Sports & Games

Learn How to Aim Your Shot Like NBA Pro Stephen Curry

Written by MasterClass

Oct 24, 2018 • 4 min read

If you've ever wondered what Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors basketball team aims at when he shoots, the answer might surprise you. The NBA pro is not aiming at the square behind the net on the backboard like most other NBA players, nor is he aiming at the rim.

Curry, one of the best shooters in the world, who once scored nine three-pointers in a single game, says that he aims for the rim hooks. The rim hooks are the hooks that attach the net to the rim. His technique is to aim his eyes at the two or three rim hooks that are facing him, and to think about dropping the ball just over the front of the rim.

Want to make jump shots like Steph and become a better shooter? Here, the great shooter provides some pointers for practicing your aim and working on your shooting form. The next time you play basketball, try shooting like Curry shoots.

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Keep Your Eyes Focused On the Rim Hooks

Something you can do to practice and become a good shooter is keeping your eyes on the rim hooks.

  • Try to spend 15 minutes walking around the basketball court, keeping your eyes on the rim.
  • Familiarize yourself with the rim hooks and how many hooks are facing you from different angles or distances.
  • Without a ball, practice running to a random spot on the floor, stopping, and finding the rim hooks with your eyes as quickly as possible.

Pay Attention to Your Lower Body and Leg Position

Aiming at the rim hooks is one part of the shot, but keep in mind that your entire basketball shooting form matters. Every good shot begins in the lower body.

  • Begin by pointing your toes in the same direction, first squaring them with the rim and then working through practice to find the most natural stance for your body.
  • Your legs, not your arms, give you power and consistency, so load your lower body by pushing the arches of your feet into the floor.
  • Keeping your knees behind your toes, concentrate on letting power and energy flow from your feet up through your hips and glutes.
  • Place your right foot and your left foot shoulder-width apart, square your toes, knees, and shoulders, and remember to flex your legs on every shot.

Practice the Right Hand Positioning

Hand positioning is key to becoming a consistent shooter: it affects feel, proper spin, connection, and control through your release.

  • During a shooting drill and during a basketball game, to find proper hand position, place the index finger of your dominant hand (shooting hand) on the air valve of the ball, supported by your guide hand.
  • Take a few form shots to get used to the centered feel of this position. Always hold the ball with your finger pads, being sure to leave some breathing room between the ball and your palm.
  • As you line up your shot, aim your eyes at the two or three rim hooks that are facing you, and think about dropping the ball just over the front of the rim.
  • Don’t release too low! A higher release point makes it harder for a defender to interfere with your shot.
  • As you release the ball, keep your elbow and wrist in line with the basket, extending your arm fully so that at the point of release your elbow ends above your eye and finish with a clean, pronounced follow-through in your shooting arm so the flight of the ball follows a straight line to the hoop.

Build Up Your Strength With Regular Gym Visits and Other Workouts

An often overlooked aspect of Curry’s skill and a huge part of what makes him one of the best shooters in the game is his strength and athleticism.

  • Steph spends a large portion of his time lifting weights, focusing particularly on his legs, arms, and core, in order to pass that strength and power onto the ball.
  • Curry is also known to have practiced aspects of yoga to help him work on his core muscles and balance. Working out and remaining physically strong is a major contributor to Curry’s skill as a shooter (how else can he make those famous jump shots?).
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Practice Every Day to Develop Muscle Memory

A real game’s complex moving parts might make it difficult to recall these steps, but remember that improvement comes with sustained practice and working out. By practicing every day, shooters begin to develop muscle memory that will make them comfortable shooting a basketball without even thinking about where they are aiming.

Working to improve basketball dribbling and shooting form will make you a better basketball player and shooter. Regardless if it’s a transition jump shot coming off a dribble handoff, a free throw, or a three-pointer, a good shooting motion leads to better shooting technique and basketball shots.

How to Become a Better Basketball Player

Whether you’re just starting out on the court or dreaming big about going professional, playing basketball is as challenging as it is rewarding. NBA All-Star Steph Curry has spent years honing his craft. In his MasterClass on shooting, ball-handling, and scoring, Steph shares all he’s learned about the techniques that have made him a two-time MVP, from perfect shooting mechanics to on-court concepts and basketball drills.

Want to become a better player? The MasterClass All-Access Pass provides exclusive video lessons from master athletes, including Steph Curry and Serena Williams.

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