Why Do Basketball Players Jump When They Shoot? [2023]

We all know that the best NBA basketball players jump when they shoot.

Look at JJ Reddick, for example. JJ Reddick’s jump shot is beautiful, effortless, and deadly accurate.

When he steps onto the court, everyone knows that he’ll let it fly (and sink it) from downtown.

But why do basketball players jump when they shoot?

Jumping provides several advantages for shooters:

  1. It generates more power, which is always helpful when scoring against a set defense.
  2. By jumping, players can create more space between their bodies and the defenders, making it harder to block the shot.
  3. And when they jump, they also have a split second to align their bodies and the basket to shoot with more accuracy.

Read on for the full answer below!


Should You Jump When You Shoot a Basketball?

The short answer is yes. You should jump when you shoot a basketball.

The reason for this is that jumping gives you more power and accuracy. Furthermore, jumping makes it harder for the defense to block your shot.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make the most of your jump shot. First, make sure you jump straight up and don’t lean too far forward or back (unless you’re intentionally shooting a Jordan-esque fade away).

Second, release the ball on the way up to the highest point of your jump for more power.

And finally, follow through with your shot by snapping your wrists as you release the ball. If you do all of these things, you’ll be well to nailing jump shots like a pro!

Last but not least, make sure not to cross the foul line when doing a free throw.

Why Is a Jump Shot Important in Basketball?

A jump shot is one of the most effective ways to score points in basketball when done correctly.

Basketball game in process

Many star NBA players such as J.J. Reddick and Kyle Korver made multi-million dollar careers purely on their shooting ability. The same goes for many Asian superstars as well.

In basketball, a jump shot is taken while in mid-air, usually after a dribble. A jump shot is the most efficient way to score, as it allows the player to get closer to the basket while still maintaining accuracy.

Additionally, jump shots are more difficult for defenders to block than standard shots, as they must time their jump perfectly to contest the shot.

Related resource: “Can Dwight Howard Shoot?”

Are You Allowed To Jump When Shooting Free Throws (NBA, FIBA, or NCAA)?

Yes, players can jump when shooting a free throw, so long as they do not cross the plane of the free-throw line. And don’t make a field-goal, of course.

The player must remain within the designated free throw circle until the ball hits the rim. This rule was put in place to prevent players from using their momentum to gain an advantage.

Most experts recommend staying on the ground when shooting free throws. 

This will help you avoid a technical foul, but it will also improve your balance, which is a crucial component to shooting accuracy.

As I suggested read, I recommend checking my article on why basketball players suffer from hair loss.

How High Should You Jump When Shooting a Basketball?

According to NBA star Buddy Hield’s shooting coach, you should jump a comfortable amount off the ground (6-8 inches). Steph Curry jumps at 32 inches.

The focus isn’t on height in a spot-up scenario because there is no defense to contest your shot. Instead, you should focus on balance and jumping the same amount each time.

basketball player jumping during a shoot

Jumping high adds complexity and can lead to loss of control and accuracy. As long as you have a consistent, controlled jump shot, you’ll be able to make shots with ease.

In contrast, when coming off a screen or driving to the basket, you’ll want to get as high as possible to give yourself more space to shoot over the defense.

When you’re around the rim, you will want to jump as high as possible and use your body to shield the ball from defenders. On a side note, many basketball players wear protection sleeves because they shield them against physical impact against defenders.

Players train their vertical leap and jump abilities even during season gym training.

Why Do Players Shoot a Fade Away Jumper?

A fade-away jumper is a type of jump shot that is taken while the player is moving away from the basket.

This shot is used to create more space between the shooter and the defender.

Why Do Basketball Players Jump When They Shoot?

Players jump when they shoot because the leap gives them more power. Besides, by jumping, they can overcome the defense of their opponents.

Technically, you don’t have to jump when shooting a basketball. The only situation in basketball where you don’t jump is when shooting a free throw.

a basketball player jumping and shooting a ball

However, as we discussed earlier, jump shots are much more effective than standard shots in-game scenarios.

Interestingly enough, some of the NBA’s best shooters such as Steve Kerr, Steph Curry, JJ Reddick, and Kyle Korver aren’t athletic leapers. While they may not get as much power on their shot, they more than make up for it in quick-release, balance, and accuracy.

Interested in increasing your own vertical jump? Don’t miss this in-depth Elite Vertical Academy review.

Why Don’t Players Jump on Free Throws?

There are several reasons why players don’t jump on free throws:

  1. For one, it’s simply not necessary. Unlike a jump shot, which requires players to generate power from their legs to get the ball over the rim, a free throw is all about technique. As long as a player can get the ball to touch the backboard and go through the hoop, they’ll be successful.
  2. Additionally, jumping on free throws can be detrimental to a player’s accuracy. When players leave their feet, they lose control of their bodies, making the ball less stable.

Research studies prove that successful free throw shooters are masters of repeating the same motion over and over again. Therefore, by not jumping, they can increase the consistency of their shot.

How To Shoot a Basketball?

The best way to shoot a basketball is to turn your body into a machine. Think to yourself: if you were to build a machine, how would you create it? Here are the steps:

  1. To shoot a basketball, first, you need to get in position.
  2. Sports scientists recommend creating a stable base
  3. Set your feet shoulder-width apart and point your toes towards the basket to do this.
  4. Bend your knees and lower your body into a squatting position.
  5. Next, reach out and grab the ball with both hands, keeping your fingers spread wide.
  6. Place your dominant hand beneath the ball and your other hand on top of it.
  7. As you bring the ball up to shooting position, extend your arms and snap your wrists to create backspin.
  8. Then, release the ball by snapping your wrist and flicking your fingers towards the basket. 

How To Execute a Jump Shot?

The jump shot is one of the most essential basketball skills. When executed correctly, it can be virtually impossible to defend. 

Here are the key steps to shooting a jump shot, without making a foul such as carrying.

1. Get in a low stance and square up to the basket. This will help you maintain balance and control as you elevate for the shot.

2. Take a short dribble to generate momentum, then release the ball at the peak of your jump. The key is to get the ball up quickly, while still maintaining control.

3. Follow through with your shot, letting your wrist snap as you extend your arm towards the basket. This will ensure that the ball has spin and trajectory.

If you want to learn the mechanics of a top NBA shooter, watch this video on Trae Young:

Should You Jump Forward While Shooting?

Yes, it’s beneficial to jump forward while shooting long-range shots.

When shooting a basketball, generating power from your legs is essential to get the ball to the hoop. 

One way to do this is to jump forward while shooting. This will help you to create more lift and increase your shooting range.

Shooters like Trae Young and Steph Curry use this jump-forward shooting technique to significant effect, allowing them to hit deep threes easily.

What Are the Shooting Mistakes Basketball Players Avoid?

Any experienced basketball player can tell you that shooting is all about technique.

A basketball player shooting ball at the hoop

Here are some of the most common shooting mistakes to avoid:

  1. Not following through: Many players forget to fully extend their arms directly to the basket when they shoot, resulting in a short, inaccurate shot.
  2. Letting your elbow drop: Dropping your elbow can cause the ball to veer off course. Keep your elbow up and in line with the basket for best results.
  3. Lining up sideways to the basket: When you’re shooting, it’s important to face the basket head-on. Lining up sideways can cause your shot to go off target.
  4. Not shooting in a fluid motion: A jerky shooting motion can negatively affect your accuracy. It’s essential to keep your shots smooth and fluid for the best results.
  5. Generating power with their arms instead of legs: Many players think they need to generate all the power for their shot with their arms. However, legs are the main source of power in shooting. Make sure to bend your knees and jump slightly when shooting for best results.
  6. Shooting off-balance: When you’re shooting, it’s vital to maintain your balance. If you’re off-balance, your shot will likely be inaccurate.

You can avoid these mistakes and become a better shooter with a little practice and attention to detail.

How To Shoot a Free Throw Without Jumping?

Let’s break this down: to shoot a free throw without jumping, you need to have a stable base for balance in your shot.

You can get this by keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, bending your knees slightly, and keeping your weight on your feet’ balls.

Drive your legs into the ground and elevate in a controlled motion (but don’t jump).

Then extend your arm and release the ball at the apex of your bend and extend motion.

Remember to follow through with your shot by extending your arm and pointing your dominant finger towards the basket.

We hope this answers the question: why do basketball players jump when they shoot.


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