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Mastering the Underhand Shot: Tips and Techniques for Basketball Success

Mastering the Underhand Shot: Tips and Techniques to Improve Your Shot Accuracy

Basketball is undoubtedly one of the most challenging sports that requires a lot of skill, hard work, and dedication. One of the most critical aspects of basketball is shooting.

Over the years, various methods have been used in shooting, including the underhand shot, also known as the granny shot. Despite being highly effective, its popularity has decreased considerably.

However, this article delves into the history, players, and most importantly, techniques used in underhand shooting.

Origin and Players of Underhand Shooting

The underhand shot has been around since basketball’s inception in the early 1900s. It was a prevalent form of shooting, with some of the greatest basketball players in history using it.

One of the most famous players who mastered the underhand shot is Rick Barry, one of the NBA’s greatest scorers. He was a consistent and efficient shooter, and his lifetime free throw percentage was an impressive 89.29%.

Another notable player who used the underhand shot is Wilt Chamberlain, who had a shooting percentage of 50% in the 1978-79 season. In recent years, the underhand shot has been brought back into the limelight by players such as Chinanu Onuaku and Canyon Barry, the son of Rick Barry.

Canyon has been vocal about the effectiveness of the underhand shot, and he currently holds the NCAA career free-throw percentage record. These players’ success is proof that the underhand shot can be useful when used correctly.

Benefits of Underhand Shooting

The underhand shot is not only effective but also provides several benefits. One of its most significant advantages is that it is an extremely efficient shot.

Research has shown that the underhand shot’s trajectory is very efficient, with the ball reaching the hoop’s center at a higher point. This increased trajectory also means that the ball takes less time to reach the basket, making it harder for defenders to block.

This is further supported by physics, which says that the ball’s range of motion is more rectangular, making it easier to control and aim accurately.

Historical Significance of Underhand Shooting

Despite being a highly effective shot, the underhand shot’s popularity has significantly decreased over the years. This is mainly due to the “granny shot” nickname associated with it, implying that it is a form of shooting suited for elderly women.

This stigma has led to players avoiding it in fear of being ridiculed for using it. However, players like Chinanu Onuaku and Canyon Barry’s recent success may be signs of the underhand shot’s resurgence.

Underhand Shooting Technique

While mastering any new skill can be intimidating, breaking it down into small, manageable steps can make it a lot easier. The first step to perfecting the underhand shot is getting the correct form.

The player should stand shoulder-width apart, with their feet pointing towards the basket. Next, the player should hold the ball with their non-dominant hand and place it about shoulder height.

When shooting, the player should start by bending their knees slightly and bringing the ball to their armpit level. During the motion, they should extend their dominant arm fully in an upwards motion, releasing the ball with an underhand motion as it comes forward.

A vital factor in perfecting this form is smooth transitions. Any jerky or sudden movements may affect the shot’s accuracy.

Science Behind Underhand Shot

It is essential to understand the science behind the underhand shot to achieve accuracy consistently. The force distribution is balanced with the underhand shot, leading to a higher release point, angle, and trajectory.

Similarly, the shooter’s center of gravity is more aligned with the basket, leading to greater balance and accuracy. Understanding these technical details is crucial to mastering the underhand shot’s technique and achieving optimal results.

Pros and Cons of Underhand Shooting

Like all shooting forms, the underhand shot has its pros and cons. One of its most significant advantages is improved accuracy.

The underhand shot has a higher release point, making it more difficult for defenders to block. However, speed can be a disadvantage of the underhand shot.

Although it is accurate, it may not be the fastest shot when compared to other shooting methods such as the jump shot. There is also a relatively high injury risk, as players may tear their rotator cuff or shoulder muscles after extensive use.


Success in basketball requires hard work, determination, and a willingness to learn. The underhand shot may not be the most popular method of shooting, but it offers several benefits when executed correctly.

Understanding the technique behind the underhand shot, the science behind it, and its pros and cons can help players integrate it into their game to improve their accuracy and control. With the right approach, and a little bit of practice, players at all levels can effectively use the underhand shot to improve their game.

Impact of Underhand Shooting in Basketball: Revolutionizing a Game

The underhand shot, also known as the “granny shot,” has been a prevalent shooting technique in basketball since the sport’s inception in the early 1900s. Although its popularity has declined over the years, the underhand shot remains an efficient and highly effective technique.

This article will delve into the impact of the underhand shot on basketball strategy, the professional debate surrounding the technique, and its use in modern basketball.

Influence on Basketball Strategy

The underhand shot has had a significant impact on basketball strategy over the years. The shot’s unique trajectory and increased range of motion have led to the evolution of the game.

The underhand shot’s success rate has caused teams to focus more on free throws in close games, leading to a shift in emphasis towards shooting accuracy over offensive power. The underhand shot has also opened doors to new techniques and game strategies.

Coaches are now paying more attention to the underhand shot and incorporating it into their team’s training. This new inclusion leads to a more well-rounded team, both in terms of shooting success and gameplay tactics.

Professional Debate on Underhand Shooting

The underhand shot has been a topic of debate for many years in the basketball community. Some believe that using the underhand shot is a beneficial technique, while others believe that it is detrimental to a player’s career.

Those in favor of the underhand shot argue that the shot’s increased accuracy is evidence of its effectiveness. Rick Barry, one of the greatest basketball players in history, is on record stating that the underhand shot can improve a player’s shooting percentage by at least 5%.

Additionally, NBA veteran Kevin Martin was known for his dependability and accuracy during free throws, credits his success to his use of the underhand shot. Others argue that the underhand shot is seen as aesthetically unpleasing, and therefore not widely used.

The “granny shot” stereotype has led to a lack of players using the shot, as they may face ridicule from the fans or their peers. It is essential to remember that basketball is about winning, and if using the underhand shot can help achieve that goal, it should be seen as a positive.

Underhand Shooting in Modern Basketball

Despite a decline in its popularity, the underhand shot has recently been gaining traction in modern basketball. This is particularly true in free throws, where it has been a reliable and efficient technique for years.

Many WNBA and NBA players, both male and female, such as Diana Taurasi, Kevin Martin, and even Shaquille O’Neal, have used the underhand shot in-game situations. The WNBA has been instrumental in popularizing the underhand shot, with several players finding significant success with the technique.

In particular, Dallas Wings guard Katie Lou Samuelson has garnered attention for her use of the underhand shot, encouraging a new generation of players to use the technique. In the NBA, there has been a recent rise in the number of underhand shot attempts during free throws.

Despite the shot being unpopular, players are beginning to realize the technique’s effectiveness and its potential to improve their performance. The league may be in the early stages of a paradigm shift in its approach to shooting, and the underhand shot could play a significant role in this evolution.


The underhand shot has been a part of basketball since its inception and has had a significant impact on the game’s evolution. Although the shot has decreased in popularity, it has recently been gaining traction, particularly in free throws.

While the debate surrounding the underhand shot continues, its effectiveness in improving shooting accuracy cannot be overstated. As the game continues to evolve, the underhand shot may be poised to become a more significant player in basketball strategy and help players achieve more shooting success in the future.

In conclusion, the underhand shot has had a significant impact on basketball strategy over the years, and its effectiveness in improving shooting accuracy cannot be overstated. Although the technique has faced criticism for its perceived unattractiveness, many players have found success with the underhand shot in both the NBA and WNBA.

As basketball continues to evolve, it may become more common to see the underhand shot used as a regular part of gameplay, helping teams to achieve more shooting success. FAQs:

Q: What is the underhand shot?

A: The underhand shot, also known as the “granny shot,” is a technique used in basketball in which the ball is shot underhanded rather than overhanded. Q: Why is the underhand shot effective?

A: The underhand shot has increased accuracy due to its unique trajectory, improved range of motion, and higher release point. Q: Why is the underhand shot unpopular?

A: Despite its effectiveness, the underhand shot has faced criticism for its perceived unattractiveness and association with older women. Q: Who has had success with the underhand shot?

A: Many NBA and WNBA players, such as Diana Taurasi and Kevin Martin, have used the underhand shot in-game situations. Q: Is the underhand shot considered a beneficial technique?

A: Yes, supporters of the underhand shot argue that it can improve a player’s shooting percentage by at least 5%.

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