Stephen Curry Shooting Form – The Secret to Becoming A Great Shooter

Stephen-Curry-shooting-form

Today I wanna raise a subject that I’ve always struggled with as player – shooting the basketball.

Shooting is the most prevalent way points are being made in the game, therefore it’s an extremely important skill to have, if not THE most.

But developing an effective jumper is not an easy thing to do, many people struggle with their form and their mechanics are bad. Luckily today, we have many NBA players in the spotlight we could learn from.

One huge star that comes to mind is Stephen Curry, who set a single season record for most three pointers made. He has developed a reputation as a consistent and “pure” shooter, and it seems like every shot he takes is going to swish right through the net.

What sets his shot apart from everyone else?

Well, here are a few things I’ve learned from looking at this footage of him:

1. The Turn

Square your feet to the basket, keep ’em shoulder width apart!

 

feet-squared

An old mistake

I’m sure you all heard this expression too from a coach or a teacher. When I was a kid I was always told to do so. However, it plays out differently in Stephen Curry’s case.

While most players were taught to keep 10 toes pointed straight to the rim, Curry maintains an excellent balance and control by actually turning his feet about 10 degrees away from the basket to his weak side hand, aligning his hip and right shoulder to the basket which leads to a straight shot coming from his right arm.

This technique apparently also helps the problem of keeping the elbow in.

The ironic thing is Curry himself claims to square his feet but as you can see from the video above he clearly turns turns them. So there are 2 options here:

Either he’s not aware of the fact that he’s doing it, or he simply wants to keep it a secret :)

2. The Dip

When Shooting off the pass Curry dips the ball, dropping it a few inches below from where he caught it.

It turns out this dip is very important for power and rhythm and it also helps to make your shot go straighter based on Newton’s first law of motion (the law of inertia) which says: “An object in motion will stay in motion until it’s affected by an opposing force“.

dipping the ball

Be a Baller like a Bowler

A good example to demonstrate this principle is bowling. When a bowling player comes to throw the ball he first cocks his hand back and only then launches it forward.

This action of taking the ball back makes it much more accurate because when the ball is released it already has some energy going in the direction you’re sending it.

The same principle can be applied to basketball and dipping the ball increases the possibility of inertia, thus increases your chance to making the shot, so dip as long as you want.

And Just like in the first case, Stephen denies the fact he dips the ball. Again, is he really so unaware of his shooting form? Honestly, I doubt it.

Anyway Curry likes to take his shots off the pass, instead of taking it off the dribble. This allows him to set his form as he is catches the ball, which makes it easier for him to catch and launch in record time.

When he catches the ball, he slightly lowers his arms and then raises them up over his head as he’s jumping, which gives him a steady release and more power for long distance shots.

3. The One Motion Shot

james-harden-one-motion-shot

James Harden one motion jumper

Curry is a one-motion shooter, which means there’s no hitch or stopping, he releases the ball in one fluid motion.

Some people will say this form is incorrect but the good thing about it is that the release is very quick when you’re shooting a one motion shot.

On the other hand, you can’t jump very high when shooting this way, so there’s a big debate on whether you should shoot this way.

One thing is for certain, it’s working great for Curry.

But it’s really up to you if you wanna adopt this shot or not.

I personally prefer the two-motion shot because I’m more used to it and it gives me more control over the power I put into the shot when I need to jump high.

4. Little Knee Flexion

bending-knees

Take a squat if you’re already there

Stephen is using very little knee flexion as he shoots, his legs are bent just slightly to give him enough power to jump, but speed is the main component here. Due to this, Stephen has been measured to have one of the quickest shots in the NBA.

When you bend you’re knees, the lower you get, the harder it is for you go back up. It’s like squatting in weight lifting, the lower you go with the squat the harder it is to come back up, and the time it takes is longer too, so try to use less knee flexion and don’t be like the guy in the picture.

If you feel like you need more force in your jump try using your toes as well.

5. Breaking the Rules

Well, I hate to do that to you, but don’t blame me, blame Curry, ’cause when it comes to his landing width he’s breaking the rule many times by landing wide as seen in the video.

Shooting narrow is important especially for guards because it enhances the speed of the shot, and guards need to be quick with it.

no-rules

Nailed another 3

Curry doesn’t always follow that but in his case he’s such a good shooter that he can break the rules and still score. The reason for that is that Curry is very consistent with his upper-body so he can do whatever he wants with his legs and still release the ball the same way.

This comes to show that the main component for his success is his consistent release.

BTW, if you noticed from watching the video, Curry also lands forward from where he jumped, also allowing the momentum of his body to shoot from longer distances. This is called the Sweep & Sway and I’m gonna get into to that later on in another post.

Hopefully these tips will help you in your jump shot, these are things you can start practicing right now and I will get into more of these shooting techniques later on.

Until then, Good luck!

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96 Comments

  1. Hello, I have a question about Stephen Curry’s jump shot. Does he have a sweep and sway jump shot? I don’t know if he does or not but it looks like he has a jump shot where when he shoots, he jumps at the same place where his feet were.

    Thank you.

    • Well, If you look closely you’ll see that he does sweep a little bit, especially on 3point shots. It doesn’t always look so because Stephen doesn’t jump so high when he shoots, but when he takes 3pointers you can see his feet land more forward.

      • Thank you for the respond. I was just wondering if he did or not.

      • Hey, Jesse
        Everybody is so focused on Curry’s form, me included, thinking that his form is what makes him such a great shooter. But maybe, it’s not his form, maybe it’s something else.

        Maybe its his focus point, where he aims, or some other attributes or technique that he would never disclose.

        Think about it, it doesn’t make sense that his form could be so inconsistent, yet he remains such a high percentage shooter.

        • Forgot to add, he was a good shooter when he was younger and shot from his waist also. So…form can’t be the only answer.

          • It’s called shooting 1000s of shots day

          • True, it’s a lot of practice and no one can argue with that, but practicing the right form consistently is the key. Because if your form lacks the proper mechanics then you might end up practicing something that causes you to miss shots rather than helping you make progress.

          • its all about release and balance. yes there are mechanics to follow and teach to kids that usually struggle athletically. everyones body type and sizes of limbs is different affecting this type of coaching method. it comes down to release, balance, and working with the flaws to make them strengths. confidence and a defiant consistent mindset is important as well hip rotation, and wrist muscles. the secret? look at his wrist muscles. there inhuman. every release muscle he has is beefed up. you can get a shot off so fast and ridiculously easy its ridiculous. combine with a shot that is natural, relaxed and comfortable, then wallah.

          • True Marc, thanks for bringing these up.

      • Please send at least 1 more page of shooting pointers about the famed Stephen Curry. These tips are liquid gold man; thanks for this.

    • Of course curry has a sweep and sway jump shot, and whenever he is shooting, he jumps and lands a few inches forward…

  2. Actually, he does not square his feet to the basket. He is a tilt footed shooter. He tilts his feet, and his shoulder and hips are the one squared to the basket and he then creates the one motion shot and with the follow through

    • Hey Tommy,
      Notice that I mentioned the fact that he turns his feet.
      The “square you’re feet” was mentioned in a cynical manner since this theory is still being taught by coaches, even today.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E5IRwsXKYk

        Look what i found while looking at youtube.

        • Nice break down of his shot, loved the video.
          As you can see it’s not just the fact that he turns his feet, it’s other things too.
          Thanks for the video Tommy.

          • No problem :)

          • You are so off about the bent knees (puhlenty of that) and there also is no rulebreaking going on anywhere, it is textbook (who preaches true squaring up or ever did?) that it makes one wonder about this entire set of advice. Watch the referenced video: classic in almost all respects.

          • Hey David, I have watched the video not once and I’m not sure what’s the argument here, you can clearly see him flex his knees just enough to spring off the floor, if you’ll compare that to someone who has 2 motion shot such as Kobe, you’ll see the difference.
            And as for breaking the rules I was referring to his lower body inconsistency when it comes to his landing width.

  3. Hey,
    I’ve got a question about stephens knee flexion. Sometimes his body and legs go up when the ball starts to move up from the waist. But i’ve seen him often times bending his knees after the ball starts to go up, especially if he spots up or in the three point contest. What’s the reason for that?

    • I’ve looked at the 3-pt. contests he had on 2010 and 2014 and it’s really subtle, he usually keeps a good form and raises as he flexes, but I guess when he tires up he he prefers using his hand more then his legs so he flexes a little later.

  4. I’ve been practicing the Stephen Curry technique. It is the same one that I had in college. I was a remarkable 90% shooter. I developed strong legs by bicycling and jumping rope.

    Stretching before and after the game is very important.

    One foot is pointing outwards and towards the basket. Stephens’ ark is extremely consistent.

    He always has the follow through and pushing outward and towards the basket.

    Releasing a fraction of a second at the peak of his jump and the one finger is the last to touch the ball as if pointing towards the basket.

    I have discovered that if I put the tip of my fingers on the ball before I raise it up my L is there at the height of my jump and I find that I am more accurate than if I waiting to hit the L just before I release the shot.

    Is never a force but an easy snap of the wrist as I push the ball upwards in a rounding release. Like a round the circle sort of speak. And always a light movement toward the basket and always keeping your eye on where you release the ball.

    I’m 71 today and I’m still heading out to the court. But I got a little rusty on my shooting technique, but as I watch the videos of Stephen I’m improving each day.

  5. Im trying to shoot above my right eye like curry and im having trouble generating enough power in my shot i dont what i should do

    • Hey Vik, it really depends on your shot.
      Are you a one-motion shooter or a two-motion shooter?
      One-motion shooters like Curry have much bigger range because they don’t have to put so much force into their shot as it happens naturally.
      With a two-motion shot you have be stronger because there’s a “pause” point when you cock the ball backwards.
      I’m a two-motion shooter myself so sometimes when I’m tired I struggle with my 3 point shooting so I try to compensate on it by strengthening my upper body and hands as well.

    • Are you right or left handed

    • I used to have that problem as well. You have to use the power from your legs. If you miss short, you didn’t use enough legs and if you miss long, then you’re aiming it.

  6. I have a question about shooting.. when I shoot am I supposed to basically push the ball to the net or almost like throw it at the net ??

    • Hey damian, from my experience “pushing” the ball is not the way to go and it should feel more like releasing the ball.
      Pushing is more suitable for floater shots, but for normal shots you should relax the elbow & wrist and “release” it from your hand.
      If you look at many of curry’s shots he doesn’t even put force on the ball and it looks like his hand is very released and flowing.

  7. Does curry shoot with his whole Palm? If so how can you get a constant release pattern.. Should I use my middle or index finger?

    • Yes, I see him many times shoot with all fingers down, but it looks like his mid finger is the most dominant one.
      I myself use the index finger but I think it’s a matter of preference and convenience, I tried to shoot with my middle finger and it just didn’t feel natural so I went back to the index finger.

  8. what about palm shooting??

  9. Hey Zuka someone above just asked the same question.
    Basically my say on this is that you shouldn’t try and palm when shooting, it stiffens the finishing of your shot and makes your hand more tense.

    Notice that when curry shoots his fingers are not all at the same height, the mid finger and the index finger are always touching the ball last.
    My point here is that these 2 fingers should be the guiding fingers and only them.

  10. I’m 16 and about 5ft 2 I would like to know about his off hand…a lot of times I can’t shoot from my eye because of strength but I shoot from like my shoulder…..I’m right handed..so curry off hand???

    • Well Curry doesn’t have to put much strength into his shot because he’s a one motion shooter and he has a very quick release. therefore his range is absolutely sick. He can shoot from a distance (sometimes way behind the arc) with ease and he doesn’t even jump that high, this shows you just how powerful a one motion shot could be if you’re a shooter.

  11. Oh and can u talk about kyrie shot…the entire analysis

  12. K thank you n curry off hand?

  13. So can u tell us exactly how to.shoot like him

    • There are many variables that goes into a shot and to be honest curry is just a freak, many people tried to mimic his shot and couldn’t do it. He’s also very inconsistent with his form a lot of times but somehow he gets away with it, so it’s very hard to try and change your shoot to be exactly like his.

  14. Oh ok what about his off hand it looks like he tucks his left thumb in his hands…n when u have the chance plz make kyrie…

  15. Im having trouble getting my support hand off the ball. When I do its like im forcing it and it feels terrible. Sometimes i comes off by itself like magic and it always goes in and feels great but i want to know how to keep up that consistency.

  16. Ok when I shoot it’s like Darren Collison, his butt goes backwards and I just want to have that stroke like steph curry what do I do?

  17. Many proponents of the “turn” fail to either ascertain or fully communicate that the “turn” for most great shooters remains part of the process of the shot, not the setup. Curry turns only a slight amount in the setup, but the process and extension of the shot nearly always turns him. This is even true to a smaller degree with Ray Allen.

    Emphasizing the turn to young shooters who are in a stage of concrete operations cognitively, nearly always takes it to an unhealthy extreme. Instead, getting young shooters to “square up” nearly always gets them to a healthy 10 degree preparation shift, but emphasizing extending to the rim from the shooting shoulder gets the turn at the precise time necessary to contribute both power and accuracy to the straight line to the rim.

    • I must say I disagree with what you said Dwight.
      Most shooters who are taught to square their feet do exactly what they were told, only a minority of them turn “naturally” and even they believe they square their feet (Curry said multiple times that the he believes he squares his feet). So I don’t think educating young players to square their feet and shoulders is the way as it puts so much tension on the body and if the player doesn’t let go of this bad habit he might never become a good shooter.

  18. Hi, i am 6’0″ at 16 years old boy from Philippines, is stephen curry form is perfect for me? I have a very short jump and slow arms and legs and i have also have a bad pulse on my handling, because i just started playing basketball this year, i never play basketball in my life just this year. Thanks

    • No, it’s not for everyone, actually a lot of people think that Curry’s shot is a bit awkward as it’s a one motion shot. My advice for you is to practice the one-motion release and see if it feels comfortable to you.

      • Hey, Jesse
        Everybody is so focused on Curry’s form, me included, thinking that his form is what makes him such a great shooter. But maybe, it’s not his form, maybe it’s something else.

        Maybe its his focus point, where he aims, or some other attributes or technique that he would never disclose.

        Think about it, it doesn’t make sense that his form could be so inconsistent, yet he remains such a high percentage shooter.

  19. PLEASE TELL ME JESS UR AN EXPERT OR SOMEONE THAT PLAYS BASKETBALL AND KNOWS WAT THEY R TALKIN BOUT

    • Hey Mordecai,
      Indeed this looks like maybe there’s something else, something that we haven’t discovered yet and that curry keeps only to himself…but in reality you have to understand, curry practiced his shot millions upon millions of times and the guy is so used to shooting that he developed that sweet “shooter’s touch” where his sensitivity makes up for the lack of inconsistency… Because let’s face it, no one can always shoot the exact same way (we’re not robots), there are so many variables in a game and it’s so dynamic that even if you had the perfect shot sometimes you just gotta take what the defense gives you.

      But in terms of mechanics I think curry’s form actually reveals a big reason to why he has an edge over other players, he’s a one motion shooter, and because of that he has to exert less power on his shot and that gives him more accuracy. That’s also why his range is so sick and he can knock down 3s from 25 feet.

      Of course there are other techniques he uses and I talk about some of them in the post but the main thing to take away from this is that curry’s form combined with the millions of shots he put up has are actually the reasons to why he’s the best shooter in the game right now.

      • When i shoot my chest is moving forward. How do i fix it? And should my wrist be relaxed or tense when i shoot?

      • Jesse, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s Curry’s foot strength bro that allows him to shoot the way he does. Look up Hyperarch on the Youtube channel. Overtime if you train your foot under specific conditions it allows nerves to travel up to the glutes enabling you full strength, as opposed to the quads which most people use on their daily lives. Feet are the last thing on the human body to get old as you age, your face is #1, thats a BIG indication that feet hold the power of becoming elite and not just the gym. Learn Hyperarch and you’ll be a good as you want to be, trust me.

        • Hey Follower,
          I’ve watched Chong Xie video and I accept the argument that the feet are important, no one can dispute that. None the less, I tend to go with the more based approach that it’s not just the feet that do the shooting, it’s the whole body, from top to bottom, acting as a one synchronized unit that moves a moves certain way to create the perfect angle for the ball to go in.
          And to be honest with you I know a lot of one-motion shooters who have very weak legs and they still posses a deadly range behind the arc, I attribute it mostly to the mechanics of the one-motion shot.

  20. Do one motion shooters have a setpoint?

  21. I think he practices alot since he was a child therefore its was part of him as he was growing up it requires practice perfect shooting with coordination to become the best

  22. I am 15 and 5″4. I weigh about 110. Those are similar traits to Curry. Should I practice his shot?

  23. man I’m 6’1 at the age of 15 and already an excellent shooter, but should I use curry’s shot?

    • Trying to change your shot entirely overnight is a recipe for disaster. This course of action is only good for bad shooters as a last resort. If you’re already shooting well then you should stick to that and make gradual changes to your form. My advice is take 1 or 2 things at a time and try to implement them on your shot. If you see an increase in your % then you should make that change permanent, if not, move on to another thing.

  24. Dont Anyone Remember Curry Had To Change His Jumpshot His Second Year In High school…
    And He Came A Sniper Dead Eye Shoot His Rookie Year…. You Can Get Good As Him… A.K.A MVP… It Take Millions Of Shots To Get It Mastered… If You Wanna Make It To The Nba Then You Need To Practice 8 or more a day… Why People Dont Make It To The NBA? Because They Only Practice Couple Hours A Day Or They Give Up.. Why? Because You Will Practice All Day, And then You Will Feel Tried, Sore, Or Fail So Much You Given Up… Thats Why You Fail… Look Up (Never Give Up Motivation) On Youtube… It Change My Life

    • As with everything in life, it takes practice to become a master at it. In this perspective shooting is no different, in fact it’s the best example of how important practice really is.
      Thanks for the inspiration Corey.

      • Hi jess I’m having trouble also in my shot just like this, when I shoot ,my shooting hand is kind of going into the wrong way just like it use to be even if i do my follow through what should I do?

        • Hey man, you should practice your aim. The finger is a good technique to use in order to work on that, checkout the Kobe’s post I did here on the site.

  25. Hello I practiced the three points shooting everyday and I want to know how to shoot more three points, but I want to continue shooting not stopped like missed shot but I am a better three pointer than Larry bird, but curry is way more good three pointer, but I think Ray Allen is better than steph right?

    • Ray Allen and Larry Bird are legends who their respect is not to be diminished, but Curry is a new breed of a shooter and he has already surpassed them in terms of scoring stats and percentages, he’s definitely going to set a new record for shooters in the future and it’s gonna be hard to beat.

  26. look i know u dont know who i am but i am way better than larry birds at three points shooting and i know he is the legend

  27. And i am telling u honest and don’t forget my name is wylee and if u heard any my name i will be in nba in 2020

  28. Great to see you spreading the proper shooting form teaching principles. Few corrections though, Evan Turner is a two-motion shooter (unsure why the pic says otherwise).
    Keep up the good work and please know there are many more aspects of the proper form you haven’t touched on. At least, the outdated teaching is now slowly becoming obsolete. Good job!

    • Thanks for pointing that out Nele, I’ve fixed this issue and now it shows James Harden, which is undoubtedly a one motion shooter.
      You are right for saying these are not the only aspects for improving your shoot, I wanted to leave something for the next which are going to include some more tips on shooting.

  29. Hey Jesse,
    I’m 5’8 at 14, and I think I am the only one obsessed with my shooting form in my school. Thing is, I like to shoot long range shots, but I don’t know how to do it properly. I don’t really have an arc, and I have an awkward release, you know what I mean? Can you help me start from scratch? Like, the basic tips? I look it up, but it’s always the advanced tips. I wish to reform my shot completely.
    Thanks,
    P.S, you belong on Sports Science on ESPN.

    • Lol, John Brenkus here I come to take your spot :)
      Thanks for the compliment Tris.

      If your shot is too flat then you need to put more arc into it. There are many ways to do that, but the biggest factor is your release point, the further forward it is the flatter the shot will be. Therefore you need to try and release the ball a bit higher and more to the back.

      Then there’s also the motion of your wrist and how it “snaps”, the more snap you put into it the flatter the trajectory of the ball is going to be, so you need to practice it from different ranges and be sensitive about it.
      On some shots like floater shots, you don’t even snap the wrist because you’re too close to the basket and you want all the arc you can get.

      You can also try to move to a 2-motion shot as you’re still young and it might be easy for you to transition now.

      All of these techniques and more are available at Shot Mechanics (checkout the link I’ve included in the bottom of the post) so I really recommend that you learn this stuff and apply it to your training as it can really make a huge different in your scoring %.

  30. Thats cool but I’m gonna try if it work it sticks

  31. I need help with my release, I can’t seem to get it consistent, nothing feels comfortable nor consistent, I don’t know when to to let it roll off my fingers, or push the ball, nothing seems to work for me, can you give me some tips to fix my release? My hand flies left no matter what on my shot (I’m left handed)

    • – lie on your back inside and shoot to barely touch the ceiling
      – work on getting the flick at the end, thumb down, no twist to the wrist
      – outside stand a few feet from a high wall and pick a spot and shoot toward it again and again, same good flick, bent knees, thumb down at the end, no twist to the wrist, nice and straight
      – do this for a few weeks along with shooting CLOSE at a real hoop, no distance shooting, and then see how things feel
      – start with release point between chin and forehead, somewhere around there, whatever is comfortable. Later you can move it higher as you grow.

  32. do you shoot from the middle of your body or at the side?

  33. Whatever works. Most shoot off the chin or a little lower, the chest and then release from the chin or nose-eyes area. Some shoot more off the forehead. Some have even higher release points than that (Durant, Bird). These are on the medial (middle) line. Stockton, a very good shooter who did not shoot enough, shot from the side a little bit, off his shoulder. Not common. JLucas likewise, even moreso another very accurate long shooter.
    Just do and work on what works for you and feels or gets comfortable.
    Don’t dip your head; lots of forehead shooters do that, for some reason (Griffin, Dellavedova). LBall the older shoots from his left cheek, for heaven’s sake. Don’t learn that.

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