Shooting The Basketball Better

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Shooting the basketball better requires players to stop and take stock of their techniques in order to identify possible flaws. Too often, young shooters aren't taught the fundamentals of arm and hand positioning, shoulder and torso orientation, footwork, and sighting, and consequently carry their bad habits with them to the next level. The older these players get, the harder it is for them to banish these mistakes for good.

For many players, shooting the basketball better is simply about making slight adjustments to a mostly sound technique. This may mean bringing the left (or guiding) hand down from the side of the basketball so that it's closer to the dominant (or shooting) hand. If hand positioning is solid, there may be slight imperfections in the player's elevation, which ought to be straight up from his starting point, not falling forward or fading away.

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Say your hand positioning and elevation are both technically flawless and you're still missing badly on jump shots. There could be any number of culprits, but body alignment is the one of the most common. For "set" shots--that is, shots from stationary positions--your hips ought to be centered over your feet, while your shoulders should be slightly forward from your hips. Note that this does not mean that your shoulders are angled toward the basket; to the contrary, they should be perfectly squared to it.

Shooting the basketball better is also a function of your release, which determines not only where your shot begins its journey toward the hoop, but how defendable it is. Shooters who launch from their chests may find that defenders have no trouble swatting their shots, while overhead shooters may be wildly inaccurate. Before coaches start overhauling their players' shooting technique, however, it's important that they consider factors such as their athletes' ages and, consequently, their physical strength. A lot of youngsters simply aren't strong enough to shoot properly until they're a bit older.

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