shooting intro


We will start with shooting, because it is the most important aspect of the game. As Coach Von Saxton always says, "I don't care how good you are at defense, if shoot 1you don't score a basket you'll never win a game." There is a lot of truth to that, especially in 9th grade girls basketball. Games are generally low scoring because teams struggle with shooting. By improving shooting skills you will become a valuable member of a basketball team. Below you will find important cues and breakdowns for the most important points to remember when performing a skill. This page features shooting (set and jump shots), foul shots, and layups.

set shot & jump shot cues


The main cue to remember when shooting is BEEF (Balance - Eyes - Elbow - Follow Through). The following cues are broken down further to explain in more detail. Click here for more great shooting cues and step by step pictures.shoot 2



-Slightly bent knees with buttocks out

-Feet square to the basket and balanced


*Elbow/Shooting Hand:

-Extend Thumb along seam when shooting

-Spread fingers with palm up; balance like a waiters tray

-Elbow makes an "L" and points at the basket like throwing a dart

shoot 3

*Elbow/Non-Shooting Hand:

-Hand faces side of ball; only fingers touch the ball

-Only to balance ball on shooting hand



-Head up, keep eyes on the target

-Focus 2 inches above the rim, or focus on the back of the rim

shoot 6

*Follow Through/ Shooting Action:

-Ball rolls of fingers for a nice, pretty backspin

-Flip wrist, wave good-bye to the ball

-Make a rainbow; exagerate arch for first few shots

-Gooseneck finish, or shooting hand reaching into cookie jar, thumb points down to shoes

-Freeze hand at the top after release shoot 5


*For Jump shot:

-Body is coil ready to spring up

-Jump straight up & release on the way up to shoot over the defense

foul shot cues


Free throws are so named because it's a chance to get free points. That is also why the free throw line is sometimes referred to as the "charity stripe". The cues for a free throw are very similar to the set shot, but the most important key is repetition. Being a good free throw shooter is very impressive to a coach. Too many games are won or lost by just a few points, and many times the difference in a game can be attributed to how many free throws the team made or missed. Athletes should develop a routine for shooting free throws, so every shot feels the same and shooting a free throw becomes second nature. Foul shooting cues are the same as the shooting cues above with the following cues added:

*Front Toe on the Line:

-Shoot from the center of the free throw lineshoot 4

-Line up toe pointing directly at the middle of the rim; find the nail hole

-Put front toe in the same spot everytime



-Must have proper weight distribution so shooting motion doesn't carry yourshoot 7body forward.


*Leg Action:

-Bend knees; the legs compel the shot


*Routine:shoot 9

-Find what feels comfortable; do the same thing every time

-No dribble, or a 1, 2, or 3 dribble is common

-Find comfortable grip with shooting hand

-Bend knees and continue into shooting motion

layup cues


The layup is another shot that should be made nearly all of the time. This is a shot that many 9th grade girls struggle with unecessarily. The layup is mostly a shoot 9matter of timing. Usually the player is dribbling and moving fairly quickly toward the basket. The key is to time two steps, transfering momentum from moving forward to jumping up toward the basket, and laying the ball up softly off the backboard. Choose one side or the other (don't do a layup over the front of the rim and use the backboard).

~Right-Handed Layups


-Head up, eyes focus on top right of the square on the backboard

-Dribble ball with outside hand (right)shoot 11



-While moving forward in fluid motion step right, left, and jump off of left foot

-Right knee bends up as right hand extends to lay the ball up (pretend a string is connecting right knee to right elbow) helps bring body momentum up and for protection to the shooter's body

shoot 12


-Bring ball in under chin and protect with both hands while stepping

-Extend arm, reach high (ball kisses backboard)

-Release ball at peak of reach, ball should roll softly off finger pads

~Left-Handed Layup: Same cues with following changes: Approach driblling left handed on left side of basket. Steps are left, right, jump off right. Shot is taken on left side of basket with target the top left of the square.

shooting cues & drill videos


While reading cues and viewing pictures helps in learning skills, sometimes seeing a demo on video and viewing videos of drills to practice the skills are irreplaceable in the skill development process. Please view the following videos and check out the other video links for better comprehension of the above explained skills.


*Shooting and foul shot cues & drills:

-The first video provides several tips on improving shooting including a couple of exercises that can be done on your own.


-The next video is an example of a warmup for shooting. Notice her shooting form ( BEEF).


-The following video is a great example of a shooting drill that can be done with one rebounder and a shooter. This drill allows the shooter to get in a lot of shots in a short amount of time from various spots on the floor.


-The next two videos are examples of a shooting exercise that can be done by yourself. Both of these videos combine the aspect of catching a pass (by spinning the ball to oneself) or moving from the triple threat position, taking one dribble, jump stopping and shooting. This skill is invaluable in basketball as it creates seperation from the defender to create space and in doing so create your own open shot.


-The next clip is really long, so feel free to skim through it. Please pay attention to how these high school girl basketball players practice their shooting technique and skills. Also pay close attention to the segment where they are shooting free throws. Watch their form, and notice how they have the same routine they go through before every shot. This is vital for free throw shooting.


-This video is from a basketball player at New Mexico State University who walks you through the steps to shooting a free throw. This is a great resource from an actual college athlete.


*Layups Cues & Drills:

-This video portrays the basic idea of stepping when going up for a layup


-The next video progressess to demonstrating the movement of dribble, step, step, and shot on a layup.


-The next video is a simple but very useful drill that will develop your feel for shooting under the basket. This may be difficult at first, but focus on getting the footwork correct before you worry about doing the drill quickly:


-The next video is a variation of the traditional layup. Here the shooters come to a jump stop to stay under control and transfer momentum from forward to upward. This layup is very effective in 9th grade girls basketball on a fast break to maintain control and make the basket.


*The following are links to video clips about shooting hosted by Pistol Pete Maravich from his video Homework Basketball which provides a great breakdown of basketball shooting including his own cues and tips about shooting:

Shooting 1 (The Setup) - Shooting 2 (Mechanics I) - Shooting 3 (Mechanics II) Shooting 4 (Psychology) - Shooting 5 (Application) - Shooting 6 (Recap)