What Part of the Rim to Aim at When Shooting a Basketball

    What Part of the Rim to Aim at When Shooting a Basketball

    Ever wonder if there was a “correct” spot on the hoop that players should aim for when shooting a basketball?

    I know I have… many times.

    It’s true that I’ve always been an “aim for what’s most comfortable for you” coach. but recently, I’ve been wondering if that’s a good enough answer…

    I wondered if I was doing a disservice to the players I was coaching by giving an answer I wasn’t 100% sure I wholeheartedly believed.

    This question seems to be a very common one judging by the many emails I get from both coaches and players asking me the same question… “where on the rim should I focus when shooting?”

    It seems that we are all a bit confused by this question.

    so I searched…books, websites, podcasts, twitter polls (more on that later) and couldn’t find a definitive answer that resonated with me.

    The next step was getting input from those I trust in the basketball coaching community.

    I asked 18 experts for their opinion by emailing them this simple question…

    Which part of the hoop should players focus on when shooting the basketball?

    Here are the responses I received…

    “where on the hoop should players focus when shooting the basketball?”

    bryan burrell – new era elite sports

    I think shooters should always focus on the ring in the middle.

    Whether a shooter is looking at the rim from the top of the key, the wing, etc., there will always be a ring placed in the middle of the rim that can be used as a target.

    In my opinion, if you work on the right follow-through every time, you’ll always have a chance to hit shots consistently.

    casey dudek – citk hoops

    I teach players to try to swish every shot and that the center of the rim is your target.

    this narrows your focus and even if you miss your target a bit (short, long, left or right) you still have a chance to get in.

    collin castellaw – shooting mechanic

    I think when it comes to aiming your shot, it really depends on your comfort. some players like to aim for the front rim, some for the back of the rim, and some for the soft area above the rim.

    I have met and worked with many great shooters who use all of these methods. Like everything in shooting, sometimes there is no absolute way to get the best results. a specific targeting system could work for one player and be terrible for another.

    diamond tipWith that being said there is one technique I have seen a ton of success with. Targeting the “Dimond Tip.”

    This is the area at the back of the net where the smaller diamonds connect to the larger ones.

    this can be super effective because if you hit your target exactly, it will result in a hiss. with the front iron or back iron method, a perfect hit can still result in a miss. I feel like it also gets better results than aiming at the soft area over the edge because there is still a specific target to aim for.

    damin altizer: training driven

    Before answering the question, I did a quick poll on social media asking…

    “what have they taught you about where to look when shooting?”

    Of nearly 200 responses, 46% said the back of the rim, 34% said the front of the rim, and 20% said the center of the basket; clearly, the division in what is taught is significant!

    For me, in training, it all comes down to constant repetition that creates a knee-jerk reaction. As a shooter, the most important thing is to say consistency and gut reaction rather than conscious thought.

    If, going into the shot, a player wonders “am I looking at the right spot on the rim?” they are most likely not very good shots.

    Young baseball pitchers aren’t taught to try to hit a point on the catcher’s glove, they’re taught to hit their spots by playing catch with the catcher; the same goes for qbs and wrs youth soccer.

    Minds don’t get tense when the thinking aspect is removed and it becomes simply playing the game. shooting is more or less the same. you earn points by putting the ball in the basket; not hitting the front of the rim, not hitting the rear of the rim.

    By making players focus on constantly finding the basket instead of focusing on one small spot, we simplify the game and in turn make them react and shoot instinctively instead of deeply analyzing every aspect of their shot. as they do. shooting.

    The game of basketball is a thinking man’s game where if you’re thinking you’re probably not playing. it is about feel, flow and rhythm; breaking it down into individual components, shooting is exactly the same.

    darrell johnson – crossed hoops

    I teach players to focus on the closest part of the rim until the ball goes through or makes contact with the rim.

    I know there are a few different theories on this particular subject and a lot of great shooters including steph curry normally watch the flight of the ball, but I think focusing on the target, the rim, is the most effective.


    When shooting darts, would you watch the trajectory of the dart or focus on the triple twenty or bullseye on the dartboard? the answer is obvious, you would focus on the dart board.

    It’s the same concept when shooting a basketball, focus on your target.

    dave love – the love of the game

    one of the most important aspects of shooting is one of the simplest… where do you aim? there are many different ideas, but I firmly believe in one.

    I encourage players to find the farthest part of the rim, no matter where they are on the ground or at the back of the rim.

    the reason is simple… we know we are going to get tired while playing. so if there’s that guarantee that we’re going to lose power, I want to aim for the longest target and leave room to miss short.

    You also want to make sure you’re finding a physical target, rather than the “middle of the rim”. Without a physical target, your eyes don’t focus on anything tangible and therefore can’t measure distance accurately because they don’t have a reference point.

    Also, I try to get the players I work with at the nba level to set targets as small as they can, as early as possible on their shot. if you can find a small target, then you have a lot of wiggle room, while if you aim for the “hoop” in general, you have a small margin of error before you get disastrous results.

    The target I suggest is the furthest coil that joins the net to the edge.

    Lastly, don’t overlook the idea of ​​trying to find that target as early in your shot or setup as possible. don’t locate your target in the middle or end of your shot when you could have found it sooner.

    juan leonzo

    I believe and teach that players should aim for the back half of the basket. I’m a big advocate of all balls going up and over the rim and I hate it when shooters just miss.

    Short shots don’t have a chance to go in, but a shot that’s up and over the rim has a chance to fall, even if there was an error on the shot.

    If a player is going to make a mistake, I’d like that mistake to count as 2 points.

    good shooters are never left, right or short. good shooters shoot straight shots that go up and over the rim.

    Aiming for the back half of the rim gives the shooter the best chance of never falling short. most shots are missed short and that’s why I teach aiming for the back half of the basket.

    jordan delp – pure basketball sweat

    More important than the point on the rim a player focuses on when shooting is the consistency with which he or she can lock on to that point.

    Whether a player is comfortable focusing on the front, back, or center of the rim, be sure to stress the importance of finding that spot every time.

    When I work on this with my players, we try to focus on the middle of the rim. while it’s a bit more ambiguous than the front or back of the rim, it allows players to maintain consistency from wherever they’re shooting from (up, wing, corner, etc.) because that spot never changes.

    Also, focusing on the middle of the rim can help a player take shots even when slightly off his mark, as there is more room for error than with a shot aimed at the front or back of the rim. aim small, miss small!

    kevin mitchell – basketball pure sweat

    My recommendation would be to aim for the middle of the rim and imagine the basketball in the middle before the shot attempt.

    As a skills coach and former player, I tried the recommended methods of aiming for the front or back of the rim, but ended up short or long with many shot attempts.

    what I teach through our concepts with pure sweat basketball is that if you aim for the front of the rim and the ball hits the front of the rim, you have achieved your goal. if you aim for the back of the rim and the ball hits the back of the rim, you have achieved your goal.

    if you aim for the center of the rim and the shot attempt is long or short, the basketball still has a chance to go in because the player is aiming for the center of the rim.

    the important thing is the mechanics of the shot, square correctly and balance the shot attempt.

    mihai raducanu – unlimited performance

    That’s a great question, and just like footwork, there’s no right or wrong way. a player must have all the options so that he can choose what works for him.

    There are different ways to teach what to focus on and some have proven more successful for certain players or teachers than others.

    I tell those I teach them to watch whatever they want as long as they’re focused on something.

    Recent and past research has shown that the more we focus on a goal, the greater our chances of achieving it. It doesn’t matter what you focus on, as long as you understand what you need to do with the ball to get into the hoop.

    Your shot is based on your pace and follow through. elbow above the eyebrow and five fingers pointing down.

    You can look at the front of the rim and focus on getting the ball over the front.

    You can look at the back of the rim and focus on putting the ball right in front of it.

    you can look in the middle and focus on placing the ball in that specific spot.

    How you choose to approach is irrelevant, just go for it and practice your rhythm with various footwork off of receiving and dribbling.

    Constant repetition of a consistently well-executed movement will create a fluid shot.

    mike costello – basketball pure sweat

    I always tell my players to go with what is most comfortable for them, but to “aim small and miss small” don’t just look at the “front” or “back” of the rim.

    they need to choose a specific loop or part of the network and target that each time.

    If I absolutely had to choose, I’d say aim for the loop on the back that holds the net or a piece of the net on the back.

    This way you will know that you have to pass the ball in front of you and that you should never miss short if you hit your target. and if he shoots short, he should still have a chance to go in.

    mike lee

    none of them.

    I was taught to look forward, backward, in every possible way, but every time I tried to do this as a player, it made me think too much and affected the rhythm of my shot.


    I’ve asked several players this and I’ve never heard a top shooter we work with tell me they really focus on something. And, when I say great shooters, I mean the three-pointers on national television in Final 4. They just shoot the ball.

    I think you reach a certain level and it’s just a feeling you have.

    If I had to give an answer to a beginner, I’d say half the edge. I’m not sure why you would aim for the front or back of the hoop if you’re trying to get the ball through the hoop.

    randy brown –

    throwing relies on proper fundamentals, balance and practice. a solid foundation for shooting the ball is a start, but the most important element is quality repetition.

    By quality, I mean doing thousands of takes with the same fundamentals you were taught.

    Hopefully, they taught you how to throw the ball the right way. if so, you’ll be a very effective marksman.

    In my opinion, the issue of where to aim is exaggerated. my take is to select an area to target and make it part of your shooting identity.

    Through repetition, you find comfort in your stroke and muscle memory will take care of the marks!

    ryan razooky

    players should focus on the middle of the rim. that’s where you aim to shoot. it also allows for the largest margin of error.

    I also like that the front loop goes over, but not the back of the hoop. the back of the rim is not friendly.

    great shooters miss most of their shots short or long, not side to side.

    sam allen – pgc basketball

    There are hundreds of things coaches can teach athletes when it comes to shooting. For me, a specific crosshair at the rim or the basket is not one of those.

    if you study all the great shooters, both men and women who have played our great game, you will see a variety of different types of shots. we hope to give athletes some things to focus on from a mechanical and technical standpoint and be really good at it. things like footwork, balance, tracking, and the mental aspect of the shot.

    Obviously the goal is to make the shot and if we can automate some of the technical fundamentals into your habits, this next step is crucial.

    That step is the work, the disciplined daily routines of lifting hundreds of shots to become a great shooter. It is through this deliberate practice and training that players will develop the “feel” and muscle memory for shooting.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that aim can come more from a feeling that develops through thousands of hours in the gym.

    As a player who worked tirelessly on my shot, I found myself in my early years of training aiming for the back of the rim so I didn’t hit my shots to the leading edge (could a coach have told me this?).

    As I became a more established player, I didn’t necessarily have a target point.

    All this to say that over the years when I’ve worked with players, I’ve taught players to hit a lot of front rim shots to target the back of the rim. that has not been part of my/our recent teachings.

    shots and this topic is a fascinating discussion. I’m interested in hearing some of the other answers you collect and learning from them.

    To summarize my thoughts for a moment, I think the “less is more” approach can be useful for developing shooters and the target point would seem to confuse that process a bit.

    scottfields –

    I’ll start with an analogy a hunter would appreciate…

    When hunting large game with a rifle, you’re not just targeting the entire area, which is the entire deer, elk, or elk. you don’t just point the rifle in the direction of the animal and pull the trigger. you choose the vital signs.

    slow down, focus and raise the rifle and shoulder the stock of the weapon and align the rear sight, and place the sight between the rear sight and sight on vitals, heart or lungs. you aim for those vital signs. not the whole animal. relax and pull the trigger. with practice and repetition, you will find success.

    The backboard and the rim are also a complete area. you don’t just push the shot to the backboard and wait. the front of the rim, from whatever angle you shoot from, is your target…or the vital signs of the previous analogy.

    unless you’re shooting from a 45 degree angle and your target is the top corner of the square.

    Example: For simplicity and clarity, when shooting a free throw, directly in front of the rim, the target is the front of the rim. while shooting from the baseline, the target is next to the rim. look at the front of the rim from where you are. Demonstrate this and show it on the court, or use diagrams. look at your target, the front of the rim, not the back of the rim, net grommet, net, or backboard.

    when you shoot, you should face your target, and your index or middle finger will go over the front of the rim on your gooseneck. the finger will reach the front of the edge.

    on the 45 degree angle bench shot, that same index finger or middle finger will hit the top corner of the square on the side you are shooting from.

    coaches: video of your shooters and athletes. this is a teaching point. freeze the video at the launch point. if your middle finger deviates to the right, away from your target, your shot will go to the right. the farther the shot is, the more the shot will deflect. if the middle finger is left, the shot will be deflected to the left as explained above.

    from 18′ to 21′ the drift can be significant. your margin of error will increase the greater the distance. good tracking with your finger pointing at the target and the release point can save bad mechanics. if you miss your target, you will miss your shot.

    For younger athletes and shooters, I give this analogy…

    It’s like going for the kiss. the lips are the target, if you kiss on the chin, the temple, the nose or the forehead, your boyfriend or girlfriend will think you are crazy if you do not hit your target, which is the lips. the same for shooting hoops…

    If you hit the top of the board, the side of the board, or the airball, people will think you’re crazy.

    watch your target, hit your target, your hit percentage will increase. this is, and must, be taught in progression.

    I know this is specific and detailed, but I wanted to give you not only the goal, but why the goal.

    tommy hulihan – tommy hulihan basketball

    I think this is different for every player and I don’t think there’s necessarily a right or wrong place to look.

    As a player, I looked just over the front of the rim. As a coach, I usually ask a player what he’s looking at and as long as he’s looking at a specific area, I think he’s fine.

    I’m more comfortable with “over the front of the edge” for a couple of reasons.

    First and foremost, I think a player can “find” it quickly compared to “center of the basket” or “loop” etc. I think by looking just over the front of the rim, the player won’t shoot it short.

    I feel like it’s more timely to launch what you’re looking for.

    I feel that by visually “finding” their target earlier, a player will shoot a higher percentage, so I prefer to look just over the front of the rim.

    wesley kosel –

    When it comes to shooting, I usually start by asking the player where they are looking when shooting the basketball.

    The player usually says something like “on the edge” or a specific location on the edge.

    The advice I give is to find a place on the edge that you feel comfortable with. for me, it’s the back of the rim. however, for others, it may be the middle or front edge.

    I haven’t bought the rear of the rim as the best and only option, but it is the best option for me.

    Young basketball players should repeat as many shots as possible and experiment with different looks at the hoop. once the player has gotten enough reps, he will have a good idea of ​​what his preference is for looking at the rim.

    The key from then on is to constantly look at the same place from then on. the best shooters have very specific routines and techniques.

    twitter poll results

    when i got damin altizer’s reply and read that he did a poll on twitter i thought that was a great idea and i decided to do my own too!

    I tweeted this question…

    “What part of the rim have they taught you to look at when shooting?”

    and gave three options to choose from.

    1. front of rim2. back of rim3. middle of edge

    here are the results…

    Coaches and players: what part of the rim have you been taught to look at when shooting? — coach mac (@bballcoachmac) December 11, 2015

    Of the 265 people who voted, the difference between the front and back of the hoop was almost completely even, with some focusing in the middle.

    This means that when shooting, 44% of players are aiming at a target that is within 18 inches of the target another 43% of players are aiming at. That’s a madness.

    a couple of quick notes…

    1. I should have included don’t focus on anything specific as an option for the twitter poll.

    2. I probably should have said “middle of the rim” instead of “middle of the rim”, as some people may be confused and assume that it is the same as “in front of the rim”.

    so… what’s the answer?

    You have reached the end of the article…

    You have read the opinions of 18 basketball experts, you have seen the results of a survey to which more than 250 players and coaches responded…

    And you’re probably still wondering when this article will get to the part where I’ll tell you exactly where to tell your players to aim for the rim so they swish every shot.

    well, unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. in my opinion, there is no correct point on the edge to aim at.

    As you can see above, there are many trainers who have had success with many different methods.

    I encourage you to do two things…

    1. re-read the previous experts’ posts. most of them know more about shooting than I do. If one of their opinions resonates with you, consider adopting their principles. visit his website and learn more about his views on shooting.

    2. let your players experiment and decide. let your players experiment with a variety of methods, and then encourage them to choose the one that feels most comfortable to them.

    This is the method I use.

    As coaches, I think it is our responsibility to introduce our players to the different options they have and then allow them to choose the one that is most comfortable for them.

    now it’s your turn…

    Which part of the hoop do you think players should be aiming for when shooting a basketball? and why?

    let me know in the comments…

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