Shooting Overview

“Shooting a basketball is a complex muscular movement requiring the entire body to work in unison.  The elements of shooting need to be efficient, repeatable and practiced regularly to become effective.“

- Coach Tom


The Stance


Building upon a strong foundation is essential to your shooting success. Keeping that in mind, we strongly recommend that you use a staggered stance as your base; placing your shooting-side foot slightly forward of your off-side foot in a toe-to-arch relationship. Your feet should be spaced approximately shoulder width apart with a slight turn into the stance. This will ensure a balanced foundation on which to develop your shot.

You want to avoid the classic “Squaring Up” of the feet, which positions both feet along the same plane. Orienting your feet in this manner would suggest that you would be shooting from your mid-line (or right down the middle of your body). However, since the popularization of the one-handed shot, we now shift our alignment towards the shooting side.

 The “Staggered Stance" allows the shooting-shoulder to rotate slightly forward for the shot, allowing for a more fluid and efficient shooting motion.  Squared up feet will result in squared up shoulders, which will cause body rotation during the shooting motion. That extra motion to your shooting mechanics will make your shot less efficient and less repeatable because you are adding a variable of extra movement. You may also experience a reduction in power transfer from your legs up the chain of movement, which will limit your shooting range.

Power Production


The total power you can produce during the shooting motion is a product of your upper body and lower body strength. The upper body includes the arms, hands and shoulder muscle groups, which typically produce 20 - 25% of the shooting power.  The lower body includes the largest muscle groups and can produce 75-80% of the total body power. Synchronized power production from the upper and lower body is necessary for propelling the ball to the basket.

Before we dig deeper into the production of power in your shot, we need to be clear on two distinctions. The first is that the lower body is the Power Generator, which will provide nearly all of the force necessary to get the ball to the basket. The second is that the upper body is the Delivery System; tasked with accurately aiming the trajectory of your shot.

The reason why this classification is important is because a byproduct of force generation is muscle tension, which, if present in your upper body delivery, will greatly diminish your accuracy. Any strain or stiffness in your release can result in a flat shot, improper finger release, or a very live shot with too much energy bound up in the ball.

The key to creating power and getting range on your shot is something we call Connectivity. The idea behind this is to maximize energy transfer from your lower body to your upper body and the eventual release of the ball.

This coordination between the timing of lower and upper body movements is called the Kinetic Chain. Without proper timing along the chain, the shot will feel under-powered and you will struggle simply trying to get the ball to the basket. The further you move away from the basket, the more you will be forced to rely upon your shoulders to generate the necessary power to reach the rim, which results in the muscular tension we just mentioned. This usually results in a shot that is short, has a flat arc, and an inconsistent finish.

Connecting all the moving parts in the shooting motion is achieved by initiating the shoulder-arm stroke BEFORE the completion of the leg extension to ensure energy transfer from the lower body up throught the upper body towards the release. Additionally, power production is typically at its highest in the middle of the movement, not in the beginning or end of the motion (maximum flexion or extension).

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