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The Many Different Types of Basketball Shots

The Many Different Types of Basketball Shots

The Many Different Types of Basketball Shots

At the end of the day, basketball is a shooting game.  And, in order to win a game, you and your team will need to put up and make more shots than the other team.  And while defensive and rebounding expertise can help you to win a game, winning can only be accomplished by being able to execute and score effectively on offense.

But, in the game, there are many different types of basketball shots which can be attempted.  Below, we’re going to go over and review the many different types of basketball shots and help to explain what each one is, as well as explain how to properly execute on each one.

The Basics of Shooting a Basketball

Learning how to shoot a basketball properly can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.  With practice, good form, and a bit of dedication, you can learn how to shoot a basketball like some of the all-time greats.

To shoot accurately, simply square your shoulders while placing your feet at shoulder length.  Bending your knees slightly, while bent towards the basket, palm the ball with your dominant hand, allowing your non-dominant hand to stabilize the ball from the side.

Extend your arm into the air and flick your wrist to release the basketball.  Be sure to follow-through with the shot as it glides through the air and into the bottom of the net.

The Jump Shot

The jump shot is, perhaps, one of the most popular and widely used methods to score a basket in basketball.  A jump shot is often used for medium to long-range shot attempts and will typically need the shooter to both extend their arms and elevate their bodies to complete.

To perform a jump shot, face the basket, and keep your feet slightly wider apart.  Bend your knees and square your shoulders.  In one fluid motion, leap upwards and at the top of your jump, release the ball with a flick of the wrist.  Be sure to follow through the shot with your arm.


The free-throw is a common shot attempt and one that is only taken after a player has been fouled or an opposing player has been assessed a technical or flagrant foul.  The free-throw shot is taken, by one player, at the free-throw line.

To shoot a free-throw, the referee will pass the ball to the player stationed at the free-throw line.  With a ten-second shot clock, the player must attempt to shoot the ball into the basket.  Dependent on the type of foul, a player may be given one, two, or three free-throw shot attempts.

The Layup

The layup is another shot attempt that is widely used in basketball.  Although, technically, not a shot, the layup definitely deserves an honorary mention.  To layup the basketball, a player will attempt to roll the basketball, from a close distance to the basket, against the backboard or directly into the rim.

The Finger Roll

The finger roll is extremely similar to the layup and there is often confusion about the two.  However, the finger roll differs from the layup in that the ball is meant to be rolled in, neatly, to the basket, without touching any part of the rim or backboard.  It differs from the slam dunk, however, in that there is no contact by the player with the rim.

A Bank Shot

A bank shot is a slightly more difficult shot attempt which can showcase a player’s shooting ability and accuracy.  It is a shot attempt that has been popularized by Tim Duncan.  The bank shot, while similar in motion to the jump shot, requires the shooter to aim the basketball against the shooting box on the backboard, essentially banking the shot against the box and into the basket.

The Hook Shot

The hook shot was popularized by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and hasn’t been utilized with such frequency since.  However, it is a popular shot, particularly when a player is attempting to gain space to shoot the ball from a defender.

To attempt a hook shot, a player should hold the ball in their dominant hand.  With their body perpendicular to the basket, and dominant hand further from the basket, they will elevate and “hook” the ball from their dominant hand into the basket.

The Floater

The floater is a great tool and shot attempt by a player driving to the basket.  It is primarily used as a shot attempt when a player drives to the basket but faces stiff defensive competition.  Rather than stop for a jump shot, the shooter will lob the ball up and into the basket.  Typically, the floater is a high arching shot and one that can be difficult to block or defend.

Tip Ins

A tip in is another popular shot attempt and one, that is completed successfully, will count as both an offensive rebound, a shot attempt, and a made shot.  The tip in is completed by a player who successfully tips the basketball into the rim off of a missed shot attempt by an offensive player.

The Slam Dunk

The slam dunk is, perhaps, the most popular shot attempt by fans and spectators alike.  To perform a slam dunk, a player will hold the basketball, in either one or two hands, and forcibly place the basketball into the basket.  Slam dunks are often a crowd favorite and there are many highlights online of famous and difficult slam dunks.