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Sports & Games

How to Aim Your Shot Like NBA Pro Stephen Curry

Written by MasterClass

Oct 24, 2018 • 2 min read

Written by MasterClass

Oct 24, 2018 • 2 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, like most other basketball players, nor is he aiming at the rim. Stephen Curry, one of the best shooters in the world with a record-breaking 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? Here, the greatest shooter provides some pointers for practicing your aim and working on your shooting form so the next time you play a game, you can shoot like Curry shoots (well, almost).

1. Train Your Eye

Something you can do to practice keeping you eyes on the rim hooks is 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.

2. Start With Your Legs

Aiming at the rim hooks is one part of the shot, but keep in mind that your entire 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. Square your toes, knees, and shoulders, and remember to flex your legs on every shot.

3. Focus On Your Hands

Hand positioning is key to becoming a consistent shooter: it affects feel, proper spin, connection, and control through your release. To find proper hand position, place the index finger of your dominant hand on the air valve of the ball. 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.

4. Build Up Your Strength

An often overlooked aspect of Steph 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?).

5. And Don’t Give Up!

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.

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