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Basketball Shooting - The Sky Hook

What is "the sky hook" in basketball shooting?

Kareem Abdul Jabbar almost ruled the 80s with this basketball shooting technique, the sky hook basketball shot.  Simliar to the baby hook, the sky hook uses the shoulder to screen the defender from the ball and create shooting room for the basketball shooting player.  The biggest difference is that it utilizes the upper arm power, a leap slightly towards the defender, and the basketball shot has a higher arc.

What does it take to do a good sky hook in basketball shooting?

Believe it or not.  Not only can this basketball shooting technique be a weapon for the players on the post, but it can also be a weapon around the perimeter, particularly the area near the sideline.  This is made possible because of the arm extending backward, making it possible for the basketball shooting player to propel the ball even farther than the wrist allows.  It goes without saying that in order to execute a good sky-hook, You need powerful upper arm and shoulder to maximize the extra range.   Although the power for this basketball shooting move mostly comes from your arms, a powerful wrist allows you to better control your basketball shooting with a great follow-through.  Broad, muscular shoulders are also nice for sky-hooks because your shoulder width and wingspan determines how far you can hold the ball away from your defender.  Unlike baby-hooks, rock-solid body balance is paramount to sky-hooks because you are leaping towards your defender to initiate a little contact so that the defender cannot contest your shot.

When do I use a sky hook

Honestly, you should use the sky-hook in-game if and only if you have 70% accuracy with it around the perimeter during practice.  The upper arm muscles is not accustomed to repetitive, rhythmic movements and it therefore creates all sorts of inaccuracies.

Whenever you have the height advantage or strength advantage or arm length advantage in the paint or close to the basketball hoop, it also is a great idea to use your shoulder to prevent a block shot and go for the sky hook.

When you do not have a good gripping power or your hands are just not big enough.  Sky hoop should be a blessing to you because it allows you to hold the ball in place by cradling the basketball with your hand and part of your forearm before release, thereby holding it in place  (i.e. you wrap your hand around the basketball.)

One final note.  You must be extra cautious of a block from behind when using this basketball shooting alternative.  Sky-hooks are even more vulnerable to block-from-behinds by help defense than baby hooks because you are putting the ball at a lower level for more power.

Pros-n-cons about doing a sky hook



  • hard to block because your shoulder is between the defender and the ball
  • compete for space horizontally by turning your body sideways
  • A one-handed basketball shooting technique giving the basketball shooter extra vertical reach
  • Extends the range of the hook shot with upper arm power
  • Allows cradling to ensure a tight grip
  • Arm movement making it a tough shot that's difficult to control
  • Very vulnerable to blocks from behind
  • It can only be safely used in certain areas such as the sideline region
  • Sacrificed the court vision when attempting the baby hook
  • Almost impossible to do a sky-hook from three point land

General step-by-step guide to doing a sky hook

The sky-hook is a beautiful shot.  However, other types of basketball shooting techniques have arisen and took over its place as the main basketball shooting method in the NBA.  This is because the physical attributes and skills of basketball players are becoming better and better.  They begin to play better man-to-man basketball defense with super-efficient rotation, giving rise to effective help defense.  Because of the rise of help defense and the emergence of shot blockers, the sky-hook becomes a relic that belongs to the past.


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