If you were to ask 10 kids what basketball player they most want to be like, at least 9 of them would put Stephen Curry at the top of their list.
It’s no secret that outside shooting is a highly-desired skill in modern basketball.
Walk into any gym and you’ll see young players throwing up long-distance 3-pointers way before they’ve developed the strength to do so effectively and consistently.
It’s a fun skill to practice, but learning how to shoot properly is no easy task.
To teach correct form to young kids, I often recommend the BEEF shooting method.
It’s simple to learn, easy to remember, and effective to practice the basics.
In this blog post I’ll explain what that is and how to teach it.
The BEEF Shooting Method
“BEEF” is an acronym for the four major components of correct shooting.
It stands for Balance, Eyes, Elbow, and Follow-through.
Let’s go over each one to see how they should be taught to players.
B = Balance
Let’s start with the foundation… a player’s shooting stance.
The BEEF system does not have a rigid blueprint for stance. Instead, it has a set of principles to keep in mind and consistency is probably the most important one.
The feet should be approximately shoulder-width apart.
The feet should also be slightly turned, with the lead foot a little in front.
A right-handed shooter should turn their feet slightly to the left (11 o’clock) while a left-handed shooter should turn their feet slightly to the right (1 o’clock).
The knees should be slightly bent for stability and to generate power.
E = Eyes
As the name suggests, this part is all about getting players to focus their eyes.
In regards to what the eyes should be focused on, there isn’t one correct answer.
Here are a few options recommended by coaches and players in a blog post:
- The nearest part of the rim
- The center of the rim
- The “diamond tip”
- Nothing specific
The main thing for each player is to pick one of the above options and be consistent.
E = Elbow
There are two main components of every shot, (1) power and (2) accuracy.
Balance generates power and elbow position is responsible for accuracy.
The key is the alignment.
Players need the shooting eye, the shooting hand + elbow, and the rim all on the same line.
This will ensure maximum accuracy and minimize misses to the side.
As the ball moves up on a shot attempt, the shooting hand and elbow come under the ball and align with the hoop (the elbow shouldn’t flare out to the side).
Once the set point is reached, the wrist should be cocked and form an approximately 90-degree angle with the forearm.
F = Follow Through
Now, the shot and the release…
As a player pushes up through the shot, they must ensure the wrist snaps and the ball is released at the same time that their elbow reaches full extension.
If done correctly, the ball will roll off their index + middle fingers and produce perfect backspin.
Keep the wrist softly flexed after the ball leaves your hand and keep your arm extended.
Another thing to note…
Don’t push the ball with your off-hand / guide hand. For a right-handed shooter, the left hand’s only purpose is to keep the ball stable until the release motion starts.
Taking the Next Step...
BEEF is an effective shooting method for young players because it doesn’t overwhelm them with details before they’ve mastered the basics.
But it’s not something I recommend for advanced players.
The BEEF acronym doesn’t cover many of the small nuances that separate elite shooters.
If you would like something more advanced, I recommend checking out the 10-step shooting method I put together on this blog post.