What Is A Swish In Basketball? (3 Effective Tips)

When you watch or play basketball, you may have been used to hearing the “swish” sound now.

But what does it mean?

The term swish in basketball means that a shot only hit the net thus producing the swish sound. It’s the perfect shot you can make because it means that it hit the center of the ring.

So, how can you make swish shots consistently? Who are the best NBA shooters of all time? Let’s find out.

What Is a Swish in Basketball?

Whether you’re a casual fan or a die-hard one, you may have heard the term “swish” in basketball.

The literal meaning of swish is to move with a hissing sound – the sound that snakes make.

But in basketball, it’s different.  

The meaning of swish in basketball is to shoot the ball in the basket without touching the backboard and the rim.

The term was derived from what you hear when you shoot a flawless shot that only touches the net. Some may even call it “swoosh” or “swosh”.

If you’re curious where the term was first used, according to NBC Sports, it’s from a 1913 story called “The Coward” by Trebor Yarruns.

It was under the context where the main character of the story sinks a college basketball game winner.

Is the Swish a great thing in basketball?

Why is swish even a term in basketball? If you’re wondering just that, you’ve come to the right place.

The simple answer is that swish is the result of a PERFECT shot.

That’s because the diameter of an NBA basketball is roughly around 9.47 inches. And the diameter of an NBA approved basket is 18 inches. So in theory, a player should be able to sink their shots easily if the ring is twice the size of the ball.

But in reality, it’s never that easy. If it was that easy, we’d all be Steph Curry already!

So, when you swish a perfect shot, that means that it didn’t touch the rim or backboard. You’ll only hear the net which produces the sound “swish” or “swoosh” or any other iteration of the term.

If you can swish the majority of your shots, it means that you’re technically an alien.

But don’t forget that whether you swish your shot or not, it’s still worth the same points in the end.

Tips to Swish Every Shot You Make

Even though a swish shot is basically the same points, it just hits different.

A swish shot pressures opponents better than if you bounced if off the backboard or got a lucky bounce on the rim.

A swish shot just means that you’re that dangerous.

So, if you want to get that shot every time, follow these tips:

1. Get your arc up

To get a perfect shot that will get you that swish sound, you’ll need to get your arc up.

Instead of shooting directly, get the ball as high as you naturally can. But don’t make it too high or else you’ll lose control.

It just needs to be high enough that it will be close to the top as it goes down.

They say that the perfect arc angle for ball entry in the rim is between 43 and 47 degrees.

2. Follow through

The follow through is just as important as the arc to shoot perfectly in basketball.

The follow through is the last part of your shot that enables the ball to have a back spin rotation as it enters the basket.

USA Basketball says that you imagine reaching up and putting your hand in a cookie jar. That’s the hand motion that you’ll do when you follow through.

If you’ve perfected this, you should be able to have a smoother touch which allows the ball to enter the center of the ring for that swish.

3. Warm up with close shots first

Unless your Stephen Curry, you’d want to practice shooting as close as possible when warming up.

Heck, even Curry warms up shooting mid-ranges and switches to the three-point line and back.

The goal is to have you accustomed to the right form which includes the arc and the follow through.

Since shooting up close to the basket is easy, you’ll have momentum as you gradually shoot farther from the basket.

So, when you’re warming up, get up to 15 close up shots to the basket first and 15 in the mid-range as well. After that, you can go ahead and shoot threes and even half-court shots if you want.

Best Swish Shooters in the NBA

Almost any NBA player today can sink swish shots regularly. That’s just how the game and the players have evolved tremendously.

But even among these monster players, there are even bigger monsters that can shoot lights out anytime!

So, without further ado, let’s look at NBA’s best shooters in history.

1. Stephen Curry

At this point, it’s not surprising anymore that Stephen Curry’s at the top of this list.

In fact, he’s at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to the best shooters in history. He’s just that good!

After all, he has 4 rings, 2 MVPS and tons of other accolades that solidify his position for years to come.

Did we also mentioned he just recently passed Ray Allen to be the leading 3-pointer in NBA history with 3,000+ shots made?

But what makes him the top in this list is his ability to swish his shots effortlessly. He’s so good that fans would be surprised when he doesn’t swish a shot.

2. Klay Thompson

Another hall of fame shooter, the other part of the Splash Bros – Klay Thompson. He’s going down as one of the best shooters in history and it’s ridiculous that he’s even teammates with Curry.

What makes the Splash Bros so deadly is that they can hit a shot from anywhere on the court. But not just hit it, they’ll swish it every time as well.

But what makes Thompson’s shot so beautiful is his perfect shooting form that coaches love. It’s literally poetry in motion.

3. Ray Allen

Before the arrival of the Splash Bros, Ray Allen was tearing it up the court each game.

He’s the second all-time leading three-point scorer and a two-time champion. That alone should speak to his greatness.

But what I love about Ray Allen is his quick and consistent release. This allows him to be consistent with his shots which results to a lot of swish sounds.

But probably the most resounding swish he’s ever made in his career was against the Spurs in game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. Without that clutch shot, the Heat would’ve never won that year.

Final Thoughts

A swish is not just a sound in basketball. It’s the representation of the perfect shot. The best shooters make this sound consistently.

But even if you can’t make a swish now, what’s important for now is that you CAN make a shot. After all, you’ll score the same points whether you swish a shot or not.

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