How to Get Backspin on a Basketball

Group of teenagers play basketball on playground

The difference between getting a friendly bounce on the rim and the ball clanking off for a miss could often be the amount of backspin you put on the basketball when you shoot it. Backspin on the ball helps the ball bounce forward into the net after coming in contact with the rim or backboard.

Spread the fingers on your shooting hand wide so that you can support the ball with one hand, using your weak hand only as a guide. Many shooters like to place the tip of their middle finger on one of the horizontal seams to help ensure they get backspin on a shot. It is easier to do this on a free throw, but players who practice enough also can do it when the clock is running.

Lift the basketball above your head, forming 90-degree angles at your elbow, your armpit and your wrist. These angles allow you to fully extend your arm as you execute and complete the shot.

Extend your arms and snap your wrist downward as you release the ball to create backspin. As you bring your fingers down, your fingertips push the ball out of your hands, pulling the seams of the ball downward, creating backspin. The middle finger should be the last one to come off the ball during the shot, as this has the most impact on direction and backspin.


Practice shooting straight into the air to watch how the ball spins off your hand.