Free Throw Shooting
“Free Throw Shooting has to be something you want to be good at”
Think about how you really want to feel when you step to the line.
My goal is to guide you through all the physical and mental steps to allow you to walk up to the line believing in yourself and having the confidence to consistently make pressure free throws! The entire system is based on the premise that the more confident you feel, the better you will shoot!
One of the most important things that determines success or failure at the foul line is how you’re feeling right before you shoot. In order to become a great foul shooter, you have to learn to control your thinking. They are only pressure situations when you make them so, and as odd as it may sound, nervousness is something you do to yourself.
“Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’ll be right either way.”
If you want to be a great free-throw shooter in games, find the best, most efficient technique, practice it the same way every day and stick with it, even if you have a bad day. To find the right technique, work with your coach and listen to your body.
After you have worked with your coach and feel confident that your basic technique is the right one, the next step is to learn to “feel” the correct free-throw motion. This is one of the key athletic skills that separates champions from the rest – the ability to duplicate a certain pattern of movements that feel a certain way in your body. This ability is called “muscle sense” or “muscle memory”.
You must learn to trust your body to do its work and not jam it by becoming too concerned or too anxious, or by attempting to force it with too much conscious effort. You must let it work, rather than make it work. It takes hours of practice to get your technique to the point where you don’t have to think about it. “Do it! Do it right! Do it right now!”
Concentration is focusing on one thing instead of on something else. Different focus points produce different results. Knowing and using the right focus points is essential. If you’re not getting the results you want, it’s probably because you’re focusing on the wrong things, not because you lack the ability.
Shooting with your eyes closed
The most effective way to learn a “feel” or to get this “muscles sense” is to practice shooting with your eyes closed “Any skill can be learned better with the eyes closed. You will feel the mistakes in your technique much more with your eyes closed.”
“At first, eyes-closed shooting is hard, but as time goes on, you will realize you’ll get more of a feel for shooting a free-throw.” When your eyes are closed, it is much easier to feel the muscles sensations in your body, and you are much less distracted by the basket. You can totally focus on shooting in a way that feels right, instead of being preoccupied with getting it in. You’ll also notice awkward things about your stroke that you may have never noticed before and have a better understanding on how to fix them.
“If you want things you’ve never had,
You must be willing to do things you’ve never done.”
Tips on Technique
FEET AND KNEES
-Your feet should be shoulder width apart with your lead foot (right foot for right handed
shooters) slightly forward and pointing towards the basket.
-Knees bent and balanced in a sitting position, leaning slightly forward on the balls of your feet.
SHOOTING ARM AND HANDS
– Spread your fingers wide to allow a comfortable grip on the ball. The palm doesn’t touch the
– The shooting arm should form the letter “L” above the lead foot. Form the letter T with your
– Cock your wrist until the skin on the back of the wrist wrinkles
– Hold your follow through until the ball hits the net!
– Should be positioned on side of ball to hold the ball in place on your shooting hand.
– The guide hand does not shoot the ball. The fingers should point straight up after the shot.
– Do not twist, turn or drop your guide hand
– The head remains still, leaning slightly forward and in front of your shoulders.
– Keep your eyes on the target
– Begin your shot with the ball in the shot pocket! The less movement with the ball, the better chance hh of developing a consistent shot.
DEVELOP A PRE-SHOT RITUAL
A good ritual will do three things for you:
1. Block out distractions, such as:
-A close scoring situation
2. Get you into the right physical groove to make the shot, including:
-Stance, grip, elbow position, etc.
-Everything leading up to the actual release of the ball.
3. Make you feel confident and positive about the shot before you actually release the ball.
An Example of a Pre-Shot Ritual
1. Say a positive phrase or think a positive thought.
2. Imagine the ball going in before you shoot.
3. Position your feet exactly the same way each time.
4. Physically rehearse the stroke before you dribble the ball.
5. Bend or bounce your knees. I call this part “setting in” the idea here is to get yourself
6. Dribble the ball a set number of times. Keep it Short and Simple
7. A breathing sequence, including at least one deep exhalation to help you
relax. When you are actually shooting, it is best to hold your breath.
8. Focus on the Rim.
“Win or Lose, attitude will always be the margin of difference.”
Research and common sense agree that goal-setting along with regular feedback dramatically increase the speed at which you improve. To take advantage of this knowledge, you need to make an accurate assessment of where you are now in your free-throw skill, and decide on skill improvement and results goals that are exciting and appropriate for you, along with target dates for reaching them. Then, develop a simple practice routine that corresponds with your goals, and include charting of your progress on a regular basis.
Remember, no goal set for you by others will ever be sought with the same intensity, effort, and time commitment as one you set for yourself.
Develop a list of powerful reasons! Take out a piece of paper and write down every reason you can think of to improve your foul shooting.
Make free-throws a priority! Get excited about doing well. Wanting to be good from the line.
To get the most out of your practice drills, alternate between two types of drills. One session, use drills to improve your technique in some specific way, doing very little counting of results. The next session, spend your time on pressure drills to improve your concentration and emotional control.
Practicing twice a day for 15 minutes will give you better results than practicing once a day for 30 minutes. As you get tired or bored, you miss a few, get a little frustrated, miss a few more, and start to lose confidence.
“It is Important To Learn To Notice Instead of Making Judgments”
Practice drills for technique
1.) Wall or Backboard Shooting
Stand 6’ from a wall(or backboard) and practice your shooting form. Focus on your Skills
(balance, follow through, elbow straight, guide hand, etc.)
-use 1 hand to work on your follow through
– Shoot with your eyes closed to get a feel for your stroke
2.) FIVE IN A ROW
Start in front of the basket and shoot the ball from 10 feet. You must make five shots in a row
before moving back one step toward the foul line. Continue to shoot until you reach the foul line.
-If you are having problems with your follow through, try this drill shooting with 1 hand.
3.) 10-12-14 Drill
Shoot 2 shots each from 10’, 12’, and 14’. Then shoot 5 free throws and count your makes.
4.) Blind Shooting
Shoot 5 free throws with your eyes open, 10 with eyes closed, and 5 with eyes open. Count your
total. Do this each day and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll improve with your eyes closed.
Drills For Learning To Handle Pressure
Tip: Always do your complete ritual, no matter how much you want to hurry. If you’re near a new
personal record. you may find it helpful to remind yourself to slow down.
2. Group Consecutive String (groups of 2-4 players)
3. Climb the Ladder (2-4 players)
The first player makes 1, the next has to make 2 in a row, the next has to make 3 in a
row, etc. If some one misses, the group starts back at 1.
4. Shooting for Percentage
Start out with the goal of “How many out of 5?”. Then move to 10,25, 50, and eventually 100.
5. Game Simulation – Practicing with distractions
The 10 most powerful two letter words in the dictionary.
“IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME”