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Basketball Shot Types

Basketball Shot Types

In basketball, there are only two ways to score points - with field goals and free throws. In both cases, a player must shoot the ball into their team's net. This may sound easy enough, but players on the opposing team are there to stop them. As a result, players have developed an arsenal of shot types to use in various game situations to give them the best chance at making baskets. Here is a list of the basic shot types in basketball:

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Table of Contents

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The Backboard

basketball Backboard

The backboard is a piece of equipment in basketball that is used by players on various types of shots. The backboard is made of glass, and has a square painted on it that acts as a target. If you bounce the ball off the square, it will usually go into the hoop. So when shooting a layup or a bank shot, you should aim for the square. Backboards are especially useful on bank shots and layups. As a player, you should use the backboard to aim and frame your shot.

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Layups

Basketball Layups

A layup is the most basic shot type in basketball. Layups utilize the backboard by bouncing off of it before going into the net. On a layup, players approach the basket and lightly bounce the ball off the backboard with an overhand or underhand motion. As you approach the basket, you should pick up your dribble and get ready to jump towards the basket. When performing a layup, you pick either the left or right side of the hoop. As a player, you should practice making layups from both sides of the basket because you never know when a side is being guarded by defensive players. When you jump, make sure to use the backboard and try to bounce it into the hoop. There are some more advanced techniques when it comes to layups, like reverses and off hand layups. Players who excel at finishing around the basket have many different layups in their arsenal that they can perform, and the defense does not know what to expect.

A layup that doesn't use the backboard is called a finger roll because the ball rolls off the fingers of a ball-handler's hands and into the basket.

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Dunks

Basketball Slam Dunk

A dunk, or slam dunk, is a type of shot where the ball-handler leaps into the air and emphatically slams the ball into the net. Dunking requires a player to jump higher than the rim, which is 10 ft above the floor in most basketball courts. It is very difficult to dunk, as many are not tall enough or can't jump that high. If you can dunk, it is a great way to finish off a drive to the basket. Dunks are known to get your team pumped up as it is a great feat to dunk in a game. In the NBA, there is a dunk contest that takes place every year during All Star weekend, and the best dunkers in the league put on an entertaining show. They do crazy dunks that don't seem humanly possible to viewers. Some iconic dunks have debuted at the dunk contest, like Michael Jordan dunking from the free throw line and Blake Griffin jumping over a car.

Remember, when dunking you must be careful to avoid being called for a travel. When you pick up your dribble you are allowed to take two steps before your pivot foot is established.

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Jump Shots

Basketball Jump Shots

A jump shot in basketball is exactly what it sounds like. On a jump shot, the shooter will jump into the air as they release the ball from his hands. Jumping helps the shooter get a height advantage over the defensive player who is guarding them. Players practice jump shots frequently, so jumping also helps with the timing of the shot. As a player, you can utilize jump shots from anywhere on the court. To take a jump shot, a player should plant both feet and then jump. When they are at the highest point of their jump, they should release the ball towards the basket. Having a good jump shot takes a lot of practice and good technique. It can take years to perfect a jump shot. While players always had the ability to shoot jump shots, shooting them is the new craze in the NBA. Teams are shooting more 3's than ever, and we are witnessing some of the best shooters in history like Steph Curry, Ray Allen, and Kevin Durant. The game has moved away from bigs backing down defenders inside to shooters launching 3's at will.

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Hook Shots

Basketball Hook Shots

A hook shot in basketball is an overhand shot, typically made with one hand. Hook shots can be made while the shooter is facing the net directly or at a sideways angle. A hook shot is very difficult to make, as it is quite different from any other type of shot in basketball. An example of a good time to take a hook shot would be when you are moving parallel to the baseline and want to surprise your defender with a shot they are not expecting, because you do not need to be facing the basket for a hook shot to be successful. You should utilize hook shots when inside the three-point line near the lane or when you're posting up. While hook shots are not nearly as prevalent as they once were in basketball, one player who utilized hook shots all the time was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He popularized the shot in the 70s, but few have been able to replicate his success with the hook shot in years since.

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Bank Shots

Basketball Bank Shot

A bank shot in basketball is a type of shot that relies on the backboard. On a bank shot, the ball bounces off the backboard before going into the net. Sometimes, a difficult shot can be made easier by using the backboard. The backboard usually has a square painted on it to serve as a target to aim for when performing a bank shot. If you shoot the ball and hit the square with the right amount of force, the ball will most likely go in the hoop. You should take bank shots when you are relatively close to the basket, as they get much harder the further you get from the basket. This is due to the angle of the ball hitting the backboard. As a player, you should practice bank shots because they are sometimes a higher percentage shot than a jump shot. Learning to use the backboard as a tool is critical for mastering the bank shot.

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Tip-ins

basketball tip in

A tip-in in basketball is a reaction to a missed shot rather than a shot type. If a shot is missed and the ball bounces off the rim, it's legal for anyone to try and tip the ball into the basket as long as the ball wouldn't hit the rim if it was left untouched. This can occur on any type of shot, whether it be a jump shot, layup, or a hook shot. If the ref determines that the ball was going to hit any part of the rim and a player touched it, they will call basket interference. As a player, you need to have a quick reaction to make a tip-in. Tall players such as power forwards and centers are especially good at tip-ins due to their height. A tip-in also counts as an offensive rebound, and these can be parts of huge momentum swings in a basketball game. It is important for the defense to box out to prevent the offensive players from tipping the ball in after a missed shot.

Remember, no player can touch the hoop or any part of the net while the ball is on it or moving through the net. This is called basket interference and it's a violation that results in a turnover.

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Free Throws

basketball shooting a free throw

A free throw is a type of shot in basketball that occurs after a foul is called. When someone commits a foul, a player on the opposing team is given free throws, which they take from the free throw line. The amount of free throws a player is awarded depends on the foul that was called. During a free throw, the player shooting must keep their feet on the ground while shooting, making it much different than a normal jump shot. A free throw is a special kind of shot, in which the player shooting the ball cannot jump when he or she shoots. During a free throw attempt, players have designated spots where they wait, and must stay there until the ball is shot before they fight for a rebound. The team that is on defense has designated spots closer to the rim, giving them a better chance of rebounding the ball. Free throws are very important, as teams need to capitalize on other teams fouls.

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Swish

Basketball Swish

A swish in basketball is a shot that goes into the net without touching any part of the hoop or backboard. It is called a swish because it makes a swish-like sound as it goes through the net if you listen closely. A swish is not awarded any more points, but it is a sign that the shooter is very accurate and can be good for a player's shooting confidence. Your shot can be a swish on any type of shot, whether it is a two or three pointer. You should always aim for a swish, because that means you will hit the center of the hoop.

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