Shoot a Basketball

With high school basketball playoffs just around the bend, our thoughts turned to the mechanics of the game—and so we called head boys coach Robert Hughes of Dunbar High School in Fort Worth, whose lifetime record of 1,082-192 makes him the fourth-winningest coach in the country. A two-time All-American at Texas Southern University, 67-year-old Hughes knows well how to hoop it up, and he happily gave us the lowdown.

The most important part of shooting is…?

Shot release—you should release your shot the same way every time. This is because of the kinesiology of muscles, because of how the body reacts to repetition. Repetition is how we learn everything.

What are the fundamentals?

A shooter’s touch should be as light as a feather. You should hold the ball gently and make sure the seams run across your palm. Then release the ball with a flick of the wrist and your palms open. It should go off the three middle fingers of your front hand with a slow reverse spin.

So if I do that, I’ll score?

Maybe. Some guys have no flexibility. Anyone can shoot. Your grandmother can shoot. But she can’t score.

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