I am a big believer in form shooting. The first reason is because form shooting gives a player feedback on their shot, besides the feedback of a miss or a make.Sometimes when you are shooting the ball well, you can feel that everything is clicking, but when you are not shooting the ball well, it can be difficult to diagnose the problem. With form shooting, you can start to diagnose and understand what is happening with your shot without the input of other people. In a sense then, form shooting is like a self-diagnostic tool. The second reason I am a fan of form shooting is because when everything is going well during your form shooting routine, you are developing muscle memory. Developing this muscle memory is a huge key to becoming a great shooter. As they say, practice doesn’t really make perfect, it only develops muscle memory! And shooting incorrectly develops the muscle memory to continue to shoot incorrectly.

The following form shooting drill then is designed to make you a better shooter through creating good muscle memory. The drill involves the whole gamut of skills required to become a good shooter and can be changed to fit a variety of shooting skills. What is presented here is the skill of shooting off the dribble but this can be advanced to shooting off any screen, dribble or pass situation, going left, right or away from the basket. It can also be used with post moves such as jump hooks and moves starting off the lane.

The drill is best done on a basketball court but does not have to be. All you need is a target to line up with as if it is a basket. What you really need to start with is a coach who can evaluate your form, and of course, a basketball. Later you can start to understand what you are doing right and doing wrong and may not need a coach to tell you why. It takes some time to get to that point however.

The drill starts at the top of the key while facing the basket in a triple threat position. You can add a shot fake, pass fake or head and shoulders type of fake at any time but that is not necessary initially. Take 1 to 2 dribbles with your right hand to get to the right elbow and take a form jump shot. Reset from the top of the key and repeat it again. It is so simple that it sounds like it won’t help. But here is the caveat. Your coach will evaluate every aspect of the move and if one thing is not right, then that shot doesn’t count. They idea is that you can shoot 50 perfect form shots as determined by your coach. These do not have to be 50 perfect shots in a row, but the more you can do in a row helps you to be a more accomplished shooter. You may have to start with 10 perfect shots and move up incrementally.

So what are you evaluated on? Well, everything, but primarily those things you need work on and those things that are required in order to make the shot. The things that I think are important are the following:

1. A one-two stop rather than a jump stop at game speed. This gets the shot off quicker.
2. The feet set up in the right direction towards the basket in the right sequence.
3. The appropriate depth of your crouch when gathering for the shot, not too deep and not too shallow.
4. Hips, head and shoulders need to be square to the basket. (This starts with the feet.)
5. A straight back when jumping- no leaning or rotating
6. Elbow under the ball, Eyes on the rim.
7. The shot is released on the way up. (Remember, you are not actually shooting at the basket, the ball is simply going straight up in the air.)
8. The wrist is held flexed in the follow-through position until your feet touch the ground.
9. The ball is shot with the appropriate backspin so that when it hits the ground it bounces back to you.
10. You point to your coach (or to heaven) as a gesture of thanks for the assist.

When all 10 components are perfect, as decided by your coach, then the shot counts. As mentioned above it may be better start with 10 perfect shots to get used to the drill. Anyone who can be perfect in 10 out of 12 or 13 shots can move up to 20 etc. In the end, you want to be able to shoot 50 perfect form shots out of 60 attempts.

You can see how this type of repetition locks in your shooting form. In the final analysis of, if a shot goes in or not, what matters most are the little things. Did you get your feet set? Were you on balance? Did you follow through? This drill helps you to evaluate these things and create those muscle memories.

While this describes the basic drill, remember that some of the components required for a perfect shot may change based on the situation. For example, when practicing a form jump hook, the position of the arm going over the shoulder will be a big component. When running away from the basket, catching and turning to shoot, the footwork will change a little and becomes a different component.

Finally, with each type of shot that you become accomplished with, from different spots on the floor, you can then build your routine to take 10 perfect shots from all those different spots. Hit 10 out of 12 from each spot and then move on.


  1. Make 10 of 12 form shots perfectly from each position with and without a dribble, with and without a change in direction etc.