To Palm Or Not To Palm
Shooting a basketball is not that complicated. We all try to make it hard, but at the end of the day, in the words of Uncle Drew, “Basketball is about getting BUCKETS”. Its about finding a way to get a small little ball through a big orange ring. Of course this statement is easier said than done. Performing the shooting motion is the easy part, getting the ball to get in the hole is another.
There has been a rumor going around the basketball world for decades now about how palm shooting will screw up your shot. Even the above picture has Stephen Curry teaching people how to shoot with their fingertips, not their palms. In a way, Stephen is right, but holding a basketball is really a two part process and the sequence that he is teaching is out of order.
Take a look at this picture and tell me what you see:
Now look at this one:
How about this one:
What do you notice in all of these photos?
They all have the ball resting on their palms! How can that be? These are the best shooters in the world and they’re clearly shooting the ball with their palms.
Let me first point out that I am not accusing these players of misleading others on how to shoot a basketball. What I am saying is that I don’t think these players even know that they’re doing it. Since they have been taught from little on to shoot with their fingertips, they naturally assume that they have always done it.
When I said that Steph’s teaching method is out of order, what I meant is that shooting starts with the palm and finishes with the fingers. When a player shoots a basketball, they gather the ball with their entire hand, not just their fingers. This gives them added stability when bringing the ball up to their set point.
Here is a great example:
As the ball comes up to their set point, the ball slowly rolls from their palms onto their fingers creating an almost whip-like effect on the ball. This whip-effect helps create better backspin on the ball giving you more touch around the rim. If you try keeping the ball on only your fingers for the entire shooting motion, you will find that the ball has less backspin and flies more like a knuckleball more than a basketball.
I myself have always shot with my palm quite naturally. It wasn’t until I started researching shooting form that I noticed the majority of shooting coaches were teaching this method. Don’t get me wrong, there are some players who can shoot without their palm, but they are far and few between.
I would encourage you to video tape yourself with your phone or camcorder and see if you are palm shooting or fingertip shooting. Remember, everyone’s shooting form is different, find which one works for you and stick with it.