How to Shoot a Three Pointer

The 3-pointer is an essential shot to make in basketball if you want to get ahead on the scoreboard. Professional regulation 3-point lines are 23.75 feet (7.24 m) from the basket at the top and 22 feet (6.7 m) away at the corners. To make this shot, you need a lot of practice and great shooting form. After taking the shots multiple times, you can sink the ball every time!

Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.


Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.

Stand at the top of the 3-point line with your toes pointed towards the basket. Put your dominant foot 6 inches (15 cm) ahead of your other foot. This helps balance your body and gives you a firm foundation for making your shot.
If you don’t feel loose or relaxed, try turning your feet at a slight angle from the basket. This could help you feel more comfortable while shooting.

Square your shoulders to the basket.

Square your shoulders to the basket.

Keeping your shoulders squared up to the hoop will make your shots more accurate. Even if your legs are at a slight slant, always try to turn your upper body towards the hoop before you take your shot.
Practice dribbling the ball and quickly turning your shoulders to face the basket. Raise the ball like you are about to take a shot. Run through this technique until you feel comfortable squaring your shoulders to the basket.



Bend your knees.

Bend your knees.

Keep your knees loose and slightly bent to prepare yourself for the jump. Most of the power for your 3-pointer will come from extending your legs and jumping.

Focus on the front of the hoop.

Focus on the front of the hoop.

While most coaches say to aim for the back of the rim, try keeping your eyes on the front rim of the basket. Imagine shooting the ball just over the rim to visualize how you want to make your shot.
Look for the hooks that are holding the net in place. You should see 3 of the hooks facing you about the same width as the basketball from wherever you’re standing. Aim for the hooks.

Hold the ball above your head with your elbow at a 90-degree angle.



Hold the ball above your head with your elbow at a 90-degree angle.

Spread your fingers as far apart as you can and grip the ball using the pads of your fingers. Let the bottom of the ball rest on the base of your palm.
Keep your upper arm perpendicular to the basket and parallel to the ground.

Use your non-dominant hand as a guide.

Use your non-dominant hand as a guide.

Keep your non-dominant hand lightly on the side of the basketball. Your guide hand helps to keep the ball straight as you shoot it and helps you prepare your shot more.
Don’t grip the ball with any fingers on your guide hand. If you move your guide hand away from the ball, it shouldn’t affect how you’re holding it in your dominant hand.

Jump straight up as you extend your shooting arm.

Jump straight up as you extend your shooting arm.

Straighten your legs and push yourself off the ground to get the power needed to sink a 3-pointer. Extend your shooting arm out and forward as you lift off the ground.
You don’t have to jump extremely high to make a 3-pointer unless you’re trying to shoot over another player.


Snap your wrist forward at the height of your jump.

Snap your wrist forward at the height of your jump.

Flicking your wrist forward propels the ball forward and gives it a spin and an arch, making it more likely that you’ll sink your basket.
Imagine you’re reaching into a cookie jar on a tall counter as you snap your wrist. Your fingers should be pointing down to the floor.

Follow through with the shot.

Follow through with the shot.

Extend your arm fully, even once the ball has left your hand. Keep your wrist snapped forward and try to land in the same place you jumped from so you can maintain control of your body.

Practice shooting from different places behind the 3-point line.


Practice shooting from different places behind the 3-point line.

Start practicing at the top of the key so you can use the backboard to help you if you overshoot. As you start to master shooting 3-pointers from there, work your way down the 3-point line towards the corners to perfect your shots from every angle.

Work down both sides of the 3-point line evenly. Practice from the same spot on the left and right side of the hoop.
Master shots from each location before moving on to a new spot on the line.

Work on snapping into shooting position after dribbling.

Work on snapping into shooting position after dribbling.

After you work on making stationary shots, try running up to the line while you dribble the ball before taking your shot. Lead with your dominant foot and plant it on the ground to prepare your jump.

Practice dribbling and preparing the shot with both hands.
Set up 2 cones about 3 feet (0.91 m) apart. Dribble the ball until you’re between the cones before you make your shot.

Try looking at the basket just before you make your shot.

Try looking at the basket just before you make your shot.

If you look at the basket early, other players will know you’re planning to shoot the ball. Set cones up on the court so you can focus on them until you’re ready to make your shot. In a quick motion, turn your shoulders to the basket and focus on the hoop as you shoot.

The ball should be level with your head by the time you turn your head to make the shot. This way, if you’re playing with another person, they may not notice you’re taking the shot until it’s too late for them to defend.
Practice this technique at the top of the 3-point line before trying it on other places on the court.


Categories:   Youth

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