Sports & Games

Steph Curry’s Tips for Form Shooting in Basketball

Written by MasterClass

Aug 1, 2019 • 4 min read

Sound shooting skills are the foundation of a good basketball game, and practicing form shooting is the only way to improve these skills. Form shooting is hard work and the best basketball players practice their shot mechanics every day. Pro athlete Steph Curry has developed a series of tips and drills that will help you learn form shooting skills to ensure good balance, keep your right hand on the correct side of the ball, and improve overall shooting accuracy.


What Is Form Shooting?

Form shooting practice refers to the different drills basketball players run, moving from shooting directly in front of the hoop to practicing shots from around the court at varying distances, only advancing to the next position after a succession of successful shots.

Basketball players like Steph Curry and Ray Allen, two of the greatest shooters in NBA history, are famous for their form shooting drills, putting in hours of practice every day to ensure their basketball mechanics, shooting form, and shooting technique remains consistent or improves. Shooting form drills are commonly taught from youth basketball through high school basketball, into college, and even in the NBA and WNBA.

Why Is Good Shooting Form Important?

The importance of good shooting form cannot be overstated. A lot of hard work goes into the perfect swish. Like good ball-handling skills (dribble drive and dribbling skills), shooting form is a fundamental part of the game of basketball.

  • In any given basketball game, not all basketball players are good shooters, but every great shooter (and good shooter for that matter) has good basketball shooting form. That’s why young players from youth leagues through high school, college, and the highest echelons of the NBA and WNBA all practice good form.
  • Particularly with a jump shot, good basketball shooting form may seem simple on the surface, it is actually the result of several different body parts working in fluid motion together, from the feet all the way to the fingertips of the shooting hand, and this fluid motion can become muscle memory with hard work and practice.
  • A good shot comes from good shooting form—including foot placement, shoulder width, shooting arm motion, hand placement—will ensure the proper shooting mechanics, backspin, and footwork that form a perfect shooting motion. This pertains to free throws from the free-throw line as much as it does a jump shot, layups, or a three-point shot.
  • When it comes to handwork, you must practice with your shooting hand (middle finger placement, finger pad contact, etc.) as well as your off hand or guide hand, developing that perfect shot every single time.

Steph Curry’s Tips for Better Form Shooting

For people who want to become better shooters, avoid accidental banks against the backboard, and bring their shooting habits to the next level, Step Curry’s basketball shooting tips should help.

  • Focus on reps close to the basket, which will build your range and confidence and help you identify problems with your shot.
  • Begin each practice by shooting easy baskets from the paint, concentrating on your mechanics.
  • Every time you miss the basket, diagnose what went wrong with your mechanics, adjust accordingly, then try again.
  • For Curry, shots that come up long or short tend to be a matter of finding his rhythm through more reps, and regaining his feel for the ball. However, missing left or right usually indicates a problem with his core mechanics, requiring a more detailed analysis and adjustment of his shot to correct it.
  • As practice goes on, gradually increase your distance from the basket, taking different and more difficult shots until you’re shooting from the three-point line.
  • Keep building up your endurance until you’re able to make 100 perfect shots over the course of a single practice shooting session.
  • Persist through fatigue, and do your best to prevent it from altering your shooting mechanics.

Steph Curry’s Drills For Better Form Shooting

In order to put these tips into action and see results, Curry recommends running the following basketball shooting drills as close to every day as possible to bring those jump shots right over the front of the rim.

  1. Start just a few feet from the basket, and shoot until you hit five perfect makes.
  2. Record how many shots it takes for you to get to five.
  3. Then take a step back, to the middle of the lane, and shoot until you hit five more perfect makes.
  4. Repeat twice more, moving backward after making five in a row.

Once you’ve hit five perfect makes from each of the four spots in front of the basket, start adding the other spots on the above diagram to your form shooting practice.

  1. First, shoot five form shots from each of the 20 spots, and record your makes.
  2. Once you can comfortably shoot 100 total form shots in a training session, you can move on to Phase 2 of the training.
  3. Then, push yourself to take as many shots as it takes to hit five perfect makes from each of the 20 spots. This may take a few weeks, or even months. But stick with it!

Remember, when form shooting, if you’re not perfect directly in front of the basket, it’s going to be impossible to be perfect as you move away from the basket.

  • Each time you miss, pause and notice whether you missed short, long, or to one side. What can you do to correct your misses?
  • Film yourself shooting from the front and from the side. Play the video back, studying your form and mechanical foundation. Are you making any common mistakes? How can you fine-tune your mechanics to make your shot more efficient?

Following these tips will help ensure your shot has an ideal release point, the flight of the ball follows a straight line, and that you push past whatever bad habit your shooting game has developed to make you a comfortable shooter any time you ball up, on any court and on any basketball team.

Learn more about basketball and form shooting in Steph Curry’s MasterClass.