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Form: Essential Basketball Fundamentals

Form: Essential Basketball Fundamentals

As a basketball player myself, I was always looking for tips and advice to improve not only my game but also to help avoid injury. My goal is to walk you through a few components of basketball and some tips for how to utilize proper form with each.


1. Stay low:

By staying low, you are prepared to step in any direction and will have lower center of gravity to keep you agile.

2. Knees slightly wider than hips:

A wider stance helps make you a larger obstacle to get around. Standing too wide however, can significantly slow you down. Aiming for slightly wider than the hips is a good goal.

3. Keep your weight off your heels:

By keeping your weight over your forefoot, you are putting your calves and the rest of your legs in a position of mechanical advantage for moving quickly. However, this does not mean that your heels need to be off the ground.

4. Feet pointing forward:

If your feet are not pointed in the same direction as you are facing you may be putting unnecessary strain on the ligaments in your knee or foot when you attempt to push off.

5. Flat Back:

When trying to keep your weight shifted forward, some people make the mistake of rounding out their backs. This places your back in a compromising position and may predispose you to injury.


1. Explode from the legs:

This enables you to have a quicker release because you are already in a loaded position rather than having to spend the time to squat before jumping and shooting.

2. No chicken wings:

This was something that I did in high school and as soon as I corrected it I became a much better shooter. When the elbow is winging out to the side, your shot becomes much less reliable. Keep that elbow in to make your shot more efficient!

3. Flick the wrist:

The more backspin you get on the ball, the softer it will land against the rim. Flick your wrist directly toward the rim during your shot. If your wrist is pointing outward or inward at the end of your shot, you are going to get a side-spin on your shot which you don’t want.

4. No palm:

The ball should be resting in your fingers and should not be touching your palm.

5. Hold your follow through:

Holding your follow through each time will help improve the consistency of your shot.

6. Opposite hand as a guide only:

If you are a right-handed shooter, the left hand is to be used as a guide hand for balance only. You should not be pushing the ball with the left. One way to practice this is by completing short range shooting drills with only the right hand.

7. Arc your shot:

A flat shot is much less likely to go in because it creates a functionally smaller hoop. The more arc you get, the larger the hoop.


1. Land on both feet:

As much as you can, try and land on both feet to give yourself another leg to disperse your weight through in case you come down wrong on one ankle.

2. Absorb your landing:

In other words, don’t land stiff legged. By landing with the legs bent, your muscles will help absorb some of that load relieving your joints.

3. Knees in alignment:

When landing or jumping, the knees should never collapse inward. If you see the knees collapsing inward this might be indicative of hip weakness. Over time this can cause knee or even foot pain.

Basketball Fundamentals Video

I hope you found these tips helpful! Don’t be discouraged if you have a hard time breaking bad habits. The key to breaking a habit and forming a new one is repetition!


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Brittany Pace, PT, DPT
In her free time, Brittany enjoys balancing her time between her family, friends, and active pursuits. She particularly enjoys hiking, running, basketball, soccer, and trying new things.
Brittany Pace, PT, DPT

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