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Shooting Rhythm Breakdown pt.1

Do you understand the Rhythm of your shot?

If so you should be able to answer these questions.

How does your shot feel?

What is the path of the ball?

What is the timing of each movement working together?

Do you know what these things are?

Lets look a bit deeper.


Becoming a great shooter takes a lot, and I do mean a lot of work. Countless hours of taking the same shot, over and over, day in, day out until they become automatic. Then spending some more time to make sure they stay automatic.

There is lots to learn and understand about shooting a basketball, but once you do you will see improvements in the consistency of your shot and the ability to adapt in game through having the knowledge to do so. Without the knowledge and control you are just guessing.

Before you can fully understand the Rhythm of your shot, you must understand the checkpoints the ball travels through on its path to the basket, this is your Shot Path. Once you understand this then you can find the Rhythm to your shot.

I like to break the path of the ball down into 4 checkpoints:

· Gather

· Holster

· Shot Pocket

· Release

These will allow you to get a deeper understanding of why the ball follows this path and how it can help with the RHYTHM of your shot.



Not focused on as part of the shot, however, the way you gather the ball, be it from catching a pass or off the dribble, can make a big difference to the overall shot.

When you gather the ball, in two hands, you need to get used to getting your hands into the right position so you can go straight into our shot. If we don’t it can throw off our rhythm and release.

Many players like to get their index and middle finger on the groves of the ball as they feel it gives them a better feel and touch with their release. Because of this every time they gather the ball, they move their fingers onto the groves. Many beginners will catch the ball, then move it around in their hands, then shoot. Obviously, this is taking up valuable split seconds that can be the difference between having an open shot and not having a shot.

It is important that you practice gathering the ball from both the catch and off the dribble.



Because we are focusing on the path of the ball, think of bringing the ball through your holster. Just like an old school gunslinging cowboy, we want to be able to get our shot off as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Your holster, therefore, is the spot you bring the ball to before you start raising it up into your shot pocket. This area should be at your shooting side hip. From this position, there should be no more side to side movement, just straight up to your shot pocket.

Becoming consistent with bring the ball through your holster will mean that no matter where your gathering the ball from, you are always getting it back to your shot line before rising up.


Shot Pocket

This is the spot the ball raises up to just before your shooting arm extends. With most beginners, this will be around their chin as they think they need to use both arms to generate enough power for the shot.

What you are aiming for is to move the shot pocket up above your eye level; the exact position is one you have to discover for yourself, as every player's shot pocket is slightly different, it is important for you to discover for yourself what works for you.

In a perfect World, your shot pocket would be directly above your holster, this way you eliminate any unnecessary lateral movement which could cause you to miss shots left and right.



This is the end of your shot, we have gathered the ball, come through our holster and shot pocket and the ball is ready to be released. It is important to understand how your release looks and feels.

You’re aiming to finish your release with your Index and/or Middle finger pointing down into the basket. This will encourage you to release the ball off the index and/or middle finger(s) and keep it straight.

The snap of the wrist provides the backspin and arc of our shot along with the final power adjustments to make the shot from that range.

The timing of the release is vital, to early or late will impact on the power of your shot. You want to release the ball as your arm reaches full extension, like the end of a whip, the ball should smoothly flick off your fingertips.


These four points create the correct path for the ball, they are not spots where movement stops, but checkpoints which the ball must pass through to generate a consistent shot form.

As a player, you needed to spend time focusing on each of these different stages of your shot path, examine your current shot, film it so you can evaluate your own shot.

The path of the ball and how smoothly you navigate the path determines the rhythm of the shot. We try and make it as smooth as possible, the ball in constant motion from gather, through the holster, up to the shot pocket then released.

One smooth consistent path and motion is the goal.

If you put in the time and attention you can put all these ideas together and really improve your shot. See how far back you can get without changing your form and no jump.

The smoother and more consistent the Rhythm of your shot, the further back you will get.

This is how you build the Rhythm of your shot.

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