SoCal-Elite Elite Basketball Academy

Basketball Shooting for Beginners

Shooting a basketball is one of the very first things every basketball player tries to do when they touch a basketball for the very first time. However, in order to shoot the basketball successfully, you need to possess good technique to not only shoot the ball well, but to also quickly release the ball so the defenders will not block your shot. In order to become a successful shooter, like Steve Nash, Ray Allen, or Steve Kerr, you need to find a good technique that suits you well while maintaining excellent consistency. Here, I provide you with a few key pointers on how to shoot a basketball well.

Use your legs: Yes the arms are the body parts that hold onto the basketball and release the ball. However, a lot of the strength of shooting the ball comes from your legs. Make sure when you are shooting the ball to bend your knees slightly in order to generate power.

Feet positioning: When shooting the ball, you fundamentally should have your feet in a correct position to shoot the ball. Ideally, you would have your feet spread shoulder-width apart while having the foot on the side of your shooting arm be about 1/4 of a shoe in front of your opposite foot. Make sure you square your feet towards the basket so your toes are pointed towards that direction.

Keep shooting elbow bent: When you are shooting the ball, you want to bend your elbow at a 90 degree angle before releasing the ball.

Lock your wrist: As you can see on the video, a great shooter can shoot the ball well with great consistency. From the time you catch the ball, try to keep your wrist locked and bent back immediately so you can release the ball at any moment.

Extend Arm up and Flick your Wrist: Once you release the ball to shoot, there are 2 key things you want to do. You want to extend your arm to a point where you lock your elbow in order to generate good consistency. You want to then flick your wrist when shooting the ball to generate a good spin on the ball. You almost want to pretend that you are trying to reach inside a cookie jar above your house cabinet to grab the cookie.

Hold your follow through: The most important aspect of shooting the ball is to hold your follow through. You need to do that in order correctly track the ball towards the basket. To hold your follow through, keep your arm extended up in the air until the ball either hits the rim or the floor.

Triple Threat for Basketball Beginners

Once you catch the basketball, especially out on the perimeter, immediately set yourself into a triple threat position. One of the basic fundamental rules when holding a basketball, a triple threat position makes you an immediate threat to make a basketball move that leads to the score. The term “Triple Threat” comes from the fact that you have 3 options that you can make from a triple threat position. This is a position every offensive player should be in when they still have used their dribble yet.

To be in a good triple threat position, you need to spread your feet shoulder width apart, slightly bend your knees, and be ready to shoot at any time.

Once you are in a good triple threat position, you have three options. Those three options are to shoot, to pass, or to dribble the ball and drive towards the basket. Furthermore, facing the basket while in a triple threat position can help you see the entire court to read the defensive players and to identify any open players on your team. Furthermore, you can move around in position while setting a pivot foot by performing basic moves like the jab step.

If you master the triple threat position, unlimited amount of moves exist for you to utilize your footwork to easily score the ball for either yourself or for your teammates.

SoCal-Elite Rookie Training

Crossover Dribble for Basketball Beginners

Basketball players utilize the crossover dribble, one of the more basic ball-handling skills a youth player can learn, to create space from defenders. To perform a crossover dribble, you switch your hand from one hand to the other. If you crossover from your right to left hand, step with your right foot simultaneously while crossing over to make your crossover more effective.

To master a basic crossover, utilize these few key fundamental tips

1. Keep the ball low. When performing a crossover, make sure the ball stays below your knees. The higher the ball gets when performing a crossover dribble, the higher probability the defensive player will steal the ball.

2. Follow through on your crossover. I commonly observe youth basketball players not following through on their crossover dribble, losing the ball pretty often. To follow through is to make sure the hand that the ball was in initially to swing past the center of your body when switching from one hand to another. You should think of a swinging pendulum as an analogy, where your arms swing back and forth. Make sure to emphasize following through with your arms especially during stationary crossover drills.

3. Once you attempt to drive towards the basket after performing a crossover, swing your outside leg around towards the opposite side of the body. This will help you shield off your body from the defensive player when driving towards the basket.

At SoCal-Elite’s Weekly Basketball Training Academy and basketball camps, you will not only learn basic crossover dribbles, but also learn other new dribbling moves that will help you become an improved ball-handler. Make sure to sign up for our Weekly Basketball Academy here at

Basketball Pivot

Basketball Pivoting for Beginners

Imagine this for a moment…

You are playing in a basketball game and become stuck with the ball after dribbling. How can you move? Well, you cannot move by dribbling the ball or shuffling your feet around or else the referee will call a traveling violation on you.

However, players can pivot when holding onto the ball. Players pivot while in possession of the ball to move in any direction while still keeping the pivot foot still on the floor. The only way to move your pivot foot is to keep it on your toes to pivot around.

As you can see in the video, you can perform a front pivot or reverse pivot. To identify which foot is your pivot foot, consider which foot moves first once you hold onto the ball. You will be allowed to move that foot around while your opposite foot will be your pivot foot.

When you pivot, you want to stick your elbows out to gain more resistance against a defensive player trying to steal the ball away from you. When you pivot around, protect the ball and keep it away from your defensive player.

Also, you can rip through while you pivot. Ripping through means to swing your arms from one direction to the other to make it harder on the defensive player to steal the ball away from you.

When you rip through, you must keep the ball down, which will help keep your elbows down also. If you rip through with your elbows at the height around your head, your elbow will most likely knock your opponent down after hitting his or her face, resulting in an offensive foul or even a flagrant foul.

Executing the pivot technique will help result in less traveling violations against you and the rest of your team.

If you would like to master the pivot technique along with other fundamental basketball moves that will make you a better basketball player, please join and sign up for our Weekly Training Basketball Academy.