Different Types of Shots in Basketball

What are the Different Types of Shots in Basketball?

So, you’re wondering what the different types of shots in basketball are. You don’t have to look any further as I talk about all the fundamental shots in this article.

On June 3, 2021, the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker, in his first playoff appearance, knocked out LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers (the previous season’s champion).

Booker performed phenomenally this day. He scored 47 points on 15-22 shooting.

He had a balanced offensive game, where he scored inside, in the middle, and outside. He made 3-pointers, mid-range jumpers, and layups. Booker also sank all of his free-throw attempts (9).

He scored in a variety of ways and used all the different types of shots in basketball.

Speaking of the different types of basketball shots, I’m sure you’re wondering what they are. I know this because this is the title of the article and you are currently reading it.

So, here are all the fundamental shots in basketball:

  • Jump Shot
  • Hook Shot
  • Bank Shot
  • Free Throw
  • Layup

These are the shots that all basketball players (regardless of position and size) should know how to do (and use in games). They are the core ways of scoring.

By knowing how to do all of them, you will be a complete scorer who has a lot of weapons to rely on to sink the basket in the bucket (which is the goal of the game, after all).

So, here’s a short description of each and a little guide on how to execute them:

The Jump Shot

The jump shot is the most common way of scoring in basketball. Players use it to shoot threes and mid-range jumpers.

This is also Bookers preferred method of scoring.

During Game 6 of the first round (the game I mentioned earlier), he used this shot to annihilate his defenders in the mid-range and on the perimeter.

He came off of screens for 3s and weaved his way around the mid-range area for open pull-up jumpers.

How to Do:

Key Notes:

  • The jump shot is a full-body move
  • Balance and stability are crucial to a good jump shot
  • Keep elbow close to the body for more control

For advanced shooting tips, such as shooting a jump shot following a pick, watch the following video:

The Hook Shot

The hook shot is the most common shot in close or in the post.

You will see a lot of big players, such as centers and power forwards, use it after backing down their defender.

Though Booker doesn’t use this shot often, his teammate, DeAndre Ayton, is well-versed at it.

How to Do:

Key Notes:

  • Use your non-shooting arm to keep balance
  • Let go of the ball at arm’s highest point of movement
  • Follow through with the shot, just like when shooting a jumper

For tips on how to shoot hook shots against a defender, click here to read this post on how to shoot baby hooks in games.

The Bank Shot

The bank shot is a great shot for when you are shooting the basketball at an angle.

This type of shot is just a jump shot, but instead of trying to get a swish (a shot that goes through the basket without touching the rim or backboard), you bounce the ball of the backboard first.

Though the highlight I shared above doesn’t show any clips of Booker using the bank shot, he does go to it.

He often uses it when he’s shooting over a taller defender or when he’s shooting at an angle.

How to Do:

Key Notes:

  • Make sure the shot is high enough so that it can bounce off the backboard and into the rim
  • Also, make sure that you have a soft touch when banking a shot in

Read this article on bank shots if you are interested in learning a drill to practise the shot.

The Free-Throw

The free-throw is a shot that’s taken when a player, who is in the act of shooting, gets fouled.

This shot may seem like an easy shot (because of the word “free” in it and because there are no defenders in the way), but it is not.

A lot of players will get nervous and choke when they shoot free-throws because there is a high expectation of them making it.

Luckily, this wasn’t the case for Booker this game as he made all 9 of his free-throw attempts.

How to Do:

For a guide on how to shoot the free-throw, read this article where Michael Jordan teaches the fundamentals of the shot.

The Layup

The layup is a shot that is used when a player drives the lane or attacks the basket during a fast break.

There are many variations of this shot but the fundamental ones are the basic overhand layup and the finger roll. These are the two that you should learn first before you try the other ones.

In the highlight above, you can see Booker doing a finger roll after he catches a no-look pass from Cameron Payne.

How to Do:

Key Notes:

  • Start with the overhand release initially
  • Pay attention to your footwork (master the mechanics)

A drill that can help you get comfortable shooting the layup is the Mikan Drill. You can learn how to do it here.

The Best Drill to Practise the Different Types of Shots in Basketball

These are the fundamental shots in basketball. If you want to be a complete scorer, you need to be able to do all of them.

A drill that you can do to practise all of the types of shots is the Steve Nash basketball workout.

This is a 20-minute drill where you have to execute all of the types of shots shared above. You start by shooting from in close and then gradually moving out to the 3-point line.

It’s a great shooting drill and a great cardio workout.

Click here to learn how to do it and the benefits of the drill.

Final Thoughts

Shooting is a core aspect of the game. But there are many ways to shoot a basketball and to be a well-rounded scorer, you have to be well-versed with all the skills.

So, learn and practise all of these shots (regardless of position or playing style). Before you know it, you’ll be a killer scorer like Devin Booker.


P.S. If you’re struggling to improve in basketball, you may be training wrong. This is why you need to check out my Old Man Game Activity Guide. It’s a convenient training system that will help you work on your fundamentals and conditioning. Click here to learn more about it.