How To Improve Your Shooting Form: The Guide Hand | Splash Lab Basketball
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How To Improve Your Shooting Form: The Guide Hand

Our latest video post is all about the off hand (the guide hand).

The purpose of the off hand is to establish control of the ball and support it until its ready to be released.

Now, there are several different variations of off hand positions but the most common positions seen among great shooters and the one that I would recommend, is covered in this video...

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the guide hand
  • Have your of hand loosely on the side of the ball
  • Right before you push the ball forward, have your thumb facing directly behind you
  • Have your fingers pointing directly upward or slightly tilted towards you

Although this is the standard method, there are quite a few great shooters who keep their hands closer to the top of the ball.

Something to watch out for is that having your off hand on top of the ball can sometimes cause shooters to overreach with their off arm which can bring their non shooting shoulder too far forward and cause tension in their shot.

The off hand is only meant for support, and should not interfere with the release.

For Kevin Durant, his off hand starts to come off of the ball just as he begins to extend his shooting arm.

The off hand should be completely off of the ball before the wrist begins to snap forward.

At 1:58 of the video, you can see that Steve Nash’s non shooting hand starts to come off of the ball as he begins to extend his shooting arm. And is completely off of the ball before his wrist snaps forward.

guide hand steve nash

Sometimes, players use the thumb of their off hand to provide extra power for the shot.

In extreme cases, this will cause the off hand palm to rotate and face forward.

There are some good, and some excellent shooters that do use their off hand thumb to a certain extent. But as a general rule, the off hand should not interfere with the release because it adds an extra variable to the shot and can cause unwanted side spin.

Once the non shooting hand is removed from the ball, the off hand palm should be facing the shooting arm and maintain a relaxed position.

Off hand position and the correct time to remove the off hand are very important. But what happens after the off hand is removed is just as, if not more, important.

One of they keys to consistency in shooting is to minimize excess motion during the shot.

After removing the off hand, the non shooting arm should remain as motionless as possible while the shot continues.

Watch at 3:23 of the video, how Carmelo Anthony’s entire non shooting arm remains almost completely still until he releases the ball.

Once removed, the non shooting arm should be left bent for the remainder of the shot and should not overextended in order to minimize tension and excess motion.

One of they keys to consistency in shooting is to minimize excess motion during the shot.

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