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Five Steps to the Perfect Shot

by Jay Wolf, founder of the Star Shooter Program


Catch the ball with the feet and hands ready to shoot.

Hands: Wrist cocked

  • Two shooting fingers pointing up and in the middle of the ball

  • Off hand at 9 o'clock (right hand shooter) or 3 o'clock (left hand shooter)

  • Ball is not touching the palm of the shooting hand

Feet: Pointing toward the basket

  • Shooting foot is positioned ahead of the non-shooting foot. Toe of non-shooting foot is even with the instep of the shooting foot.

Body: Flexed at the knees and hips as if in a defensive stance

  • This provides balance and improved range.


Vertical Alignment - Elbow in & ball out (Move the ball into and up the "elevator")

  • All parts of the shooting arm - upper, lower, hand, and two shooting fingers (index and middle) - are in a vertical plain to the side of the face, out in front of shoulder. This is the shooting pocket - where the shot begins. The ball then moves straight up. It is much like an elevator. If feet or arms are extending into the doorway, the doors will not close. Once inside, the elevator moves straight up and down. It should be noted that the ball is started from different heights depending on distance and a players strength. Those with less strength must start the ball lower in the pocket. Key phrases for this step are: "Elbow in - ball out" and "Into & Up the elevator"


One hand release

  • When both hands are above the height of the head (NOT ABOVE THE HEAD), the ball is sent on its way with a one hand release. The one hand release is the most important shooting skill to master because it produces the greatest accuracy. The ball should move up the elevator and released in one smooth motion. Be aware of keeping the ball in front of the body. Allowing it to go back behind the head and then forward reduces range and arc.


Freeze the release

  • When the ball is sent on its way, freeze both hands for two seconds. This produces greater accuracy and form. The shooting hand should end up high above and in line with the basket.



  • Learning to concentrate on your target - blocking out all distraction - is an absolute necessity in order to be a great shooter. Keep your eyes on a small area on the front of the rim - about two inches wide. The focus point is not for distance, but for left/right accuracy.

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