer to work with the nation's best high school boys and girls basketball players. In this amazing DVD, Baker reveals his phenomenal individual shooting workout, including detailed instruction on shooting technique. Learn to master three critical areas of shooting technique: Footwork, catching the ball and the release. Once you have the stroke down, try out Baker's rigorous shooting drills. More than 20 advanced shooting drills in all. All of these drills focus on maintaining effective form and shooting technique... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD - Video Store!

Becoming a Champion Basketball Player: Jackie Stiles' 1,000 Shots Workout Routine

Becoming a Champion Basketball Player: Jackie Stiles' 1,000 Shots Workout Routine
with Jackie Stiles; 2001 WNBA Rookie of the Year; All-American at Southwest Missouri State University; 3X MVC Player of the Year; 4X MVC All-Conference Selection; led the nation in scoring (27.8 ppg) her junior year; All-time leading scorer in Kansas High School Basketball history (boys and girls) As a high school player, Jackie Stiles committed herself to become a better player and shooter by making 1,000 shots a day from her sophomore year in high school until her freshman year in college. Stiles believes that repetition, with correct technique, will make good shooters great.

Using the BEEF shooting principle, Stiles focuses on a number of teaching techniques including square up, one-two step, power foot, step back hesitation and the "Stiles hop."

The 1,000 shots workout distributes jump shots into seven different spots on the floor. From each spot she makes 100 shots. Between sets of jump shots, she will make 100 free throws... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD - Video Store!

Steve Alford - The Shot: Shooting Drills & Techniques

Steve Alford - The Shot: Shooting Drills & Techniques
with Steve Alford, UCLA Head Coach, former University of New Mexico Head Coach; former University of Iowa Head Basketball Coach, and former NCAA All-American, NBA guard, and Olympian.
Coach Alford covers every aspect of shooting in this video. Building your Shot begins at the free throw line with the catch and pivot, proper alignment and a shooter's attitude. Coach Alford then demonstrates simple techniques to expand your free throw into jump shots and shooting off the dribble. Learn how to correct "a flying elbow" and a poor pivot. Focus on correct alignment with Coach Alford's four-point checklist and develop the proper attitude to become a successful shooter. Finally, these principles are put to work in various shooting drills... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD - Video Store!

Swish Basketball Shooting Video

The Swish Video/DVD and the new "Swish-2" DVD, by shooting coach Tom Nordland. This is an excellent shooting DVD for players and is a great teaching tool for coaches wanting to learn how to correctly teach shooting form.
More info...

See this video (courtesy of Tom Nordland) and the wonderful shooting form of several great shooters who were taught using Tom Nordland's Swish method

Copyright © 2001 - 2016, James A. Gels, all rights reserved.

Copyright © James A. Gels, all rights reserved.
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