Basketball is a game of precision, skill, and finesse, and one of the most critical aspects of the sport is shooting. The follow through in basketball is the final touch that can help you make your shot. It's the cherry on top for putting in all the hard work while lining up for the perfect shot. We'll delve into the art of the follow through, providing you with the knowledge and techniques to enhance your game.

What is follow through in basketball?

When you release the ball for a shot, your follow through is the continuation of the motion that started from your feet and traveled up through your body. It's not just about the hands; it's about the entire body working in harmony. The follow through ensures that the ball flies on a straight line towards the basket, maintaining the direction and spin necessary to hit the target.

Your fingers play a pivotal role.

Spreading your fingers on the ball properly and using your finger pads, not the fingertips, gives you the control you need. As you release the ball, your wrist should flick as if you're reaching into a cookie jar on a high shelf. This motion adds a backspin, which helps the ball bounce softly off the rim or backboard, increasing the chances of it going in.

Body Alignment and Balance

For a successful follow through, your body's alignment is crucial. Your feet should be shoulder width apart, with the non-shooting foot slightly behind to maintain balance. The knees should be slightly bent, ready to spring into the jump if you're taking a shot from a long distance. This stance provides a stable base for the rest of your body to align correctly.

Your shooting elbow should be directly under the ball, with your shooting shoulder in line with the rim. The non-shooting hand, or the guide hand, should rest lightly on the side of the ball, helping to steady it. As you shoot, your guide hand should fall away, leaving your shooting hand to direct the ball to the basket with a smooth follow through.

The Role of the Shooting Arm and Hand

The shooting arm's motion is critical in the follow through. As you extend your arm, it should move in a straight line towards the basket, with the elbow finishing at eye level. The wrist should snap down and the fingers should point towards the target, ensuring that the ball flies with the correct trajectory.

Your shooting hand, now the sole guide for the ball, should finish the follow through with the wrist relaxed and fingers hanging down, as if you were trying to reach into the aforementioned cookie jar. This position helps to give the ball more arc, which is especially important for three pointers, as a higher arc increases the chance of the ball going through the hoop.

The Mental Game

Shooting is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. Target focus is essential; your eyes should be locked on the rim or a specific part of the rim throughout the entire shooting motion. This focus helps your brain and body align to send the ball to the exact spot.

Confidence also plays a significant role. Believing that each shot will score points can actually help improve your accuracy. This self-assuredness comes from practice and developing a consistent follow through that you can rely on, even under pressure.

Practice Makes Perfect

To make the follow through second nature, you need to develop muscle memory. This takes time and repetition. Practice shooting from various positions on the court, focusing on maintaining the same form and follow through each time. Over time, your body will remember the motion, making it easier to replicate during a game.

Drills that isolate the follow through can also be beneficial. For example, you can practice shooting against a wall, concentrating solely on the wrist flick and finger release. This helps to reinforce the muscle memory for just that part of the shot.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Many players have a hard time with their follow through because of common mistakes. One such error is not keeping the shooting arm straight during the release. This can cause the ball to veer off to the left or right. Another mistake is not using the legs to generate power, especially for long-distance shots, which can result in the ball falling short.

Additionally, some players neglect the importance of the guide hand, allowing it to interfere with the shot instead of just supporting the ball. Ensuring that the guide hand is only there to stabilize, not direct, the ball is key to a clean follow through.

Incorporating Follow Through in Different Shots

The follow through is important in every type of shot, whether it's a free throw, a mid-range jumper, or a three pointer. For free throws, the follow through helps maintain a straight line to the basket, crucial when you have the luxury of taking your time. In jump shots, the follow through adds the necessary arc and backspin. And for three pointers, a strong follow through with more power and arc can make the difference between scoring and missing.

Adding More Power and Arc

For more advanced shooters looking to add more power and arc to their shots, slight adjustments can be made. Focusing on pushing off more with the legs and using the strength of the shooting shoulder can add power without disrupting the follow through. To add more arc, concentrate on finishing with your shooting hand higher and your fingers reaching even further towards the basket.

The Psychological Aspect

Sometimes, the biggest challenge to a perfect follow through is mental. Players may develop a mental block after missing several shots, leading to hesitation and a disrupted follow through. Overcoming this requires mental toughness and the ability to reset after each shot. Remembering past successes and visualizing the ball going through the hoop can help regain confidence.


Why is the follow through important in basketball?

The follow through is important because it ensures that the ball flies on a straight line towards the basket with the correct spin, trajectory, and power. It's the final touch that can significantly influence whether the ball goes in the hoop.

How can I improve my follow through in basketball?

You can improve your follow through by practicing regularly to develop muscle memory, focusing on proper body alignment and balance, and ensuring that your shooting arm and hand are moving correctly. Drills that isolate the follow through can also be helpful.

What are some common mistakes to avoid during the follow through?

Some common mistakes include not keeping the shooting arm straight, not using the legs to generate power, and allowing the guide hand to interfere with the shot. Correcting these errors can lead to a more consistent and accurate follow through.

How to follow through on a basketball shot?

The key to following through on a basketball shot is proper form and technique. Make sure your feet are planted, use your legs to generate power, and maintain a consistent release point. Additionally, visualizing the ball going into the basket can help with accuracy and follow-through. Practice consistently and focus on these fundamentals to improve your shooting abilities in basketball.

What is follow through in basketball?

Follow through in basketball refers to the motion of continuing your shooting form after releasing the ball. It is an essential element in shooting technique as it allows for greater accuracy and consistency. Proper follow through involves extending your arm fully, snapping your wrist, and holding your follow-through position until the ball reaches the basket.

Why is follow through important in basketball?

Follow through is crucial in basketball because it determines the accuracy and power of your shots and passes. By following through, you ensure that your body weight is properly transferred towards the basket or target, giving you better control and consistency in your shots. Additionally, follow through also helps prevent injuries by promoting proper form and technique. In conclusion, mastering follow through can greatly improve your overall performance in basketball.

Can follow through also apply to other aspects of basketball, such as passing and dribbling?

Yes, follow through is crucial in all aspects of basketball, especially passing and dribbling. In passing, a proper follow through ensures accuracy and control over the ball. Similarly, in dribbling, following through with your hand helps maintain possession and allows for quick changes in direction. Overall, mastering the art of follow through is essential for success on the basketball court.

How often should I practice my follow through?

In order to improve your basketball skills, it is recommended to practice your follow through every time you shoot. Consistency and repetition are key factors in mastering this fundamental skill. Aim for at least 30 minutes of practice per day, but don't be afraid to challenge yourself with longer sessions when possible. With dedication and proper training, a strong follow through will become second nature on the court. Happy practicing!

Are there any specific drills or exercises to help with follow through?

Yes, there are several drills and exercises that can help improve your follow through in basketball. One effective drill is the "snap wrist" exercise, where you begin with your shooting arm at a 90-degree angle and then flick your wrist while shooting the ball. Another useful exercise is the "one-handed shooting" drill, which forces you to focus on releasing the ball with proper rotation and follow through. Consistently practicing these exercises will greatly enhance your follow through and improve your overall shooting accuracy in basketball.

How can I incorporate follow through into my overall basketball training routine?

Incorporating follow through into your basketball training routine is crucial for improving shooting consistency and accuracy. To do so, focus on keeping your elbow in line with the basket, following through with your wrist and fingers, and maintaining a consistent release point. Consistent practice of these techniques will lead to noticeable improvements in your shooting game.


The follow through in basketball is a critical component of a successful shot. It involves the entire body, from the feet to the fingertips, and requires both physical and mental precision. By understanding the mechanics, practicing consistently, and avoiding common mistakes, players can significantly improve their shooting accuracy. Remember, the follow through is the final act of your shooting process, so give it the attention it deserves.

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