Arguably the greatest European player of all-time, Dirk Nowitzki has revolutionized the game of basketball. Never before has a 7-footer been such an efficient shooter. In this article, I’ll explain how to shoot like Dirk Nowitzki and break down his signature fadeaway jump shot.
How To Shoot Like Dirk Nowitzki
Did you know that Dirk takes hundreds, if not thousands of shots every day, even on game days? Dirk has demonstrated that practice makes perfect, even at the professional level. Before learning how to shoot like Dirk Nowitzki, take a look at his form and get out your notebook.
Square Up Your Feet Towards The Basket
Squaring up your feet towards the basket is an important skill to learn for any shooter. When you square up your feet, you’re able to balance yourself before getting into your natural shooting motion.
But squaring up to the basket is more than just setting up for the shot. When Dirk Nowitzki shoots, look at where he lands — right about in the same spot! Squaring up to the basket is about as much where you finish your shot as it is where you start your shot.
High Release On The Shot
Dirk Nowitzki is perhaps the greatest shooting big man of all-time. He fully takes advantage of his size advantage and releases at a point which is almost unblockable. His high release point allows him to shoot over any oncoming defenders who are making a last-ditch effort to close out on the shot.
Dirk Nowitzki’s high release also is a counter to his relatively poor vertical jump. Since Dirk can’t jump very high, it’s imperative that he has a high release on his jump shot.
Hold Your Follow Through
At the end of Dirk Nowitzki’s jump shot, notice how longs he holds his follow through. He holds his follow through until the ball hits the bottom of the net. If you want to shoot like Dirk Nowitzki, make sure to hold your follow through.
The Signature Fadeaway
Dirk Nowitzki is famous for his fadeaway jump shot. Dirk’s combination of size and a high release point make his signature fadeaway basically unblockable. Take a look at his form:
This unorthodox fadeaway may look a bit clunky, but it’s actually a very technically sound shot. First, let’s take a look at Dirk Nowitzki’s left foot, which he’s using as his plant foot. It’s angled sideways to provide a wider base for him to balance prior to releasing his shot.
Next, let’s focus on his release. Again, he maintains a high release point so he can shoot over the defender (in this gif, the defender is Josh Smith, who stands 6’9″ tall). Even though he’s fading away, Dirk keeps his elbow tucked in, following through on his shot and releasing with his elbow up beside his head — textbook shooting form.
Take one last look at Dirk’s fadeaway. Look at his body just before he releases the basketball — everything lines up vertically, all the way from his feet up to the ball. His ability to remain so balanced while fading away is what makes his signature fadeaway jump shot so successful.
Practice Makes Perfect
Dirk Nowitzki’s success in the NBA is the result of endless hours of practice with his shooting coach Holger Geschwindner. Now that you know exactly how to shoot like Dirk Nowitzki, grab a basketball and start working on your form. But before you do, make sure to thumbs up this article and share it on social media with all the basketball fans you know!