Upper Body Problems and Solutions for a Players Shooting Technique

A player’s Shooting Technique will need to be refined for as long as they intend to be involved with the sport of basketball. For some players this process will be more of a challenge then it is for others. The challenge however will remain even for very proficient shooters as they continue to find and define that advantage in long-range or consistent shooting.


No player has to settle with being a poor shooter. It all comes down to persistence, discipline and commitment to improving their shooting technique. A common misconception however is that all shooting techniques will be the same for every player. This is not the case, and there are significant differences to be seen between the best shooters in their technique from around the globe. A fundament shooting technique coach must be able to draw upon their own knowledge of shooting principles and experience to guide a player as best they can.


A good shooting technique where the players jump deviation is small helps a players judgement and shot consistency (Photo Source: JMR_Photography)
A good shooting technique where the players jump deviation is small helps a players judgement and shot consistency (Photo Source: JMR_Photography)

The first problem with the upper body of player within their shooting technique to be focused upon is leaning too far forward or backward. A player when in a shooting stance should be positioned with a flexion at their hips which sees the shoulders slightly forward so the player’s shoulders are in line with their feet within squatting in the first position of their shooting stance. This will account for the player leaning slightly forward. However, in the shoulder moves past this point it will cause a number of issues for the players shooting technique.


For example the player will start to create an imbalance between the jumping up and out towards the basket. This will lower the arch of the shot and can (if significant enough) lower the margin for error and in turn lower shooting percentage. Additionally, this problem will also increase the range of movement within the players jump deviation (difference between the point at which a player starts their jump and where they finish following their release and contact back with the floor). Increasing this movement means a players head is constantly in motion and can make the judgement of distance and required force harder to perform consistently.


Alternatively, if the player leans too far back they may experience the opposite effect. Their shooting technique might be plagued by the problem of putting too much elevation into their shot and not pushing the ball enough to the basket.


The variation in shoulder positioning also has a negative effect on vision. The error in body positioning will mean the head can sometimes be restricted in vision during the flow of the shooting technique. This will inevitably lead to the player adjusting their shot to improve their vision or becoming comfortable with less than ideal positioning. Both scenarios are not good for players and coaches should be focused on identifying flaw in a players shooting technique early.


The upper body of a player is only one piece of the puzzle in analysing a player shooting technique. To help with what can be a very daunting task try isolating each of the areas of the body involved in a players shooting action. This might help see flaws which otherwise would go unnoticed because they are not the most significant issue. Remember, the shooting technique is a work in progress, but this does not mean we have to start by working on one issue at a time.


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Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

2 Comments on “Upper Body Problems and Solutions for a Players Shooting Technique

    • Often with upper body problems utilising film can be highly valuable. For example, filming shots from infant, behind and to the side will help with this perspective.

      The starting point for the shooting action should see the player with their nose over their toes, and as they extend and push through they should have a straight back not leaning forward or backwards.

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