Basketball Shooting Technique: The Jump Shot

Execution, Tips & Drills

Basketball player performing a basketball jump shot in a gym
The right technique is especially important for the jump shot.

The jump shot is the most important shot in basketball. This shot is hard to defend against and allows you to score from a long distance. For the jump shot to be successful, the complicated throwing motion needs to become second nature. Here you will learn what is important, how to execute the jump shot and what drills will help you further learn this technique.

What is the basketball jump shot?

The jump shot is one of the most important shots in basketball. It is a basic shooting technique in which a player throws the ball towards the basket from a straight vertical jump. The jump shot is done with one hand, where the second hand holds the ball in place until the shot is taken. The jump can be made from movement, for example while dribbling, as well as from a standing position.

Fun Fact: John Miller Cooper, an american teacher, is considered to be the inventor of the jump shop. He is said to have used the jump shot as an offensive technique for the first time in history while playing basketball for the University of Missouri.


Advantages of the jump shot compared to a standing shot

  • Higher chances of success: The ball is much more difficult for opponents to block than with a standing shot, because the players can jump straight into the air and throw the ball from a much higher angle above the head.
  • Less effort and more momentum: If the jump shot is taken from a run, the momentum from the running movement can be transferred directly into the shot. This allows players to throw more powerfully, faster and more dynamically with significantly less effort overall.
  • Better throwing angle: With a strong jump the attacker can achieve a better throwing angle to the basket.

Disadvantages of the jump shot compared to the standing shot

  • High coordinative demands: The difficulty with the jump shot lies mainly in the coordination of the jumping movement and the relatively fast throwing motion.
  • Requires a lot of practice: The technique of jumping requires a lot of practice. For this reason the shooting technique is only suitable for advanced basketball players.

Jump shot over opponents shown by a girls basketball team
The jump shot is an effective offensive technique over longer distances.

How does the jump shot work?

The straight vertical jump is achieved by the explosive extension of the legs and the simultaneous raising of the arms. At the highest point of the jump phase, the player then executes the actual throw with his hand.

For the jump shot, players only use one hand or one arm for the throwing movement. The second hand keeps the ball in place in the throwing hand until the time of the throw. The second hand supports the ball from the right or from the left until the time of throwing, depending on whether the ball is played with the left or right hand. The advantage here is that the player has better control over the execution of the throw.

Basketball player on an outdoor court executing a jump shot in basketball
With the jump shot you make it harder for opponents to stop you as a player.

Important training basics

Ideally, you should already have mastered these basics before you begin to train for the jump shot:

  • catching and throwing while standing and in motion
  • standing shot (position shot)
  • offensive strength
  • great throwing and jumping power
  • good coordination

The correct execution of a jump shot

The following video will show you how to correctly execute the jump shot as a beginner:

The phases of a jump shot

The jump shot generally consists of three phases:

  • 1. First, a straight vertrical jump is executed.
  • 2. Shortly before reaching the highest point of the jump, the actual throwing motion is initiated (arm-hand-guidance).
  • 3. The ball should not leave the throwing hand until the apex - the highest point of the jump - is reached.

All the phases mentioned seamlessly transition into each other . The descending phase of the jump ends in the landing. The jump shot can be executed either from a standing position or from movement (jump shot after receiving a pass or jump shot out of a dribble).

Tips for the execution of the jump shot

For a technically clean throwing technique a number of points need to be considered: For example, how you receive the ball, foot position, but also body and hand position as well as elbow position are important. In the following we will explain how to do the jump shot correctly step by step.

Note: The following manual is designed for right-handed players. Left-handed players can simply reverse the information given here.


The Starting Position

  • The shot begins with the correct reception of the ball. The goal should always be to accept the ball the same way the player wants to throw it afterwards. In other words: After catching the ball, hold it loosely in front of the body in your throwing hand. The middle finger is pointed forward and the left hand supports the ball to the side (T-shape).
  • The legs areshoulder width apart and the toes point towards the basket.
  • The feet are parallel to each other or are in a slight stepping position. This means that the right foot (for right-handed people) can also be slightly in front of the left foot.
  • The knees are bent slightly and also the upper body tilts forward a little.
  • Jumping

    • The player now swiftly and dynamically moves the ball upwards over their head. The movement should be fluid. The swinging motion of the arms provides a stronger jump.
    • The elbows are kept loose and in a natural position: They should neither point too far outwards nor lie too close to the body.
    • By extending the arms, the vertical upward jump has already begun. It finally ends at the highest point of the jump (apex).

    The standing throw in basketball performed by a basketball player on a court by a lake
    The throwing motion for the jump shot is the same as during a standing throw.


    • The actual throwing phase begins shortly before reaching the apex.
    • In the actual throw the elbows should be at least at shoulder height. This is the only way to accurately and effectively perform the throwing motion. The ball lies only on the fingers, not on the palms.
    • Once both shoulders and elbows are at a 90 degree angle, the player flicks the wrist forward. It is important that the movement is primarily upwards and that the wrist does not bend too far downwards. This allows a good throwing angle onto the basket. You can also see tips on hand positioning when throwing a basketball in the following video.
    • The movement pattern of the actual throw is therefore identical to the arm-hand and ball-hand-motion of the standing throw (position throw): Here the player does not take the throw from the jump but from the standing position.

    The Landing

    • After the throw, the player lands firmly on both legs, bends their knees slightly and moves their center of gravity forward to regain composure immediately.
    • His feet, but also the index and middle finger of the flicked wrist are pointed towards the basket.

    Common Mistakes

    • The right timing: It is very difficult to coordinate throw and jump correctly. To achieve the optimal timing, a lot of practice is necessary. Therefore, it is most important that you have patience and intensify the training progressively.
    • Leg position during the jump: In order to generate enough power for the jump and retain your balance at the same time, it is important that the feet are shoulder width before the jump. If the stance is too wide, the player's reaction time is slowed down, if the feet are too close together, this is to the detriment of balance. In order to optimize leg position, you can first practice jumping without throwing.

    Jump shot from a distance: Young male basketball player photographed from behind while holding a basketball in both hands, getting ready to execute a jump shot basketball throwing manoeuver
    The jump shot is great for scoring points from a distance.

    Jump Shot Variations

    There are a number of different variations on the jump shot. In the following we present the most popular ones.

    Fadeaway Jump Shot

    A variation of the jump shot is the "fade away jump shot". The player does not jump forward as usual, but lets themselves fall backwards during the jump.

    The advantage: The intentional backward movement increases the distance to the defenders, who are normally close to the player. By increasing the distance, the shot becomes a lot harder to defend. The NBA players Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki are known for their fadeaway.

    Leaning Jump Shot

    The counterpart to the fadeaway jump shot is the "Leaning Jump Shot" (also "Leaner"). The player does not move backwards during the jump but moves forward.

    The advantage: The variation helps the attacker to jump past or over the defender. The forward movement usually surprises the opponent, so blocking is more difficult for him. Defensive players who follow the attacker can also be easily defeated.

    Because the jump can be executed directly out of a run, the player can also take advantage of the existing momentum and transfer it directly into the throw. Most often the "Leaner" is thrown from a short distance close to the basket.


    Turnaround Jump Shot

    For the "Turnaround Jump Shot", the attacker has his back turned towards to the defender, jumps off and then spins around in mid air.

    By jumping, they push themselves away from their defender in a turning motion and throw the ball after they have turned 180 degrees. This variation was made famous by Michael Jordan.

    Step Back Jump Shot

    The "Step Back Jump Shot" is initiated by a step forward. The attacker then steps back to their previous position and executes a regular jump shot. This increases the distance to the defending player, similar to the "Fadeaway Jump Shot".

    The advantage: By stepping back, the attacker creates enough distance between himself and the defender to execute the jump shot unhindered.

    Basketball player executing a jump shot
    The jump shot allows you to throw over the defenders.

    Basketball jump shot: Exercises & tips

    Here we will show you the best exercises with which you can train the jump shot with your team.

    For beginners: position throws (standing throws)

    Before jumping right into training for the jump shot, players should get comfortable with standing throws first. Start by practicing a few free throws or close and medium range throws.

    You can use this exercise as a warm-up to develop a feel for throwing the ball. This video will show you how to properly execute a standing throw:

    Jump shot from a standing position

    You can take it one step further by training the jump shot from a standing position. The following video by FC Bayern (German basketball team playing in the BBL, Germany's premier basketball league) will teach you the technique for this as well as show you a few exercises you can incorporate into your training:

    Jump shot while moving

    The next level of difficulty is the jump shot while moving. Once you have the technique for a standing throw as well as the jump shot from a standing position down, you can start practicing this technique. The following video will teach you, proper execution as well as exercises and a few tips on how to get better:

    Tip: In order to strengthen the jumping ability of your team, you should vary the different jumping techniques and exercises during training again and again. For advanced basketball players it is advisable to, for example, employ obstacles or to make the jumps more difficult by increasing the load (e.g. weights).

    Practice makes perfect...

    To further your team's chances of success, we recommend training your mental strength or finding strategies on how to strengthen your team spirit.

    If you want to read more about basketball, you can also learn how to plan and structure your basketball training.

    Are you also looking for the right jerseys for your team? You will find a variety of completely customizable basketball jerseys in our online shop. We look forward to hearing from you!


    Photo credits: Title picture: © gettyimages/miodrag ignjatovic, Picture 1: © gettyimages/South_agency, Picture 2: © gettyimages/Svetikd, Picture 3: © gettyimages/Deimagine, Picture 4: © gettyimages/bymuratdeniz, Oicture 5: © gettyimages/oneinchpunch