Shooting is a critical part of the game and it requires excellent mechanics, unfortunately there are a lot of people giving bad advice online. Without proper mechanics you will shoot a low percentage and have a lot of your shots blocked.
Below are important tips regarding shooting mechanics:
- Hold the ball on your finger tips. In order to have proper control of the ball only your finger tips should be touching.
- Start small, end tall. At the start of your shot you should be small, your legs bent as if you were sitting (this is where your power comes from). Then as you continue through your shooting motion you are springing up, ending with your body straight and your hands high in the air, ending tall. (Starting your shot standing up straight is a common mistake that really hurts your shooting percentage. You need your legs to get the ball up, especially in a game when you are tired, don’t make your arms do all the work.)
- Middle to middle. Your elbow should be in, pointing to the middle of the rim. The same goes for your middle finger on the follow through, your shot should finish as if you were dipping your hand into the rim.
- Snap the elbow. As you reach the peek of your shot your arm should straighten out in such a motion that your elbow snaps back a little (this may feel weird the first time). The MOST COMMON MISTAKE amateurs make is not fully extending their arm.
- Elbow above your eyes. At point of release your elbow should be above your eyes. Many players learn to push their arm out towards the basket in order to get enough distance on the ball, this results in many blocked shots and a low percentage flat arc shot. Fix this by practicing close shots with one hand and starting low to make sure you get power from your legs.
- Follow through. You should always follow through, your arm finishing straight, your wrist loose, your fingers hanging down. Your fingers should be naturally hanging, not tight together or pointing.
- Hold your follow through. By holding your follow through you are engraining it into your muscle memory, making your mechanics come naturally without conscious thought.
In this video Steve does an excellent job of demonstrating how to hold the ball and follow through. Watch how he snaps the elbow and finishes with his elbow above his eyes.
Below is a 5 minute video that explains how to practice a shot with good mechanics.