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Basketball Shooting Form

Using the Toss-Back Shooting Drill to Improve Technique

This is a simple drill, but a very effective way to focus on basketball shooting form. It's quick, so it won't take up much practice time, and players are able to focus on the basic fundamentals of proper shooting technique. It adds in, as well, some practice in other areas of the game - passing and rebounding, for example.

It's a good drill to run at the beginning of the pre-season, when players are trying to get their shooting form to flow consistently; a better drill to run once the season is underway and your players have had several months of instruction and practice - at this point, they can run the drill and the coaches can wander from player to player and adjust the shooting form as necessary.

And since it is uncomplicated, without defense or patterns to worry about, it is an especially good drill to run when you are trying to iron out problems with your players' shooting techniques.

Reminders to Players

Good Basketball Shooting Form Happens When:

  • the shooter drops his body weight as he is catching the pass, turning in the direction of the basket as his knees bend

  • the shooter's feet are squared to the hoop - i.e., both feet point at the basket, the lead foot (for a right handed shooter, that would be the right foot) pointing directly at the basket, the off foot a little to the side

  • the shooter raises the ball along the side of his body to the shooting position

  • the ball is shot from above the head, with the shooting arm cocked at about ninety degrees, the ball held on the fingertips, the off hand on the side of the ball to steady and protect it

  • the ball is shot at the top of the jump, with the wrist snapping down to put backspin on the ball

  • all of this is one fluid motion - catch, square and bend knees, bring ball up and jump, shoot - one continuous movement

Improving Basketball Shooting Form: The Toss-Back Shooting Drill

The drill uses a Toss Back. If you have never used one before, it might be something for you to consider trying. Toss-backs add a different dimension to drills, save on manpower (use them instead of having a player stand in one spot for the drill simply to pass back to another player), and besides allowing players to practice shooting form, they also help focus passing - creating better accuracy in all players.

However, if you don't have a toss-back, simply have a player stand in that position to receive the pass and pass it back.

  • Two lines of shooters are set up, each line in front of a toss-back. In the diagram they are set up on either side of the court, but the toss-backs can be set up anywhere at all.

  • Each player has a ball

  • On the coach's whistle, the first player on each line passes to the toss-back in front of him, steps forward to receive the pass as it comes back to him, squares to the hoop and takes a jump shot.

  • The player follows his shot - if he misses, he rebounds and drives to put it in; if he makes the shot, he simply rebounds the ball and moves to the end of the other line.

basketball shooting form - toss back

Other resources to help develop your players' shooting abilities:

Better Basketball Coaching Pages & Resources
External Resources

Final Reminders

The best part of the Toss Back Drill is that it is simple, with few distractions for your shooters. Remind players to remain focused on their basketball shooting form, as the coaches walk about and adjust shots as they see the need. If necessary, have them slow down and exaggerate the movements to get the rhythm and flow right, before speeding it up again. Focus on fundamentals. Run the drill for one or two minutes, or as long as you need.

Find more drills to improve Basketball Shooting Form here

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