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Hand strength matters much more than hand size when shooting a basketball.
Martin Poole/Photodisc/Getty Images
Many people think that being tall and having big hands are essential ingredients to being a successful basketball player. Hand strength, however, is a much more important factor in being able to dribble and shoot than hand size. Since most ball-handling and shooting is done by controlling the ball on the fingertips, the overall size of your hand rarely comes into play on the basketball court.
Your Shooting Form
If you're using correct shooting form, your shooting hand will be spread wide underneath the basketball. Only the pads of your hand and your fingertips should be touching the ball to make it easier to release your shot up and toward the basket. The ball should never rest in your palm, as this makes it harder to quickly release your shot. If your larger hands lead to incorrect form, with the ball resting in your palm, it can actually be a disadvantage when it comes to shooting.
Wrist, hand and fingertip strength play a big role in the release of your jump shot. When a shooter jumps, the ball is released toward the basket by snapping or flicking the wrist toward the basket to create backspin. This backspin softens the shot, giving it a better chance to going if it hits the rim. The stronger your wrist snap, the more backspin and air you can get under your shot.
Since your shot has less to do with hand size and more to do with strength and proper form, the follow-through of your shot can often determine its accuracy. One of the biggest causes of inaccurate shooting is a flaw in technique, known as pulling the string. This happens not because of the size of your hand, but by pulling your hand down rather than following through.
Strength Not Size
Control and accuracy of your shot depend solely on the strength of your wrists and fingertips. It may come as a surprise that even "palming" a basketball, or holding it with one hand, also relies more on hand strength than hand size. This makes workouts such as fingertip pushups vitally important to your success as a ball-handler and shooter.
- Martin Poole/Photodisc/Getty Images