Submitted by Coach Vic Pruden. 

Here is an exercise that will help you learn to shoot the most
effective shot in basketball, the jumper. Though this exercise is for
all ages, boys and girls under age13 should use a smaller ball and a
lower basket (8 ft. 6 in.).

Getting Set

Stand two or three feet directly in front of the basket. Assume a jumping stance. Your feet are shoulder- width apart, and parallel to each other with one foot slightly ahead of the other. (You should learn to shoot with either foot forward.) The knees are flexed.

Although both feet are entirely in contact with the court, almost your entire body weight should be on the balls of the feet and distributed equally on both feet. Your shoulders should be square to the basket and slightly ahead of your hips, which should be directly over the mid point of your feet. Your head should be erect.

Hand position

Hold the ball with two hands, both in front of you and close to the body, and just above waist level. The fingers and thumbs of both hands are pointing directly away from you; keep the elbows in. The hands should be on the top half of the ball.

The complete inner surface of the hands should be in contact with the ball. The fingers and thumbs of each hand are spread comfortably. The distances separating the fingers and the thumbs should be the same. The forefingers should be parallel to each other. To hold the ball, push both hands towards its center to create enough pressure to hold it.

Maintaining control

To establish fingertip control, apply gentle, but firm pressure with the pads of your fingers--namely the area between the tips of the fingers and thumbs and the first joint. Applying this pressure creates a paper- thin air space along the fingers, thumbs and palms, starting at the first joint and ending at the heel of the hand. Cock the wrists, making sure they are relaxed, so that you can easily cock and uncock them in a full range of motion. (To cock your wrists, bring the back of the hands towards the body. Do not lock your wrists!)

The ball-body relationship

Now move the ball to the point above and in front of your head from which you will shoot. You must be able to see the basket under the ball. As you raise the ball, rotate your shooting hand so that it is directly behind and under the ball by the time it reaches shooting position. As you rotate the shooting hand, which controls the ball, the non-shooting hand slides over the ball, ending to the side and slightly under the ball. The non-shooting hand takes no part in the shot. Its job is to help hold and protect the ball until the moment the shooting action begins.

Hold the ball as high as possible. The higher you hold the ball, the taller you become. Ideally, there should be only a slight bend in the elbow of the shooting arm, particularly when you are close to the basket. Keep the ball directly in front of you. Looking from the side, one should see that the forearm is vertical, so that the wrist is directly over the elbow. From the front, the elbow of the shooting hand should be directly in front of or slightly inside the shoulder, never outside. Now you are in SET POSITION.


Your shooting action begins the moment you are in a set position. Shooting is a one-piece action in which you quickly jump and uncock the wrist. This quick jumping action generates most of the power for the shot with the feet barely leaving the floor. The hand comes forward as the wrist is uncocked, and the ball immediately begins to rise up on the fingertips. Quick wrist action and fingertip control give a crisp back spin to the ball. For maximum control of the ball, it should come off the tips of the forefinger and middle finger.

To transfer power from the legs to the ball, release the ball just as, or just before, you complete your jumping action. Make sure the ball leaves the fingertips before the arm straightens in follow through. As the shooting arm straightens in follow- through, the wrist should end up only slightly ahead of the elbow, which should not be tightly locked. The hand will have completed its full range of motion from being cocked back to being crisply snapped forward.

From the arc

The farther you are from the basket, the more power you need. To get more power, increase the flex or bend in your knees. If necessary, you can lower the shooting position of the ball, but never so low that you cannot see the basket from under the ball. When you get to a distance from the basket at which you begin to force the shot, you have reached the limit of your shooting range.

It is the responsibility of the coach to develop and teach a system of play which will help players to be organized on offense. For an example of such a system of play, go to .

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