Have you ever wanted to know how to shoot like Klay Thompson? In this post, we did an in-depth analysis of Klay Thompson's shooting form.
We broke down every step of his jump shot in order to teach you why he is such an efficient shooter and the little things you can take from his game to improve your own shot.
Coming from someone who has analyzed thousands of shooting forms, Klay’s shooting mechanics are as close to flawless as it gets.
In this post, you'll learn why...
Plus how you can develop your own perfect shooting form.
When shooting, Klay thompson uses a wide stance, around shoulder width apart.
Unlike many shooters who have a narrow stance when shooting off the catch and a wider stance when shooting off the dribble Klay almost exclusively uses a wide stance when shooting.
PREPARATION: LOWER BODY
One of the major aspects of what makes Klay such a great shooter off the catch, is his preparation before the shot.
Off the catch, when Klay is moving to his left, Before he catches the ball, he usually plants his inside foot. Klay is a right handed shooter, and because he is moving to the left, his right shoulder is already facing the basket.
So as soon as he catches the ball, he can drop his hips into a hop and immediately spring up into his shot
When Klay is moving to his right, his right shoulder is back and facing away from the net. Because he is a right handed shooter, this becomes a more difficult shot.
So what he does to counter this is that when going right, he often plants his outside foot which gives him more leverage to turn and bring his right shoulder forward on the hop.
Planting your outside foot is less conventional but because Klay has mastered using both his inside and outside foot, he can be in complete control of his timing off the catch.
Sometimes, off the catch, usually when he’s already stationary, he anchors his left leg down and prepares his lower body and hips so that as soon as he catches the ball, he can step into the shot with his right leg.
PREPARATION: UPPER BODY
His upper body preparation is exceptional and unbelievably quick.
Many players are not efficient off the catch because they try to position their hands and prepare for the shot after they catch the ball.
What makes Klay Thompson so deadly off the catch is that he catches the ball with his hands positioned perfectly so that as soon as he makes contact with the ball, he can pull the ball directly into his dip and quickly rise up to shoot without any wasted time or extra movements.
Whats even more impressive about his preparation off the catch is when the pass is not perfectly on target.
Off a bad pass, many players will have to readjust their hand position before shooting or not get the shot off at all.
When Klay gets a bad pass to his left side, most times, instead of overreaching with both hands and getting off balance, he is able to gain control of the ball with his left hand while preparing his right side and lower body to shoot. No extra movements and steps.
Another major reason for his success off the catch is his dip.
When we think of the dip, naturally, we think about the downward motion, but the upward motion is important as well.
Off the catch, Klay brings the ball down to his waist or slightly above his waist.
The downward motion allows him to bring his chest forward and flex his hips. The upward motion that follows initiates the upward momentum for the shot. So the dip is more of a quick bounce, and Klay is a perfect example of that.
After the dip, there is a specific point that Klay brings the ball to before pushing the ball forward.This is called the setpoint.
At Klay’s setpoint, his arm makes a 90 degree angle with his body. The ball is around forehead level and closer to the right side of his face.
He always reaches his setpoint before his feet leave the ground and starts to push the ball forward on his way up. So he starts to push the ball forward just slightly after his feet come off the ground.
Even though he does have a ‘setpoint’ he still has little to no pause in his shot and that allows him to maximize the power created by his lower body and the momentum from his dip.
Sometimes, when klay in posting up or when he thinks his shot might be contested, he will raise his setpoint by bringing the ball up a bit higher to avoid getting blocked.
In these situations, he will often pause for a bit longer than he normally does
Klay has his elbow in line with his shoulder just like most great shooters.
Earlier, we discussed that because Klay is a right handed shooter, when he is going left, his right shoulder is already ahead of his left and facing the basket, and that makes for an easier shot.
For right handed shooters, it is completely normal (and beneficial) for the right shoulder and right foot to be slightly in front of the left.
The interesting thing about Klay is that although he does have his right shoulder ahead of his left, and his feet are slightly turned, he has his shoulders more squared than many other great players and shooters.
Note: All great shooters (including Klay) have their shooting shoulder ahead of their non-shooting shoulder. When I use the word “squared”, what I mean is that out of all great shooters, he is as close as it gets to having your shoulders in line and squared to the basket.
Now although he turns less than most shooters, there are times when you will commonly see him turn in the air.
When his right shoulder and right foot are behind his left side, he will turn in the air, just like all other great shooters, to get his right shoulder forward.
Now, a fascinating part about Klay’s alignment is that normally, when a right handed shooter has their right foot and right shoulder ahead of their left side, they are perfectly aligned to the basket and can rise up to shoot without having to turn in the air to create alignment.
That is because he likes to have his shoulders a bit more square to the basket, when his right side is much further in front than his left, he will actually spin all the way back around in the opposite direction to bring his left shoulder forward so that he can get his shoulders a bit more squared up before releasing!
Another time you will see him turn in the air is when he is shooting from really deep. When Klay shoot’s from far beyond the 3 point line, he will turn a lot more than he normally does. This is because from far, he uses rotational power to add to his range and that causes his shooting shoulder to come further forward than normal.
BALANCE & BODY CONTROL
The reason his is able to maintain his form and time his alignment perfectly even when rotating in the air is because he understands how to stabilize and control his body.
You’ll notice that when turning in the air, Klay will almost always land wider than how he started.
He does this because spreading your feet or kicking out one leg while in the air allows shooters to increase their body control and their balance.
This is a really interesting topic that I discuss in more detail in a separate post so if you want to learn more about the science of balance and how that can improve your accuracy, you can click this link right here.
On Klay’s release, his middle and ring finger curl under while his index finger stays up. Normally, the finger that goes down the most is the one that players apply the most pressure with so if the index finger stays up, it usually means that the player dominates with their middle finger.
Klay’s release does look similar to other middle finger shooters. But there is also an article where Klay’s shooting coach talks about teaching Klay to make a V with his index and middle finger. And that makes it seem like he could potentially dominate with both his index and middle finger. And there are some clips that show signs of this.
But because Klay normally keeps his fingers so close together on his release, it’s tough to know for sure which finger he dominates with.
Because I wanted to be 100% sure, I asked him but he hasn't responded yet. So if you’re curious as well, click here to re-tweet the question from our twitter page!
When klay shoots, he keeps his wrist relaxed. The bounce that you see in his wrist shows the lack of tension in his shot.
Klay always locks out his elbow on his follow through so that his arm is completely straight with his elbow right above his head.
Klay, along with Durant and Carmelo, has the best and most fundamental off hand in the NBA.
His off hand is completely off the ball before he snaps his wrist forward and it does not interfere with the shot in any way.
And lastly, Klay is ball watcher, which means he follows the flight of the ball in the air as soon as it leaves his hand.
YOUR ACTION STEPS
Almost every player I coach wants to get a shooting form that looks like their favorite player's form...
You've probably tried to do this too. I know I did when I was obsessing over how to improve my shooting.
So you try to copy every single aspect by watching these breakdowns. But what happens?
You end up hurting your form more than helping it... Why? Because every player is different.
Every player has a different body type, different height, age, strength, shape, and even hand size. All of these things matter...
So when you're trying to shoot like Steph or Kobe, you're copying shooting principles that work for THEIR unique physical characteristics, not yours.
Now of course, if your shot is horrible, like you shoot with a set point over your head, then of course your form and shot will improve if you try to copy a pro player. But other than that, if you want to truly reach your MAX shooting potential...
Then you need to develop a set of mechanics that are UNIQUELY customized for YOUR body and YOUR characteristics. The way to do that is to learn the correct shooting principles and mould those around your unique characteristics like your strength, age, style of play, etc.
The worst part if you don't train for your own unique style of shooting like that, you can never find a form that 'sticks'. Which can get super frustrating because you never get that 'reliable shooter' status. Your consistency suffers. Your in-game shots are never as good as your practice. Teammates stop relying on you to take shots and no form ever starts to feel like "your own"... And now you know why.
Once you install those correct shooting principles into your own form by going through this training program, you'll develop a beautiful, consistent, smooth shot that's unstoppable on the court.