By Hal Wissel
The advantage of the hook shot is that it is difficult to block, even by taller opponents. The hook shot is generally limited to an area close to the basket, a range of 10 to 12 feet. Learn to shoot the hook shot with either hand to greatly increase your effectiveness in the post or when driving into the lane. When well executed, the hook forces an opponent to over-play you, and a fake hook can create an opening in the opposite direction for a power move, drive, or pass. Contrary to popular belief, the hook shot is not difficult to learn. With practice, you will be able to use your weak as well as your strong hand for shooting the hook shot.
Start in a balanced stance with your back to the basket, feet spread shoulder-width apart, and knees flexed. Sight your target by looking over your shoulder in the direction you will turn to shoot. Within a 45-degree angle of the backboard (above the box and below the middle hash mark on the lane line), accuracy is aided by using the backboard to soften the shot. When banking the shot, aim for the top near corner of the box on the back-board. If you are not at a 45-degree angle, aim just over the rim.
In most instances, you will make a ball fake in the opposite direction of your intended shot. After your fake, move your shooting hand under and your non-shooting hand behind and slightly on top of the ball. Flex the elbow of your shooting arm and position it at your hip, keeping the ball in direct alignment with your shooting shoulder. This is called the hook shot position or lock-in position (recommended key word is “Lock!”).
Use the foot opposite your shooting side and step away from your defender. As you step, hold the ball back and protect it with your head and shoulders, rather than leading with the ball. As you step, dip your knee and pivot in, turning your body toward the basket (recommended key word “Legs!”). Lift the knee on your shooting side and jump off your pivot foot.
Shoot by lifting the ball to the basket with a hook motion as you extend your shooting arm in an ear-to-ear direction (recommended key word is “Lift!”). Flex your wrist and fingers toward the target and release the ball off your index finger, keeping your non-shooting hand on the ball until the release. Follow through completely. Land in balance, ready to rebound any missed shot with two hands and score using a power move. A missed hook shot should be thought of as a pass to yourself. A defender attempting to block your hook shot will not be in position to box out and prevent you from getting the rebound.
Hook Shot Errors and Corrections
Error: As you shoot the hook shot, you lose protection and control of the ball.
Correction: You are taking your non-shooting hand off the ball too soon. Keep your non-shooting hand on the ball until you release it.
Error: Your hook shot is short.
Correction: Short is due to not using your legs, a slow rhythm, or not following through. Use feel to determine the error. Use a down and up motion of your legs for power. Say key words “Lock, legs, lift!” in an even rhythm from the start of your shot to release of the ball. Follow through by extending your arm completely on every shot.
Error: Your hook shot is long.
Correction: Put a higher arc on your hook shot by lifting your arm higher.
Error: Your right-handed hook shot hits the right side of the rim, and your left-handed hook shot hits the left side of the rim.
Correction: You are bringing your arm in front of your head on the follow-through. Start by holding the ball in hook shot position, your shooting elbow aligned with your hip, allowing you to extend your arm with an ear-to-ear motion straight to the basket.
Error: Your right-handed hook shot hits the left side of the rim, and your left-handed hook shot hits the right side of the rim.
Correction: You are bringing your arm behind your head on the follow-through. Start by holding the ball in hook shot position, your shooting elbow aligned with your hip, allowing you to extend your arm with an ear-to-ear motion straight to the basket.
Error: The hook shot hits the rim and rather than pulling in, the ball circles out or skims from front to back and out.
Correction: You probably started your hook shot with your hands on the sides of the ball or rotated them to the side as you shot, or release the ball off your ring finger instead of your index finger, causing side rotation on the ball. Both mistakes produce sidespin instead of backspin. Start in hook shot position, your shooting elbow aligned with your hip. Place your shooting hand under the ball and your balance hand slightly behind and on top of the ball. Release the ball off your index finger to get backspin, and the ball will pull in if it hits the rim.
Wissel, Hal. (2011). Basketball: Steps to Success. Third Edition. Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL.
Wissel, Hal. (2010). Basketball Shooting: Post Moves and Drills. DVD. Basketball World. Suffield, CT.
Wissel, Hal. (2005). Basketball Shooting: Off the Pass, Off the Dribble and In the Post. DVD. Basketball World. Suffield, CT.
Available at: http://www.basketballworld.com Dr. Hal Wissel conducts SHOOT IT BETTER Mini Camps worldwide and year round for players ranging from youth level to NBA and WNBA.
Visit: http://www.basketballworld.com or call BASKETBALL WORLD at 888-812-5452 or 860-668-7162.
Hal Wissel has five basketball shooting DVD’s that will take players and coaches to the next level.