What Does B.E.E.F. Stand for in Basketball?

Men playing basketball outdoors
Keeping elbows aligned with the ball guides the basketball to the net. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The B.E.E.F. principle in basketball is an acronym that helps novice players practice proper shooting form. The acronym traditionally refers to maintaining balance, focusing eyes on the target, aligning elbows properly and following through with stable arm and hand movements. Some coaches replace certain aspects of the acronym’s meaning with similar principles of their own design, or to fit the age and skill level of the team. The B.E.E.F. principle is commonly practiced during shooting drills because the coach can observe each player’s technique and offer an appropriate critique.

Balance

Balance is an essential aspect of scoring for any type of shot, providing you with a foundation as you extend your legs in preparation for throwing the ball. Players should keep the feet squared and positioned approximately a shoulder-width apart, says former basketball coach Jill Prudden in “Coaching Girls’ Basketball Successfully.” A similarly comfortable distance is acceptable as long as the feet are far enough apart to support the player’s weight and prevent her from losing balance. Bending the knees and positioning the dominant foot slightly ahead of the other also prepares your body for the forward motion. Try to establish balance before you receive the ball so that you are ready to make a shot as quickly as possible.

Eyes on the Target

Basketball players have to maintain focus. Although it is important to be aware of other players on the court, you must redirect your attention to the target to make a successful shot. Professional scouts Jerry Krause and Jerry Meyer and former college coach Don Meyer advise in “Basketball Skills & Drills” that you narrow your focus to a specific area of the basketball goal, such as the backboard or back rim of the net. They recommend dedicating your focus to the target for at least 1 second before shooting.

Elbows Aligned

The position of your arms provides a foundation for the entire shot, affecting the strength of the wrists and hands right before the ball is released. Proper elbow alignment and stable positioning of the hands ensures that your shot will follow the intended path toward the net. Keep your lower arm vertical, forming a 90-degree angle and keeping the elbows positioned directly under the ball. Raise your elbows slightly and avoid angling them too far inward or outward.

Follow Through

A player’s hands guide the shot and influence the trajectory of the basketball. This aspect of the B.E.E.F. shooting principle is known as the “follow through” because the player completes the full range of arm movement necessary to perform the shot. With hands firmly planted on the ball, your wrists should flick forward and propel the ball toward the net. The goal is to launch the ball upward rather than outward, so extend the arms and wrists fully to create the ideal arch. Meyer, Krause and Meyer recommend aiming for an arm angle of approximately 55 to 60 degrees after the release.

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