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Shooting - The B-E-E-F Way

Shooting a basketball accurately is not difficult as long as you follow a few sound fundamentals. Make sure you understand that becoming a great basketball shooter (whether it's making free throws, layups, 3-pointers, etc.) means putting in hours of practice and understanding what all the mechanics are. In this article we’ll cover the simple way of learning and remembering the main mechanics of jump shooting.

Easily remembered and coached is the B-E-E-F principles. Beef is simply an acronym that is used to remind basketball players of the fundamentals of shooting a basketball. By working on the points of B-E-E-F you put yourself in a better position to score.

The Four Basic Steps:
1. Balance
2. Eyes on Target
3. Elbow In and Under Ball
4. Follow Through

B - Balance
First, your feet should be about shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent to give you a strong base. Secondly, your strong foot (the foot on the same side of your body as your shooting hand) should be about a half step ahead of the other. In understanding how to shoot a basketball, young players must learn this balance. Teach them to go straight up and down, by having them use a circle or a hoop. They should land in the same circle or hoop each time for good balance.

E - Eyes on Target
Knowing where you intend to place the ball begins with your eyes focused on the basket. Before shooting, see the whole floor, but when shooting, narrow your focus to not just the rim, but a smaller spot on the rim or the square on backboard (I call this a hard look). Examples could be the back or front of the rim, imaginary center of the rim, or the top corner of the square. You should NOT move your focus from your target to anything else; this will definitely decrease your chances of making the shot.

E - Elbow In and Under Ball
This is a step many young athletes struggle with. Place the elbow directly under the ball in line with the basket, not too close or too far from the body. I place my elbow under the ball; the elbow will keep the ball straight to the basket. Do not allow your shooting arm to stick out to the side or be on an angle. When the elbow is straight, the ball will rest in one hand easily and can still be released straight to the target. If the elbow sticks out to the side or on an angle, it will be difficult to keep the ball straight as the ball will come off the wrong fingers.

F - Follow Through
The final and often most critical part of learning how to shoot a basketball is the follow-through. This means that you've fully extended your arm, allowed the ball to roll off your finger tips and your wrist snaps so that your fingers are pointed down and straight toward the basket. Teach young players to act as if they are reaching up into a cookie jar (not pointing down and off to the right or left). Once again, when the ball is released, the wrist is snapped down, with all fingers pointing between the basket and the floor. Hold this position until your feet hit the floor.

The basics of all jump shots are the same: Balance, Eyes on the Target, Elbow In and Under, Follow Through. It is relatively simple; the key is doing it over and over again until it becomes second nature.

Video tape your shot! The best way to improve your basketball shooting fundamentals is to video tape yourself shooting, both in practice and in games. Then you can see if you're doing something like popping your elbow out or leaning, etc. You can also talk to your coach, teammates, or parents to see if they notice anything about your shot.

It takes good basic form and hours of practice to be an outstanding shooter! The B-E-E-F method is simple for learning how to shoot a basketball and makes learning to play basketball more fun. Next time I’ll cover our 8 key points in the mechanics of good jump shooting coached in our PUREHOOP shooting camps.

Good luck with your shot,

Coach O


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