Shooting 101

Shooting 101

Do you have BEEF? 

I mean with your shot, of course. 

Balance. Eyes. Elbow. Follow through. = BEEF.

This is basically the formula for a consistent, perfect shot. Seem simple enough? Well, let’s review the following shooting progression a little more closely so that you may get the specifics.


Every shot starts with your feet first. It is vital that you maintain a proper foundational balance in order to get the reliable shot that you want. Shoulders should be facing the target. Feet are about shoulder width apart, with the same foot as your shooting hand slightly in front of the other. (Ex: if you are right handed, your right foot should be slightly in front of your left foot, and vice versa.)

A majority of shots are missed simply due to the player being off balance. Ironically, it is something that begins before the ball is even shot, but greatly determines the outcome. Good shooters do their work early and prepare for success by being disciplined; making sure that every shot they take is on balance.


See the target. Another overlooked step in the shooting process deals with seeing the target. In my opinion, it is mainly about focus. You must stay engaged and have a razor sharp focus on the particular point that connects you to success. Sloppy shooters rush this step in the process, and thus the ball doesn’t stand a chance.


Lift the ball and raise your elbow to a 90-degree angle. No chicken wings, please. The key to remember here is that the ball must be shot with one hand. A good reference to help you achieve this is to make a “T” with your two thumbs. Your shooting hand will go underneath the ball and you can use the other hand as the guide hand, sliding the thumb on your non-shooting hand along the side of the ball. Your wrist should be bent backwards and have some slight wrinkles.

Follow through 

The finish is the follow through; the follow through is the finish. It sounds so simple, yet it is the step that makes or breaks a shot. If the shot is already going in, the follow through can determine whether or not the shot will be a swish--it’s that specific and important. The follow through is possibly best characterized as a “gooseneck”, but I believe it is the methodical players who make sure to use it consistently that are the true illustrations of a shot beautifully follow through-ed. The two things you are looking for here are arc and backspin.

The most important detail to note about shooting is that in order to get the peak results, you must develop muscle memory. The way you obtain optimal muscle memory is through laborious repetition, i.e., good old-fashioned hard work. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts I can sell you there.

Now that you’ve got BEEF with me, let me know how you approach shooting 101! What are your thoughts on how to complete the perfect shot? (Bricklayers need not apply.) 

Four time All-American, WNBA Champion, Edutainer and Coach