Why Do Basketball Players Jump When They Shoot? Explained.

Basketball players need the extra strength and power for the ball to travel from their hands to the hoop. Performing a jump shot may also be a sign of confidence, seemingly telling opposing players to back away.

But, it doesn’t mean that every jump shot is effective. Many players would still jump and miss their shots.

Here, we’re going to talk about why basketball players jump when they shoot. Continue reading, and you’ll know other pieces of information, such as how to perform the basic jump shot and the mistakes to avoid when attempting this move.

basketball players jump when shoot


Basketball professionals and fans alike know the importance of the jump shot. Deemed as a basic shooting technique to many, it’s a move when a player throws the ball to the basket after performing a straight, vertical jump.

But, why is there a need for this move? Here are two reasons why basketball players jump when they shoot.

1. Higher Success Rates


Height is an advantage in basketball. Tall players, like the 7’6’’ Yao Ming, make it extra challenging for shorter opponents to reach the ball. But, even if a player isn’t as tall as that NBA legend, jumping can increase the height required for opposing players to reach, steal, and block the ball.

Further, the angle of trajectory required for the ball to travel from the player’s hand to the basket is lesser than when that individual is simply standing. Therefore, the chances of the ball going through the hoop are lesser.

2. More Momentum with Less Effort


Performing a jump shot, especially after running, requires less effort to perform as compared to doing a conventional shooting position while standing. The energy accumulated from running tends to directly transfer from the feet to the hands of the player before traveling to the ball. In turn, the throw becomes more powerful than usual, allowing for faster and more dynamic motions while allowing the player to exert less effort.

Despite these advantages, the jump shot isn’t the perfect ball-shooting mechanism in this sport. It has high coordinative requirements and demands several hours of practice before players can achieve decency in this particular move. Haphazardly doing jump shots may only make players laughing stocks as balls frequently miss hoops.

How do Basketball Players Perform the Basic Jump Shot?

perform basic jump shot


Some people might think that the basic jump shot is easy to perform. However, it’s nothing but basic. This straight, vertical jump requires an explosive extension from the legs while the arms simultaneously raise. Then, the hand or arm holding the ball needs to do a flicking motion at the right moment, lest the player misses the best opportunity.

This seemingly basic shot requires a lot of practice. But, it also needs the right information to get budding and veteran athletes started.

Here are some tips to help you do the basic jump shot:

1. Prepare


Before anything else, players don’t need to be in an official match to practice this particular move. A home basketball hoop, a basketball, and enough room should suffice for a decent training environment. Once you acquire these prerequisites, it’s time to start with the actual practice.

Begin by standing about two or three feet away from the basketball hoop. Make sure that you’re standing directly in front of the hoop. Next, assume a jumping stance while ensuring that the feet are roughly shoulder-width apart.

Also, keep in mind that one foot should be slightly in front of the other, and make sure you don’t keep the knees locked. Your bodyweight should also be on the balls of the feet for equal weight distribution. Then, the shoulders should be parallel to the ground while leaning slightly ahead of the hips. Finally, keep your head erect at all times, and one way to do that is to keep your eyes on the basketball hoop.

2. Form a Relationship with the Ball


Many beginners in basketball fail to do a proper jump shot because they don’t feet committed with each shot. Achieve this objective by forming a relationship with the ball.

It may sound cheesy, but one way to increase the likelihood that the ball goes through the basket is by visualizing the move. In other words, be the ball. It might sound easier than it looks, but it still requires some positioning before you can achieve a proper jump-shooting form.

After completing the initial preparations, hold the ball with two hands and place it in front of you. However, make sure to keep the ball reasonably close to your body.

Make sure that your fingers and thumbs are spread comfortably. But, ensure that the pressure you place on the ball is sufficient. Failure to apply enough grip or pressure to the ball means it’s easy for an opposing player to steal it. Otherwise, hold the ball too tight, and it might become challenging to apply the right force for the throw.

3. Practice Jumping


If you’re a beginner to this move, you can practice the jump shot without throwing the ball.

Jump by applying enough force to the balls of your feet. Then, release it to bounce vertically. Once you’re at an optimal height, quickly move the ball as high as possible while still applying a reasonable amount of pressure to it.

Remember, you can achieve maximum height the higher you hold the ball. This motion also makes it more challenging for the opposing team to reach the ball. However, don’t lock the elbows as it makes it difficult to throw the ball with enough force for it to reach the hoop. Instead, keep the elbows slightly bent to form a shooting arm. Also, the ball should be over your head when you’re about to shoot. Otherwise, it’ll block your vision, causing you to increase the risks of a failed jump shot.

4. Shooting the Ball


Once you’re in a set position to throw the ball, uncock the wrist to make the ball rise to the fingertips. This action should be swift to make the ball form a crisp backspin. Follow through by extending the arm to slightly push the ball in the direction of the shot. Once the ball is in the air, the rest is up to physics while hoping that no one will attempt to steal it while it’s airborne. 

Additional Points to Ponder

Always keep in mind that you need more power to throw or shoot the ball the farther you are from the hoop. You can increase the power of your jump shot by increasing the bend in the knees before jumping.

But, don’t forget to practice proper landing form. Don’t stomp the floor in celebration if your shot lands. If you do, you’re going to put immense pressure on the knees. One case to prove this point is when Dennis Smith, Jr. busted his knee and missed two games.

What are the Shooting Mistakes Basketball Players Avoid?

basketball shooting mistakes


Aside from exercising proper jumping shot form, it’s also important to understand the possible mistakes that may happen while attempting this move. Understanding the errors helps you prepare for the worst jump shot scenarios that may happen in the court.

Some of these shooting mistakes are:

1. Incorrect Thumb Position


Beginner basketball players often make the mistake of sitting their thumb of the shooting hand on the ball. This awkward position forces more strain on the body as it attempts a proper shooting form. Although it’s critical to exercise proper jump-shooting form, you should still find it comfortable to do.

One way to solve this issue is to have the thumb’s side resting on the ball. This position might feel awkward at first. But, it should help significantly over time.

2. Jerking Movements


Consistency is key in performing the jump shot properly. Some examples include twisting the body or doing a fading shot. Although fading shots look cool, they’re not exactly the best and most assuring way to score points.

Therefore, practice consistency in every jump-shot you make. Practice each part of the motion one step at a time, especially if you’re training at home. Remember, there’s no shot clock at home nor is there someone else to actively attempt to steal the ball.

Those motions may feel awkward at first. But, it’ll become a natural feeling with enough practice and determination.

3. Shooting While Falling


Find your optimal height when jumping. In other words, the highest point of your jump is the best time to shoot the ball. Players who shoot the ball during the landing portion have a high likelihood of missing their jump shots.

Why Don’t Players Jump During Free Throws?

free throw


Jumping during free throws won’t cause a violation. But, many veteran basketball players don’t jump while attempting free throws.

One reason is that jumping requires extra power and effort than traditional shots made while standing. Hence, if you want to jump during free throws, you need to assess your current energy levels if you can handle it. Otherwise, pushing yourself more than needed may result in early signs of fatigue.

Final Words


By now, you should know the reasons why basketball players jump when they shoot. In summary, jumping while shooting requires less energy to shoot in certain scenarios. Further, it promotes higher success rates in landing shots than standing while shooting.

Basketball players practice proper jump-shooting form to become experts at this particular move. It requires time, effort, and dedication to master. The motions may look robotic at first. But, those movements will look and feel natural over time.

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