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The Top 5 Shooting Habits You Need To Break

Most basketball players have some room to improve their shooting regardless of what level they play at. Fundamentally, shooting is one of the most difficult aspects of the game to master. Luckily, there are several common bad shooting habits that you can identify and correct to improve your shooting average. 

What is the easiest way to improve your shot? The easiest way to improve your shot is to learn about the bad habits common among players and analyze your shot through self-realization, feedback from others, or video of you shooting the ball from different angles. 

We are going to look at the top five most common bad shooting habits and the basic steps needed to correct them. 

Habit #1 – Thumb on your Shooting Hand

One of the most common of these bad shooting habits is having the ball sit on the thumb of your shooting hand. When you let the ball rest on your thumb, it causes you to strain to maintain proper form. This strain makes you uncomfortable, which leads to inconsistent shooting, or it makes your elbows stick out too far, which leads to inaccuracy. 

You should have the ball rest on the side of your thumb instead of the tip. This will not only be more comfortable after you get used to it, but it will also increase your overall accuracy.

Habit #2 – Jerky or Erratic Movements 

Another common bad habit it the shooter having jerky or erratic movements in their shot. These movements are something that is leftover from the shooter first learning to shoot a jump shot and can be caused by a few different things. The movements can also appear in a few different ways. The primary problem caused by jerky movements is inaccuracy. 

One of the main ways you will notice these movements in a jump shot is drifting to the left or the right or backward during the jump. A second is a twisting of the body during or immediately following the shot. Often, this is something you notice from watching many shots over time, so video in this situation is best.  

After you identify the unnecessary movement, you need to start to correct it. One of the main reasons shooters will develop these movements is because their feet are not aligned correctly before the shot. You must pivot enough to get your feet set before starting your jump shot, or you will force your body to twist to compensate.  

Another common cause of jerky movements is bringing your guide hand down too early in your shot. The momentum from bringing your guide hand down will naturally cause torque in that direction. You must keep your guide hand extended in the proper position through the shot. 

Habit #3- Flat Shot

A common reason for missed jumpers is a flat shot. A flat shot happens when a player has an incorrect setpoint and flings their wrist forward to compensate. As a result, the ball lacks the proper arc and will have a flat trajectory. 

The easiest way to check your set point is to take a shot, stopping at your set point. From there, slowly drop the ball straight down. If your setpoint is correct, the back of your shooting hand should come down just in front of your forehead. 

If the ball is in line with your head or further back, then your setpoint is incorrect and is contributing to your flat shooting. You will want to check your setpoint several times and from different positions on the court to make sure you understand where you are. 

To correct your form, you will need to begin practicing jump shots and being mindful of bringing the ball all the way forward before releasing it. Start close to the goal and work your way out. As you go through this drill, it will become more natural to use the correct setpoint, and you will begin to increase your accuracy. Make sure you are moving around the court and practicing from various distances and angles. 

Habit #4- Releasing After The Top of Your Jump

When shooting a jump shot, the ball should release at the top of your jump. A common bad habit is to release the ball after the top of the jump as you begin to come back down. Doing so will force you to compensate by adding additional power to your shot, which leads to inaccuracy and shorter overall range. 

Shooting after the top of the jump is one of the simplest habits to correct. It does, however, require a lot of shooting to cement into your form. You will need to take a series of shots while making sure you are releasing at the top of your jump. Work your way around the court and shoot from different ranges and different angles while focusing on the release. As the top of the jump release becomes more natural, you will see that your range increases, your shot smoothes out, and your accuracy improves. 

Habit #5- Guide Hand Thumb Interference

The last habit is interference from your guide hand thumb. This interference comes when the player uses the thumb of the guiding hand to push the ball on the release. 

This habit is another one that forms early on when the player is first learning to shoot. Players will often use the guide hand thumb to add power to the ball. This extra interference lingers and becomes a natural part of their form. 

To correct this, you will need to learn to keep your guide hand still during your shot. To accomplish this is to practice taking the guiding hand off the ball slightly before you release it. Shooting with only one hand will teach you not to be reliant on the guiding hand to help with the shot. 


If you are ready to take control of your form and improve your shooting average, you need to check out the ShotDoctor app. ShotDoctor uses the technology and sensors in an Apple iWatch to accurately track your movements and detect the subtle difference in your shots. Using this information and the ShotDoctor algorithms it provides you immediate feedback on how to improve. You can see more on, or you can download the app from the Apple Store. Once you get the app set up, you can start training with a former NBA shooting coach on your wrist today!

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ShotDoctor is the world’s first app to help develop basketball shooters form. By using Apple Watch technology, the app allows you to create perfect form in your shot and is created by a former NBA coach.