Basketball Tips For Shooting

Basketball shooting tips will help you increase your shooting percentage and overall scoring efficiency through better decision making.

Offcourse I can’t talk about basketball shooting tips without going through the principles of “BEEF,” but shooting “R-O-B-O-T” principles will also be discussed. Here are the acronyms in short:

  • B: Balanced
  • E: Eyes
  • E: Elbow
  • F: Follow through


  • R: Range
  • O: Open
  • B: Balance
  • O: One-count
  • T: Teammates

Triple-Threat Stance

The first you’ll always hear about basketball shooting tips is B-E-E-F. This is where anyone should begin to improve their shot: at the fundamentals of basketball shooting. The basketball shooting tips B-E-E-F principles won’t be as effective without proper body control. Because of this, before getting into that, let’s visit proper body control and positioning.

As the basketball scoring tips page says, to get good shots, the first thing you’re going to want to do is moving without the ball. This will help to get you open for higher percentage shots.

Once you get open, then you’re going to immediately get into triple threat position. Triple threat means that you are ready to shoot, dribble, or pass without any unnecessary additional movement that will slow you down. So, the most basic of the basketball shooting tips is the triple threat position, because if you’re showing a threat to do something other than shoot, then the defenders aren’t as likely to crowd you to prevent the shot.

Here are the triple threat basics:

The Triple Threat Stance

  • You should be facing the basket, eyes on the rim so you can see the whole floor.
  • Balanced. Be evenly balanced, both side to side and front to back. Which leads to…
  • Knees slightly bent, back straight, feet about shoulder width apart slightly staggered (one foot slightly in front of the other), back straight.
  • Both hands on the ball, on your strong side, so that you are able to shoot right away if open. Your strong hand should be behind the ball and your weak hand on the side.

The dribbling portion leads into some basketball shooting tips for shooting layups, the most basic of shots:

The basic principles of shooting layups are that you jump off of the opposite leg than hand you are shooting with. If you’re shooting a right-handed lay-up, then jump off of your left leg and vice versa. You have to be able to shoot both right and left-handed layups. This is because you want to shoot with the hand opposite your defender to protect the ball. To help do this, time your last dribble with the step of your inside leg, then bring the ball up with both hands at chest level on the side away from the defender.

Next, you want to jump off the opposite leg and then bring the knee up of the non-jumping leg. Straighten it again just before the peak of the jump. Then, use a soft touch with either an overhand/”push” shot or an underhand/”scoop” shot. Of course, use the backboard to your advantage.


Now that you know what to do when catching the ball, and layup principles, here (perhaps again) are the principles of B-E-E-F for spot-up shooting:

B: Balance
The triple threat stance actually takes care of this, but just to keep pounding this concept into your head:

Be balanced, even before the ball gets to you because you want to be spotting up ready to get a quick, but non-hurried, shot up.

Have your feet facing the basket, slightly staggered with your dominant foot slightly leading. Your knees should be slightly bent with all of your weight centered (so you’re not leaning forward, backward, or to the side).

E: Eyes
Your eyes should be focused on the basket when shooting. Before shooting, see the whole floor, but when shooting, narrow your focus to not just the rim, but a smaller spot on the rim or square. Examples could be the back of the rim, an imaginary center of the rim, or the top corner of the square. You should NOT move your focus from the narrow spot on the basket to a defender flying at you, this will definitely decrease your chances of making the shot a great deal.

E: Elbow
You want to keep your elbow “up and in” when shooting. The main thing you don’t want happening here is that you don’t want your elbow to swing out (or in). Instead, it should stay on a “single plane” in which you can pretty much draw a straight line up and down from the beginning of your shot to the end.

F: Follow Through
This is somewhat related to the second “E,” because following through means that you’ve fully extended your arm, with your elbow locked. “Flick” your wrist so that you’ve fully extended it and then “followed through” with it so that your fingers are pointed down and straight toward the basket, simulating your hand being in the cookie jar (not pointing down and off to the right or left). If you’re not shooting a free throw, then hold this for a one-count, because you’re going to want to follow your shot or get back on defense. If you’re shooting a free throw, hold it until the ball goes in.

The basketball shooting tips’ principles of B-E-E-F should be followed, but how can you be completely sure you’re following them?

Videotape your shot! The best way to improve your basketball shooting fundamentals is to videotape yourself shooting, both in practice and in games. Then you can see if you’re doing something like popping your elbow out or leaning, etc. You can also talk to your coach, teammates, or parents to see if they notice anything about your shot.

Having trouble with your elbow getting the shot straight up or following through?…
Check out the “one-handed shooting drill” on the Basketball Shooting Drills page.


The principles of R-O-B-O-T basketball shooting tips overlap with B-E-E-F but go a little further into smart decisions when it comes to shooting in basketball.

R: Range
What this is saying is that you are in an effective scoring range. All players have effective scoring ranges, some longer than others. Most centers aren’t going to be firing up 3-pointers, for example. So if a center is open for a three, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she should be taking that shot (unless they’re Channing Frye).

O: Open
You shouldn’t be shooting when you’re not open to shooting (with a few exceptions to the rule, such as shot clocks or end of period situations). If you’re double teamed, then someone else probably has a better shot. This is related to the “T” of R-O-B-O-T.

B: Balance
Does this sound familiar? It’s obviously very important that you have good balance when shooting the ball. As with B-E-E-F, you should have a stable center of gravity. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart, slightly staggered with your dominant foot closer to the basket. Your knees should be slightly bent before you go into your shooting motion and neither before you shoot, nor while you shoot should you be leaning to one side.

O: One-Count
Shots should be one-count, in a couple of factors. First, you want your shot to be one single motion. Feet should be ready when receiving the ball, and you should be in triple-threat so there is no unnecessary movement such as dipping the ball or swinging a leg. It should be one count from the start of shot to finish.

Then, as the “F” of the B-E-E-F basketball shooting tips states, there should be one count on your follow through. After that, FOLLOW YOUR SHOT! If you miss, you can get another shot!

T: Teammates
None of your teammates has a better shot than you do. This ties back to being open. If you’re double or triple teamed, your teammates should be cutting to the basket or finding the open spot on the floor. If a teammate has a better shot, pass the ball to them, but if you’ve got a better shot, don’t hesitate to take it.

Additional Basketball Shooting Tips

Now that the basketball shooting tips of B-E-E-F and R-O-B-O-T have been explained, here are a few more tips:

As stated before, videotape your shot, it will help you to determine what changes, if any, need to be made to improve your shooting mechanics.

Also, use the backboard as much as possible. It will greatly improve your shooting percentage. The best areas to use the backboard to make bank shots are at 45-degree angles from the rim. This is generally from the top of the bottom blocks to the bottom of the first block off of the free throw line and extended. The same arc should be used even if you are shooting bank shots, as well as touch.

Finally, know the difference between the shooting hand and the balance or guide hand. The shooting hand should have fingers spread comfortably with the ball touching everything but the heel of the hand. The thumb and index finger should have a decent amount of distance between them, with them forming about a 70-degree angle.

The guide hand is just that, a guide, it should not affect the path of the ball at all, except to prevent your shooting hand’s thumb from spinning the ball (thumb drag). It’s kept on the side of the ball and is released at the peak of the shot, just slightly moving away from the ball. It ends about at the level of the shooting hand’s wrist and in a vertical position. Picture patting your extended shooting arm’s forearm just below the wrist with your non-shooting hand.

The above basketball shooting tips will help improve your shot, but if you want to improve your scoring average, also check out the basketball scoring tips pages. They will help you to improve your overall scoring efficiency.

Also consider the training video “Better Basketball’s Better Shooting,” which you can get below…