What Are the Common Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting in Basketball?

Basketball is a game of skill, precision, and relentless practice. Every player, from the backyard enthusiast to the seasoned professional, aims to perfect their shot because, in many ways, shooting is the essence of the game. However, mastering the art of shooting is no small feat. It requires not only dedication but also a keen awareness of the pitfalls that can impede your progress. 

In this article, we’ll dive into the common mistakes to avoid when shooting in basketball, offering insights and tips to help you refine your technique, boost your accuracy, and elevate your game to new heights. Whether you’re looking to polish your fundamentals or troubleshoot persistent issues, understanding these mistakes and how to correct them can be a game-changer in your basketball journey.

Understanding the Importance of Proper Shooting Technique

Proper shooting technique in basketball is crucial for consistency and accuracy. It involves correct body alignment, grip, and balance, ensuring the ball follows a precise path towards the basket. A good technique also minimizes the risk of injury by promoting efficient movement patterns. 

Mastering these fundamentals enhances a player’s reliability under pressure, contributing to overall team performance. Additionally, it allows for quicker adjustments to defense strategies, making a player more versatile and unpredictable. In essence, refining shooting technique is foundational for any player aiming to excel in basketball and contribute significantly to their team’s success.

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting in Basketball

Improving your basketball shooting skills involves not only consistent practice but also an awareness of common mistakes to avoid. By recognizing these errors, players can refine their technique, boost their accuracy, and become more reliable shooters on the court. Here are seven common mistakes and tips on how to correct them:

  1. Incorrect Hand Position

The way you position your hands on the basketball is fundamental to your shooting accuracy. A prevalent mistake is misaligning the shooting hand, either placing it too far to the side or not directly under the ball, while the guide hand might overly influence the shot’s direction. This improper placement can cause the ball to veer off course. 

The correct technique involves positioning your shooting hand (the dominant hand) directly under the ball, with your fingers spread comfortably for a controlled grip. Your guide hand should rest lightly on the side of the ball, ensuring it does not alter the ball’s trajectory upon release. Focus on using your guide hand solely for stability, letting your shooting hand do the work to foster consistency and precision in your shots.

  1. Poor Shooting Stance

An often overlooked aspect of shooting is the player’s stance. Having your feet too close together, too far apart, or misaligned with the basket can lead to unbalanced shots and decreased shooting accuracy. The ideal stance is with your feet shoulder-width apart, providing a stable base. 

Your dominant foot should be a little forward to align with the rim, aiding in body coordination and balance. This stance helps distribute your weight evenly between your feet, enabling a more powerful and controlled shot. Engage your legs and core as you shoot, using the strength from your lower body to generate the necessary force for longer shots.

  1. Rushing the Shot

Under game pressure, players often hurry their shots, sacrificing accuracy for speed. This rush can disrupt the natural shooting rhythm and lead to poor shot selection. To counteract this, practice shooting in a controlled environment, focusing on your technique and rhythm. When in a game, take a brief moment to set yourself up, even when under pressure. Remember, a well-taken shot is more likely to score than a rushed one. Developing a quick but controlled shooting motion through repetition will help you become more efficient and less prone to rushing your shots during games.

  1. Neglecting the Follow-Through

The follow-through is essential for shot accuracy and control. A common mistake is to snap the wrist too quickly or not at all, leading to inconsistent shots. A proper follow-through involves extending your shooting arm fully, with your wrist relaxed, allowing the ball to roll off your fingertips, and your hand finishing in a downward motion towards the basket, often referred to as the “gooseneck” position. This motion ensures that you impart proper backspin on the ball, stabilizing its flight toward the hoop and improving your chances of scoring.

  1. Inconsistent Shooting Motion

Consistency in your shooting motion is key to becoming a reliable shooter. Players often alter their shooting form based on the situation or become inconsistent in their mechanics over time. To develop a consistent shooting motion, practice the same shooting technique repeatedly until it becomes second nature. 

This includes your hand position, stance, and follow-through. Video analysis can be a helpful means to identify any inconsistencies in your shooting form and make necessary adjustments. Consistent practice with attention to maintaining the same form on every shot will greatly improve your shooting accuracy.

  1. Ignoring the Arc

The trajectory of your shot greatly influences its success. A flat shot has less chance of going in than one with a higher arc. The mistake of ignoring the arc can lead to more missed shots, as a flatter trajectory has less margin for error. To correct this, focus on shooting the ball with a higher arc, aiming to get the ball to peak just above the backboard level. This can be achieved by ensuring a full extension of your shooting arm and a proper follow-through, giving the ball enough lift to have a favorable trajectory. Practicing with this focus will help make your shots more consistent and difficult to block.

  1. Lack of Focus on the Target

Failing to focus on your target can lead to off-mark shots. Players sometimes concentrate too much on their mechanics or the defenders, losing sight of where they are aiming. To enhance your shooting accuracy, practice focusing on a specific part of the rim or backboard, depending on your angle to the basket, before taking your shot. 

This laser focus helps in aligning your body and mechanics towards the target, leading to better accuracy. Regular basketball training with a focus on the target, even in non-shooting drills, can improve your ability to maintain concentration under pressure, leading to more successful shots in games.


What exercises can help with shooting stability and power in basketball?

Strengthening exercises for the legs, core, and arms can significantly improve shooting stability and power. Squats, lunges, and calf raises build leg strength, while planks and abdominal workouts enhance core stability. For arm strength, focus on exercises like push-ups, wrist curls, and tricep dips. Incorporating basketball-specific drills that simulate shooting motions can also help build the necessary muscle groups and improve overall shooting performance.

How important is mental focus during shooting, and how can I improve it?

Mental focus is crucial for successful shooting as it allows you to block out distractions and concentrate on the task at hand. To improve mental focus, practice mindfulness, and visualization techniques. Before shooting, visualize a successful shot, focusing on the trajectory and feel of the ball leaving your hands. During practice, set specific goals and maintain a positive mindset, even when faced with challenges. Concentration exercises and consistent mental preparation can also enhance your focus during games.

Can practicing with different basketballs affect my shooting technique?

Practicing with different basketballs can slightly affect your shooting technique due to variations in grip, weight, and feel. However, it can also be beneficial as it prepares you for situations where you might not be using your preferred ball. To minimize any negative impact, regularly practice with the type of ball used in your competitions. Additionally, focusing on the fundamentals of your shooting technique, rather than the specific feel of the ball, can help maintain consistency across different equipment.

How do I adjust my shooting technique for long-range shots?

Adjusting your technique for long-range shots involves increasing the power generated from your legs and core, ensuring a higher arc, and maintaining a strong follow-through. Focus on bending your knees more deeply to generate additional force and use your core muscles to maintain stability and control. Ensure your arm motion is fluid and that you maintain a consistent follow-through to give the ball the necessary trajectory and spin. Practicing long-range shots regularly will help fine-tune these adjustments and make them more natural in your shooting routine.


Recognizing and correcting the common mistakes to avoid when shooting in basketball is essential for any player aiming to enhance their game. From hand positioning to focusing on your target, each aspect of your technique contributes to your overall performance. By committing to improvement and practicing diligently, you can overcome these pitfalls and become a more accurate and reliable shooter.

If you’re looking to elevate your shooting skills and avoid these common mistakes, Revolution Basketball Training offers comprehensive training programs designed to refine your technique, boost your confidence, and help you excel on the court. Contact us today and start your journey to becoming a standout shooter.

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