The old figure of 8 shooting technique is ineffective in competition because primarily it takes longer to execute and therefore easier to defend.
Marc is right that stability is important to shooting technique but there is much more.
It makes no sense to use the weaker arm muscles to power the shot (although it is possible with lots and lots of training and hard work) rather than using the stronger arm muscles but it is also important to think of the shot in terms of energy.
In essence the shot should be rooted in the feet, powered through legs, directed through the waist and expressed in the fingers. When you get that 4 point connection then the shot flows effortlessly
Developing an effective stance is a key part of building the foundation of an effective shot starting of course with a two footed stance, one foot placed in from of the other with the feet around shoulder width. That stance should be a solid and stable one from which to move on from.
Ensuring effective alignment of the body to the basket and much of early developmental practice can be done 'shooting' without a basket along a straight line focusing on getting the ball to drop onto the line.
Hand position on the ball is also an important factor and the more that the hand is in contact with the ball the more control you have over that ball. The most effective hand position is for fingers to be naturally open and for the thumbs to be facing towards the basket (something that at first feels unnatural)
The execution of the shot involves bringing the ball away from the defender into the area of the neck and closer to the flow of energy generated by the legs. The key is to feel the power generated by the push against the ground flow up through the legs and the waist and then into the arms and the ball moves up close to the face (and naturally further away from the defender) and is then released with an expression of the hands which can best be described as a 'flick' of the wrists (which gives the ball natural back spin).
The breathing needs to be fully aligned with the execution of the shot also and the fingers need to continue to point in the direction of the ball with the palms now facing outwards.
The tricky part is to not use the arms to power the shot but merely to guide the ball using the power generated by the legs and this takes a lot of basic practice breaking the technique into smaller parts. In essence if you shoot without using the power from the legs the ball should drop in front of you because the power has been removed.
The key is to learn how to NOT push the ball with the arms
It is also important to develop a solid and effective static two footed shot before pressing on to then using the same technique to shoot off one foot.
The mental side of shooting can be split into 4 elements;
When these become confused or are poorly understood an effective shot under pressure becomes very difficult
Intention is essentially your 'target' the direction in which the power will be sent.
That target is often (wrongly) thought of as the basket but in truth is a spot above the basket that if the ball reaches at the right angle will cause it to drop through the basket rather than hit it
Focus involves what it is you need to think about or do and again we often hear people talk about the need to 'focus' on the basket which poor advice. In the early stages the focus might be on the execution of the technique or a part of it, or being relaxed, breathing etc but as the shot develops the focus becomes less important and just needs to be placed somewhere such as in the center of the body. Where things go wrong is when the focus drifts into areas it should not, such as the outcome or more importantly what happens if the shot goes in (or doesn't)
Awareness is mostly relevant in terms of competition but also involves an awareness of the body and the mind to enable effective shot correction. The top players will often use their first shot to enable them to make a correction and score with their second. Good awareness also enables a player to notice a better opportunity that suddenly arises as they are about to shoot and use it.
Expectation is a crucial element and is little more than the belief sitting quietly in the mind that the shot will be successful, and if isn't then that it will be next time.
The problem comes when these 4 elements get confused as in when your focus on your Expectation (the outcome), when you are focused on something you only need to be aware of, or when you confuse the object of your intention with that of your focus and anyone who has experienced martial arts will understand the power of your intention when it comes to physical movement and power.
You can often best think of this mental formula using the example of driving home from training. You have a clear intention, your destination, and your focus is on driving mechanics of driving the car (although if you have been driving a long time you can drive without the need for focus so your focus often sits quietly somewhere), you have an awareness of things around you and your speed without needing to focus on them and you Expect to reach home successfully and safely.
Accidents tend to happen when one of more of those elements become confused.
The key to effective shooting is of course practice and repetition but also attention to tiny detail and the difference between scoring and nearly scoring is often in that detail.
It is hugely important for coaches to understand the principles and detail of the methods they are teaching (which of course have to be the most effective ones) so that they can answer any and all questions asked of them as to why a player should do things the way they are suggesting The traditional answer of 'because that is how we do things' is of little help and can actually be translated as "I don't know'.
As they progress player will begin to naturally develop the technique into their own unique style (albeit still within the core principles) as many top players do but the danger comes when other players jump straight into by trying to copy those unique styles without building the foundation needed to effectively execute them first
Developing technical skills can be tough repetitious and challenging work, especially for younger players but as the results achieved in recent years through the talent development programs of the junior national squads, the Korfball School of Excellence program an the more progressive junior programmes have proved such work can prove highly effective.
One of the best examples for me was the performance of the West London Wildcats in a national U13 championships final held in Nottingham in which they scored over 75% of their shots from distance, shots which formed the majority of the significant number of goals scored.
I am hoping to shoot a training DVD when I am back in the UK this year on shooting technique using some of the SOE students or if any are over in the US we might get to do so with a sunny LA background