The Art of Shooting a Basketball 


180 Coaching is a basketball shooting mechanics website outlining the key elements of becoming a great shooter. My hope is to give players and coaches a helpful resource on proper basketball shooting fundamentals. Basketball shooting coach Tim Heuer created this basketball shooting philosphy in 2014. The Acronym S.E.D.R.S stands for Stance, Eyes, Dip, Release, Sweep & Sway. These shooting principles takes into account some of the most current basketball shooting concepts and combines them into one concentrated format. Most of these newer basketball shooting techniques cut against the grain of conventional wisdom in regards towards traditional basketball shooting mechanics. If you  are looking at learning the proper basketball shooting mechanics then I hope this site and all of its basketball shooting tips help you.


According to a Sloan sports analytics paper written by Rachel Marty and Simon Lucey University of California, San Diego and Carnegie Mellon University.  The most important factors of shooting a basketball are Alignment (left right consistency), Shot Depth, and Arc (angle of the shot, angle consistency).  Improving on these concepts will improve shooting. How do we improve on these concepts by using the S.E.D.R.S. shooting philosophy.





“S”  symbolizes Stance.  

  • Feet turned toward your off hand to 10 O’clock or 2 O’clock depending on if your right or left handed. 

  • Ball on the palm of the hand.  

  • Feet shoulder width apart, but should land either narrow between 1-3 inches apart or shoulder width or slightly wider than shoulder width apart.




  • UNIFORMITY is why we place our shooting hand on the side of the ball.  We want our Layups, free throws, and jump shots to use the same principles and have the same motion. This cuts down on the clutter. Sadly most players use different techniques for there jump shots, free throws, and layups.  We want to streamline the shooting process by using the same techniques on all of our shots.

  • Shoot hand approximately  4 O’Clock for right handers and 8 O’Clock for left handers. When holding the ball a good rule of thumb is when you look down at your hands you should see all of fingers except your pinky on your shooting hand. This lets you know that you hand is in the right position.

  • Off hand on the side.

  • After release Off hand stays on the side. (Steph Curry tucks his off hand thumb in)

  • Wrong Hand Placement– Avoid having the shooting hand behind the ball. It creates a upright wrist placement. This creates strain on the wrist and is highly discouraged in most work & office settings. An upright wrist placement can lead to wrist strain and Carpal Tunnel syndrome. 

    Wrong Shooting Hand Placement

  • If it is wrong to have a upright wrist while typing due to tension  why would it be the preferred hand placement for shooting a basketball. YOUR SHOOTING HAND SHOULD BE ON THE SIDE OF THE BALL NOT BEHIND IT IN A UPRIGHT POSITION

  • To clarify I’m not suggesting you will get Carpal Tunnel by shooting a basketball with an upright wrist.  

  • With your hands on the side of the ball your wrist is in a natural state, which is tension free.

  • With your shooting hand on the side of the ball it makes it easier to shrink the space between the basketball and your body. The ball should get fairly close to the shooting eye through your shooting motion. To much of a gap between your body and the ball in your shooting motion is bad.

  • When the wrist is behind the ball with your forearm and arm forming a perfect L shape, you will typically have to much of a gap between the basketball and your body which leads to a flat shot.

“E” symbolizes eyes  

  • Your eyes switch between two focal points

  • Eyes initially focused 11″ past the front of the rim. Diagram of shooting arc and swish and brad zones

  • Once your release the ball switch your focus from 11″ past the front of the rim to your hand & follow the flight/Arc of the ball.

  • All Great shooters watch the flight of the ball.  How else can you adjust the arc if you never see it. 

  • Eyes locked on the target 90% of the time the other 10% your watching the flight of the ball

  • When putting in golf you don’t stare at the hole you look down at the ball.  In hockey you don’t stare at goal and not look at the puck.  In Rifling  & archery you don’t stare at the target you look through the sight.  So in basketball you don’t stare at the rim you watch your hand shooting along with the flight of the ball.


  • You need to find out what your eye dominance is since it will effect your shooting motion. 

  • You shoot through your dominate eye.

  • Players who have an eye dominance opposite of there shooting hand have few options in regards to there shooting motion.

  • Learn to shoot with the same eye as there shooting hand Keeping with a motion that is in the middle or same side as there shooting hand or….

  • Start there shooting motion on the side of there dominate eye or again place in the middle and shift over to your dominate eye.

  • It is Fundamentally CORRECT to be right handed and have a shooting motion that begins on the Left side of your body if…you are left eye dominate (this works vice versa as well)

  • Player such as Kevin Durant and Lonzo Ball are Left eye dominate but right handed shooters.  They start there shooting motion on there left side and shoot through there Left eye.

“D” symbolizes Dip  

  • Rhythm=Dip

  • Dipping is important because it helps you time your release along with helping the ball go straight.

  • The dip synchronizes the timing during of your release connecting your upper and lower body. As the ball dips down your knees bend as the ball hits your waist and begins to come up, out of your dip your knees flex out.  Dipping helps the timing aspect of releasing the ball on your shot. Steph Curry Dipping the basketball while shooting


  • Your dip is connected to your knee flex and extension, By not dipping you don’t save any time. You simply continue your shooting motion at the same moment as your knee extension.

  • You are catching a wave of energy in your legs as it travels upward towards your release. If you don’t dip, once that wave of energy hits the level of the ball you simply ride it towards your release. NOT DIPPING IS NOT FASTER IT TAKES THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME. 

  • I suggest dipping because you GAIN the added benefit of timing & alignment since it become much easier to keep the ball straight within your shooting motion.

  • Dipping the ball is another aspect of your shot that helps the ball go straight.

  • SHOOTING HAND ON THE SIDE OF THE BALL!!!   I can’t stress the importance of this enough, and I understand how this goes against everything you’ve been taught about shooting a basketball. When your shooting hand is on the side of the ball it enables the shooting elbow to remain straight.  Your shooting elbow will flare out when your shooting hand is improperly behind the ball.  Remember when looking down at your hands before your dip make sure that you only see all of your fingers except your pinky.  This lets you know that your hands are in the correct position.

  • Starting position is the chest, and by flexing the knees you dip the ball and hands from the chest to your waist.

  •   As you begin coming up from your dip slowly start to rotate your palm towards the basket.  Your palm should be almost fully rotated once it reaches the set point which is just above your shooting eyebrow.   (Notice how the Shoulder,hip, & feet slightly rotate as well)

  • This turning action from your dip is revolutionary!! By rotating you give your shot more power, balance, and accuracy.  Similar to a bullet fired from a rifle.  The grooves inside the barrel provide rotation to the bullet which makes it go straight.  A boxers jab exhibits the same characteristics it rotates the same way to give added power and accuracy.  (See how Ray Allen & Steph Curry rotate there palms, through there shooting motion. Notice how you can see the back of there shooting hand from the side angle. This wouldn’t be possible if there hand was directly behind the ball.)

  •  The palm shoulder and hips all rotate together.

  • It is also similar to an over hand/under hand lay-up.  The same motion used to do a lay-up can and should be duplicated for your jump & free throw shot.  We want to create UNIFORMITY with our layups, free throws, and jump shots. 

  • Lebron James has his shooting hand on the side of the ball as he goes in for a layup/dunk.

  • Newton’s 1st law of Motion states an object at rest remains at rest and an object in motion remains in motion until it is acted upon by an unbalanced force. Dipping makes it easier for the ball to stay within the shooting motion up through the shooting eye.

  • No need to dip when catching a pass below your waist or off the dribble, your already in your dip.

“R”  symbolizes Release  

  • Release should be smooth and effortless 70% off your maximum speed

  • Shooting motion should be in line with the shooting shoulder & shooting eye

  • Lock the elbow and let the wrist flop down.

  • The arc on your shot should be between 42 & 48 degrees. Optimal arc is 45 degrees.  At 180 Coaching we utilize the 94FiFty basketball to track players arc along with other shooting & dribbling statistics.

94fifty basketball with 2 cell phone apps


94fifty Shot arc app

  • Wrist should be loose and flop down, Don’t overemphasize the snapping of the wrist, in doing so adds more variables to your shot. Simply extend your arm locking the elbow and allowing the wrist to loosely flop down. I prefer the 4 fingers down release (Used by both Steph Curry & Ray Allen).

  • Off hand after release stays on the side with the off hand thumb tuck in (Steph Curry) or not tucked in (Ray Allen).

  • Shot is short your release is late you need to release the ball half a second quicker

  • Shot is long release is to fast you need to wait a half second or so before you release your shot.

“S” symbolizes the Sweep & Sway  

  • Sweep & sway includes a subtle hip & shoulder rotation along with your feet turning.  This twisting action in combination with your sweep and sway gives your shot power along with alignment.

  •   Don’t over rotate the feet they should land no further than a maximum of 90 degrees.

  • As you shoot you want your feet to sweep forward & rotating towards your off hand.

  • By sweeping the feet forward the shoulders will naturally sway back, this    makes it easier to track the arc on your shot. 

  • By Sweeping & Swaying it makes it easier to follow your arc with little head movement.


  • The longer the shot the great the sweep

  • This relaxes the shoulders while avoiding tension.

  • When landing have the feet close together 1-3 inches or they can be wide personal preference.


The HOP vs 1-2 

  • When it comes to shooting footwork I often get asked whether to hop or 1-2 step.  Answer: Both determined by the shooters speed.

  • Speed is the name of the game, when coming off screens traveling at a high rate of speed its better to 1-2 step slow your self down and stay on balance.

  • If you spotting up on the 3 point line better to hop.  When you are standing still or moving at a slow rate of speed better to hop.

  • The hop is faster way to get your shot off.  But its difficult to hop when your running at full speed, so my answer is do both with your decision predicated on your speed.

  • Again I use speed as my determining factor on whether or not to hop or 1-2 step. Speed is a guide but not a law, rules are meant to be broken and there will be situation in which hoping at full speed will be necessary to get the shot off. Most commonly in situations such as to avoid a shot clock violation or in a end of quarter, end of game scenario.

*Side Note: Off the catch or dribble feet will sometimes be squared in those situations you’ll need to turn while in the air to align the shooting hip & shoulder.





Tom Nordland Swish Method  

Paul Hoover Pro Shot

Coach Nick BballBreakdown 

Collin Castellaw Shot Mechanics

Splash Lab 


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 Please contact me if you would like me to speak at or give a shooting clinic to your organization!!