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Shoot Free Throws Like The Pros

  • Date:
    Jun 14, 2011

Free-throw shooting is like memorization: if you do it enough, you can perform like a machine. The key is to shoot free throws for 20-minutes straight during this drill. Count your makes and misses (i.e. 1-for-1, 1-for-2, 2-for-3, etc), in order to chart your improvement over a period of time.

Shooting Free Throws Properly

Although a large part of free-throw shooting is based on personal tendencies, a few procedures should be universally followed in order to achieve maximum success.

1. Line the foot that corresponds with your shooting hand--if you're right handed, your left foot--up with the nail that is nailed into the center of every free throw line in every gym. (If you are shooting outside, try to guess where the center of the foul line is.) This guarantees you a level of alignment with the rim, helpful to your overall success. Though there are exceptions to the rule, most great free-throw shooters follow this line of thinking (even if they won't admit it).

2. Fix your eyes on the front of the rim. Do not use the back of the rim, or, even worse, the white square on the backboard as your point of reference. Doing so means that you are looking towards a place on the basket where, if you hit them, you will most probably miss. Whereas, if you aim towards the front of the rim, your mind automatically tells you to shoot the ball at this point with a trajectory conducive to a friendly bounce. And even if you hit the front of the rim, if you have the rotation that you should as a shooter, the ball will roll into the basket.

Keys to Effectiveness

Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. If you practice them enough, you will become a good free-throw shooter. Period. I believe one should question Shaquille O' Neal when he says that he practices them all the time. If he did, his form would improve, and, by extension, his shooting percentage would not be so low.

NBA and WNBA Players to Emulate

Though he is retired now, Reggie Miller was one of the best free-throw shooters in the NBA. Try to catch some old footage of him shooting free throws on the Internet. His concentration and mechanics at the line were flawless. Right now, Elena Delle Donne is one of the best free-throw shooters in the world. Try to watch her in a game and see what her routine is like ahead of each shot.

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  • Author:
    Tony Fryer
  • Date:
    May 24, 2021

A solid set of footwork techniques helps ensure proper development and, eventually, is a building block for mastering other skills.

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