What is a Swish in Basketball?

What is a Swish in Basketball

A swish in basketball occurs when the ball goes directly through the hoop without touching the backboard or rim. The ball traveling through the hoop sounds like a “swish,” hence the phrase. Basketball players from high school to the NBA can admire that sound because it represents a perfect basketball shot.


So, when did the swish become part of basketball lingo? What is an example of a swish shot during a game? Here is the complete breakdown of what a swish shot is in basketball.


A Brief History of the Hoop

A Brief History of the Hoop


James Naismith was the creator of basketball in 1891 out in Springfield, Massachusetts. During that time, basketball hoops were peach baskets that did not have holes, which meant a ladder was necessary to receive the ball.


As the years went by, the peach basket became an actual hoop with metal nets, but they were closed at the end, so no swish sound was present. In 1912, the basketball hoop changed to be an open net at the bottom to allow the basketball to fall through on a successful shot.


As time went by with the hoop change, basketball began gaining more fans and subscribers, and the term “swish” became more mainstream. While it is difficult to say who got the first official swish shot, the word was now part of the basketball language and quickly became the lingo that fans and announcers would describe a perfect shot due to the sound it would make going through a hoop.


“The Coward” Book Recognition of the Swish Phrase

Trebor Yarrun wrote a book in 1913 called “The Coward” that had a protagonist playing college basketball. In the book, Dempsey Darden, the protagonist, described taking a half eclipse mid-air shot that went straight through the basket. That shot going straight through the basket was described as a “swish” since that was the sound it made as it went through the hoop.


Many fans like to point to that book as the reason that phrase began growing in popularity in basketball during the early 1900s.


Why is it Called a Swish in Basketball?

Why is it Called a Swish in Basketball

It is a swish when the basketball ball goes through the hoop without hitting the rim or backboard. The phrase “swish” is an onomatopoeia, representing the sound that the net (or chain) makes as the ball goes through it without hitting anything else. When playing basketball with a chain net, the “swish sound” is more pronounced than what you hear with a standard net. Chain nets are more common in outside basketball courts since they are more durable than rope nets.


What Does “Nothing But Net” Mean in Basketball?

what is nothing but net mean in basketball

The phrase “Nothing But Net” means a swish shot in basketball. Since the basketball doesn’t hit the backboard or rim, the ball technically traveled through the hoop with nothing but net. This phrase is also popular to hear during basketball games from announcers and broadcasters.


You will also hear this phrase during soccer games. This soccer phrase is common when the ball travels through the air and hits the back of the net during a score.


What Does Swoosh Mean in Basketball?

A swoosh in a basketball game means the same as a swish in basketball. The swoosh is the sound of the ball going through the net without hitting the rim or backboard. Therefore, you can describe the perfect shot as a swoosh or a swish without any problem.


How Many Points is a Swish Shot in Basketball?

how many points is a swish shot in basketball

A shooter making a swish basket doesn’t receive any additional points for their perfect shot. The basket counts for where that shot took place. For example, if the basketball shooter took the shot from beyond the three-point arc and made it in the basket, that will count as three points even if it is a swish.


What are Examples of Swish Basketball Moments?

what are examples of swish basketball moments

An example of a swish is when a player makes a field goal without having the ball touch the backboard or the rim. A swish can also occur on three-pointers, layups, and even on free throw attempts. The latter, free throw attempts, doesn’t get as much recognition from broadcasters because it is an uncontested shot, but everything else gets praise for the perfect shot.


What Swish Shot Gets the Most Attention from Fans and Broadcasters?

A three-point swish tends to get the most attention since it is over 23 feet away from the hoop in the NBA. NCAA College Basketball’s three-point line sits just over 22 feet from the ring, and in WNBA and International Games, the three-point line is 20.6 feet from the hoop. Basketball shooting from the three-point line in any league is already difficult, and getting it to be a swish is extremely impressive due to the ball angle you need to achieve.


How Do You Get Better at Swish Shots in Basketball?

how do you get better at swish shots in basketball

The best way to increase your chances of being a swisher in basketball is practice. Basketball coaches recommend that you start close to the hoop and work on your arc to get the ball to land through the hoop without hitting the backboard or rim. As you get more comfortable with that distance, start moving further back to work on those arcs.


Conclusion: What is a Swish in Basketball

In summary, a swish in basketball represents a shot that goes into the hoop without touching the rim or backboard. The phrase “swish” is an onomatopoeia since that represents the sound of the ball going through the net or chain without hitting anything else. During basketball games, you might hear fans call it “nothing but net” or “swoosh,” which all mean the same thing.


A swish doesn’t give a basketball team additional points, but it is still an accomplishment by a player making a perfect shot. Seeing a perfect shot during a basketball game is incredible, and seeing one from beyond the three-point arc is even more special. Making a three-point swish means that you gave the basketball the exact height, angle, and push to go directly into the basket without hitting anything else.


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