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Basketball Shooting Types

1 point, 2 points and 3 points. All 3 results comes from different types and times of shooting the basketball during a game. Here are the most common shooting types:

[Related: learn how to shoot a basketball better]

Free Throws

The only (static) stationary shot in a live game. Personal fouls, team fouls and technical fouls award opposing players free shots at the rim. Since every point counts towards a win, it’s important for each player to improve their free throw shooting mechanics and accuracy to give their team the best shot at winning close possession games every night.

Layups and Dunks

Layups and dunks are both jump shots even though they’re not typically classified as jumpers. While easiest to convert and most-efficient in terms of points per shot, practicing them as tactfully and rigorously as the rest of your jump shots could help you become a better overall scorer. And for purely shooting benefits, practicing these shots improves your feel for the ball, the angles of the backboard and confidence in your ability to put the ball in the bucket.

To up your layup and free throw game, grab a ShotLoc and ShotTracker, get in the gym and aim for the hundreds.

Hook Shots and Floaters

Any one-arm shots outside the layup area that come off quicker and softer than 2-handed shots. Hook shots are typically used by big men and floaters by quick, crafty guards, both of whom usually have little operating room in the most jam-packed area of the half court. High arcs and soft releases are key in making these shots fall.

Mid-Range Jumpers & Bank Shots

The further distance from the goal, the lower the shot percentage efficiency in these 2-pointers. These shots are easier to get off for guards, forwards and centers, but harder to convert since most defenses are built to contest these shots the most. The more dribbles a player takes before taking one, the lesser the shooting percentage, mostly because the defense usually recovers after the first 2 dribbles.


2s and 3s, these shots are best launched in rhythm, hence ‘catch’ and ‘shoot’, without hesitation for a fluent shot. No dribble necessary.

One-dribble Pull up

When the catch and shoot fails because the defender caught up to you, take one hard low dribble, fall into the 2-feet squared position and pick up the ball high and shoot with your shoulders squared. Going straight up is key; most missed pull ups are due to fading sideways on the shot release.

Two-dribble Pull up

If you can’t beat the defender on the first dribble, take one more hard low dribble and pull up or finish the drive with a layup.

Bank shots require a geometrically programmed mindset to calibrate exactly at what point on the backboard and how soft the release of the shot to shoot. It’s fundamentally a smarter shot but it only works if you practice it just as hard as direct jumpers. See Tim Duncan and Chris Webber.

You can also look at guards and wingers who drive just deep enough to pull off a one-hand running banker. See Aaron Brooks.

Fadeaway, Turnaround and Step Backs

These shots are harder to master and convert consistently, especially in games against difficult individual and team defenses, but the challenge is clearly taken on by the most elite who need to balance their all-around shot types with a mix of close ups, mid-ranges and long-balls. When you take 15+ shots per game or more, as much as Hubie Brown praises high-percentage shots, you can’t get them when the opposing defense has you on top of their scouting report.

These are creative shots that aren’t as fundamental as others, but you can determine the fundamentals and common traits of making these difficult shots consistently. Good backspin, eyes inside the basket, a complete follow-through are all steps you can take as you launch the shot through and give it the best shot of making it.


The corner 3-pointers are closest to basket; the 3 from the top of the key (center) offers the straightest and clearest angle of the hoop and the backboard and the diagonal threes are the most difficult angle. In any case, a good shooter can convert from any of the angles at a high percentage. See Kyle Korver’s 2014-15 shooting chart.