I was watching a video the other day, Tony Pappas and the Art of Shooting. It had some great tips on developing better shooters.

3 Core Shooting Concepts:
- technique
- repetition
- mental aspect

I've always said that to be a good shooter, just requires practice. But shooting is like golf. There are a bunch of guys that have unorthodox swings, but play in the PGA, because they practice so often. But if you have a good swing technique combined with practice, you'll be that much better. Jim Furyk is a great example, terrible swing form, but because he practices, he's good. Tiger Woods, perfect swing form + practice = best golfer in the world.

The other concept here is degrees of difference. Sometimes there are different points of emphasis, or slightly different ball/body position. However, the fundamentals stay the same.

Body Position:
- 10 toes pointed to the basket
- hips + shoulder squared
- feet placed directly underneath shoulders, not too wide, not too narrow

Ball Position:
- hand placement on the ball in the center
- check for air b/w ball and palm
- ball should be on pads of fingers, never too high, never too low like on resting on the palm
- thumbs should form a T (can touch or not)
- palm to the sky, arm should form a 90-degree angle

The Shooting line:
- toe, knee, elbow, ball
- There should be an imaginary line that goes from the floor, to the toe, thru the knee, up to the elbow and to the ball

The Shooting Pocket:
- shoulders, elbow form the shooting pocket
- tight and tucked, very important
- eyes over the ball, see the rim

Eyes Thru the Window:
- Eyes focused on the rim as the ball goes up looking thru the arms
- Don't follow the arc and path

Push, Down and Out:
- with middle finger first, then forefinger, hold the release

- finish with the elbow at the eyes
- finish on top of the toes then back down on the heels

Another neat concept is to use tape and make lines, both on the court, and a big one on the ball. That way, you can see if the shooter is in the right alignment all the way through.

Here is what the proper ball position should look like, or at least resemble,


I see all kinds of bad shooting form from most kids these days. I see a lot of staggered feet, elbows flapping around, and head cocking. Sometimes, kids get good at shooting despite the bad form, but I've always felt it was better to shoot worse with proper form and correct it over time, then to let bad habits linger. Remember, you could be a Jim Furyk and play in the PGA with a funky swing, or you could be a Tiger Woods, the best golfer ever with the best swing ever.

For more great info on shooting technique, take a look at Ed Palubinskas's DVD on Becoming a Great Shooter. Coach Palubinskas has worked with professionals such as Lisa Leslie, Shaquille O'Neal and recently Lauren Jackson. To discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk with other coaches from around the world.