Types of Basketball Shooting


Since Dr. James Naismith placed a peach basket high in the air and threw a volleyball into it at the end of the 19th century, the game of basketball has taken on many evolutions of a sport that fans enjoy the world over. Today's athletes are more athletic than ever before and can produce shots that their predecessors only dreamed of.

Point Values

  • In basketball each shot taken is assigned a point value of one, two or three.

    A one-point shot is also known as a free throw. When a player commits a foul against his opponent, the person who was fouled sometimes is awarded a chance to make free throws. They must stand at the designated free throw line with no interference from opponents and attempt to shoot the ball into the hoop. There can be one, two or three free throw attempts at one time.

    Three points are awarded when a player successfully takes and makes a shot from behind the designated three-point line. The distances of these arches vary between countries, leagues and divisions. The shooter's feet must not touch the arch for it to count as a three-pointer.

    A shot (other than a free throw) receives two points when it is taken and made anywhere inside the three-point line.


  • A dunk shot is when a player takes the ball, jumps to the level of the hoop and successfully places the ball inside the hoop, usually with great force. A dunk can be completed with one or two hands. Only a minority of players can successfully dunk on a regulation 10-foot men's professional hoop, as it takes either a tall or very athletic person with extra leaping ability to complete this task. This shot has the highest percentage of completion.


  • A layup shot is when a player is close enough to the basket where he can successfully lay the ball up in the air and into the hoop. This can be accomplished with our without the use of the backboard or the rim. A player's hands usually don't touch the rim during a layup. Most teams work on layup drills extensively prior to game time. This shot on average has the second-highest completion rate. Similarly, an alley-oop shot is when one player throws a pass to another player who is already up in the air and the second player puts the ball into the basket with a dunk or layup.

Jump Shot

  • A score is considered a jump shot when the player stops on the court at a certain point and pushes off the ground with two feet into the air while releasing the ball. A jump shot can be worth two or three points, depending on the position. A successful jump shooter in professional basketball can make between 40 and 60 percent of his shots.

Hook Shot

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar popularized this type of shot in the 1970's. It is used primarily as a way to shoot over a defender. The player has the ball on his outside hand and with his back to the basket, he quickly turns to one side and releases the ball with one hand in an arc-like fashion. Mostly the tallest players on the court (centers and power forwards) attempt this type of shot.

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  • Photo Credit FIBA
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