Common Shooting Problems

Coaches should take time to observe a player shooting before rushing in to try to change their shooting technique. To be most effective, the coach should try to make only a small number of changes, and therefore should evaluate what they believe will make the most difference.

Following are four common problems, with some suggestions as to how to rectify the technique. Sometimes the most important thing to do is to describe to the athlete what you want (e.g. a high arc) and then let them “explore” how to produce that.


Problem Observed Potential Causes Suggested Change

“Flat shot” – with a low arc.

The shot has a lower probability of going in and if it hits the ring is likely to bounce away, rather than bounce up and potentially still go in.

  1. Low release point (elbow below eye).
  2. Narrow stance – with one foot too far in front of the other (sprinter’s stance)

To raise the release point:

  1. Have athlete look underneath the ball to see their target.
  2. Have them stand in front of the basket (top of the no-charge circle) and shoot. Only “swishes” count (i.e. the ball does not hit the ring or the net).
  3. Have athlete stand in front of a wall and shoot to hit a particular point on the wall:


To broaden stance:

  1. May need to practice stopping in a broad stance. Start with ball spin it to themselves, and step forward to catch it. Catch in the air and land in balanced stance.
  2. When practicing free throws, have athlete look at floor and place their feet a certain number of floor boards apart (whatever is comfortable). Making this conscious will help make it a habit!
  3. Have the player try using a jump stop rather than a stride stop (when player “over stride” which puts their feet too far apart).