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How to Make a Half-Court Shot

So you’ve won the chance to sink a half-court basket for a prize. Congratulations! Now here’s what you’ve got to do to win.


  • Step 1: Warm up Warm up with some deep knee bends and arm stretches. Don’t want to pull something!
  • Step 2: Back up and bounce Take five or six steps back from the shooting line and start bouncing the ball. Focus on the backboard and tune out background noise.
  • Step 3: Steady the ball Place one hand under the ball to steady it, and one hand behind the ball so you can push it toward the basket.
  • TIP: Practice from the same distance you’ll be facing in the contest. NBA half-court lines are 47 feet from the basket, while college or high school courts may be 5 feet shorter.
  • Step 4: Approach Take a slow running start toward the line. You’ll need to shoot before crossing it, or your shot won’t be valid.
  • Step 5: Bend your knees Just before shooting, bend your knees slightly—it will give you more power. Bring the ball to chest level. Inhale.
  • TIP: Unless you’re a superhero, don’t try shooting from above your head. Even most NBA players can’t do that from this distance.
  • Step 6: Push forward Push forward with your legs as you exhale. Shove the ball toward the basket with your fingers, not your palm. Aim for the backboard behind the rim so the ball banks in.
  • Step 7: Follow through Keep your arms thrust forward and your eyes on the basket as you release the ball.
  • Step 8: Be proud Whether you sink the basket or not, be proud of yourself for trying. Keep practicing—you just never know!
  • FACT: The sponsors of half-court contests usually get special risk management insurance just in case you beat the approximately 25 to 1 odds of making the shot.

You Will Need

  • A basketball
  • A basketball court
  • A helper

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