FREE THROW SHOOTING
Free Throw Shooting is one of the most basic and important skills in basketball. How many games have you ever watched where it came down to critical free throws deciding the outcome? The simple truth is that if you can’t hit your free throws at a reliable percentage, you become a liability for your team on the court. Where do you think the “Hack-a-Shaq” game plan came from? Putting a shooter on the line who can’t make shots essentially results in an offensive turnover, and forces a coach to bench that player in critical situations.
The good news is that free throw shooting is one of the easiest parts of your game to improve. Here are some tips for realizing your star potential at the charity stripe.
TO DEVELOP CONSISTENT FREE THROW SHOOTING FORM:
1. Set yourself up on the line. The goal is to create a straight line to the basket with your shooting arm.
2. With your feet behind the free throw line, spread your legs shoulder-width apart.
3. Hold the ball in your shooting hand, with your elbow directly in line with the basket. Use your non-shooting hand to support it from the side.
4. Bend your knees and in one fluid motion, shoot the ball with a high-arc to propel the ball towards the basket, using your legs to power the shot.
5. Release the ball with your fingertips and create some backspin to soften the shot, following through on the complete extension of your arm.
6. For your second free throw, make the necessary adjustments. If you shot the ball short, add a bit more to the shot. If you make it, repeat the same thing.
7. Get ready to play some defense after you make your shots!
Practice makes perfect. Shoot hundreds if not thousands of shots to build the all-important muscle memory. There is no reason for any player who puts in the time to shoot less than 80% from the charity stripe.
Set the routine that works best for you and be consistent. The important thing is to do the same thing every time. If you take three dribbles before shooting, take three dribbles. The goal is to repeat the same motion to give you a solid foundation to work from. The more you stray from this base, the more erratic your results will be.
Be confident. They are called “free” throws for a reason. They are supposed to be easy shots to make. Thinking that way will help relax you in what can be high-pressure situations.
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