Bank shot

What is a Bank Shot in Basketball: A Comprehensive Guide

The bank shot involves a player bouncing the ball off the backboard, strategically angling their throw to redirect the ball into the net. This technique takes advantage of the backboard’s surface, making it easier to control the ball’s trajectory and reducing the likelihood of missing the basket.

The bank shot can be executed from various positions on the court, typically in situations where a direct shot is either impractical or impossible.

Definition of a Bank Shot

A bank shot is a type of basketball shot where the ball is aimed at the backboard, intending to bounce it off the board and into the hoop. It’s a versatile shooting technique used by players to increase their chances of scoring, especially in challenging circumstances or to avoid shot blockers.

Here are some key components of a successful bank shot:

  • Angle: The angle at which the ball hits the backboard plays a significant role. A good bank shot requires the ball to strike the board at a 45-degree angle, ensuring it bounces towards the hoop.
  • Force: Applying the right amount of force ensures the ball bounces off the backboard and into the hoop. Too little force may cause the ball to fall short, while too much force may send it ricocheting away from the hoop.
  • Spin: Adding backspin to the basketball can help stabilize and control the ball’s trajectory, as well as cushion the impact on the backboard, allowing for a softer, more accurate bounce towards the hoop.

It’s essential for players to practice their bank shot consistently, as mastering this technique can give them an extra tool in their offensive arsenal, especially when faced with a tight defense or a skilled shot blocker. Additionally, bank shots can be executed from various positions and distances, giving a player versatility and flexibility during gameplay.

Types of Bank Shots

A bank shot in basketball is when a player shoots the ball towards the backboard in such a way that it bounces off and goes into the hoop. There are several types of bank shots, which can be used in various game situations depending on a player’s skill level, position, and strategy.

Some common types of bank shots include:

  • Basic Bank Shot: This is the simplest form of a bank shot, where a player launches the ball towards the backboard at an angle, ensuring it ricochets into the hoop. This type of shot is often used in close-range situations, such as layups or short jumpers.
  • Fadeaway Bank Shot: In this type of bank shot, a player jumps backward while releasing the ball, making it more difficult for the defender to block. This shot requires greater control and skill, as the shooter must adjust the angle and force of their shot accordingly.
  • Running Bank Shot: A running bank shot involves a player dribbling towards the basket, then jumping and shooting the ball off the backboard while still in motion. This shot requires good body control, timing, and accuracy, as the shooter must account for the forward motion when aiming the shot.

In addition to these categories, bank shots can also be executed with either one or both hands, and from various positions on the court. Mastering different types of bank shots can give a player a versatile scoring arsenal and make it more challenging for defenders to predict and block their shots.

Benefits and Drawbacks

A bank shot in basketball comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Understanding these factors can help players make better decisions while playing the game.


  • Increased accuracy: Using the backboard can help players increase their shooting accuracy, as they can better predict the ball’s trajectory.
  • Difficult to block: Bank shots can be more challenging for defenders to block because of the higher shooting angle.
  • Variety of shooting options: The bank shot technique can be effective from various spots on the court, adding versatility to a player’s skill set.


  • Requires practice: Mastering the bank shot involves consistent practice and the development of good shooting mechanics.
  • Less effective from long-range: Bank shots are less efficient from greater distances, as using the backboard from long range can be challenging.
  • Not always applicable: Depending on the situation and angles in a game, a bank shot may not be the most suitable option.

Famous Bank Shot Players

Bank shots in basketball have been popularized by a number of notable players throughout the sport’s history. These players have mastered the art of the bank shot, using it to their advantage and showcasing it in their impressive careers. Here are some of the most famous bank shot players in basketball:

  • Tim Duncan: Known as “The Big Fundamental,” Duncan was a power forward and center for the San Antonio Spurs. He consistently utilized the bank shot, making it a signature move in his game.

  • Sam Jones: A legendary shooting guard for the Boston Celtics, Jones was famous for his clutch bank shots during his career in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • George Gervin: Nicknamed “The Iceman,” Gervin was a prolific scorer and shooting guard for the San Antonio Spurs. His ability to score on bank shots helped him become a 9-time NBA All-Star.
  • Scottie Pippen: As a versatile player and key member of the legendary Chicago Bulls teams of the 1990s, Pippen employed bank shots to complement his all-around game.

These players are just a few examples of those who have made the bank shot an integral part of their offensive repertoire. Each player’s mastery of the shot has not only contributed to their personal success but also to the overall success of their teams.

Tips and Techniques

A bank shot in basketball is a shot that bounces off the backboard before going into the basket. To master this technique, consider the following tips:

  • Angle of attack: Aim for a 45-degree angle when approaching the backboard. This increases the chances of the ball bouncing off at the right trajectory for a successful shot.
  • Positioning: Stand slightly off-center from the basket, allowing for a clear line of sight to the backboard’s optimal contact point (usually the top corner of the square).
  • Soft touch: Generate a gentle, controlled force with your wrists and fingertips while releasing the ball. This ensures that the ball doesn’t bounce too hard off the backboard and increases the likelihood of it going into the basket.

Practice is essential for improving your bank shot skills. Incorporate the following drills into your routine:

  1. Shoot bank shots from various positions on the court, focusing on maintaining the correct angle and soft touch.
  2. Alternate between shooting with and without the backboard to develop a better feel for the different shot arcs and releases.
  3. Practice bank shots within game-like scenarios, using defenders or shot-blocking tools to simulate real-game situations.

Considering the tips and drills mentioned above, your bank shot technique can be refined and optimized to boost your overall basketball game.


In summary, a bank shot in basketball is a strategic move that involves bouncing the ball off the backboard to score. This technique can be advantageous in various situations, such as when a player is closely guarded or when attempting a high-percentage shot.

Some key points to remember about bank shots include:

  • Proper angle and trajectory are essential for a successful bank shot.
  • Players need to practice and develop their bank shot skills to utilize them effectively in games.
  • Bank shots can be executed during layups, jump shots, and free-throws.

By understanding and mastering the bank shot, basketball players can add a valuable skill to their arsenal, providing them with more ways to score and contribute to their team’s success.