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Free Throws and How to Approach Perfection

Here is the scenario your, team is down by one with one tenth of a second on the clock.

The whistle blows and a foul is called. Your opponent is over the limit and a one and one opportunity at the line is called. Do you want to be that player taking the shot? Get the glory of sinking the first to tie and the second to win, or would you prefer to let a teammate have the opportunity.

One can make that decision easier if you know how to shot a free throw and you have the confidence it will go in. How do you get that? Practice, practice, practice and confidence, confidence, confidence. Two simple words to say but hard to put into action.First and foremost you need to have a set routine. Have the same routine free throw after free throw after free throw. A routine sets you into a rhythm so that each time you step up to the line, you unconsciously do the same thing. First of all line yourself up to the basket.


Two ways are common. Either line your shooting foot up direct to the center of the rim or have your feet straddle the rim so your head is directly in the center of the rim. Once you are lined up the way you are most comfortable do what is most comfortable; dribble once, dribble five times, spin the ball in the air, whatever makes you comfortable and calms whatever nerves you may have.

The important thing is that you do the same thing each and every time you get to the line. Next, focus on the rim. Most will tell you to focus just above the center of the rim and imagine the ball going over that part of the rim for a swish. You have ten full seconds so all this can be done at your speed. Once you have concentrated and are ready to shot keep your eyes on the basket, they should never leave the spot they are concentrated on.



As you start your shot, a bending of the knees is needed and then rising up and at the same time raising your arms to their apex and flicking the wrists to let the shot go and holding that pose until the ball swishes through the twine. A good arch on the shot is recommended. The bigger the arch, the bigger the opening of the basket becomes. If your shot is too “level” or straight then the opening of the basket is minimal.

Free throw shooting is about finesse, repetition and confidence. You should have confidence in your ability and confidence that each and every shot will go in. Repeating the same sequence over and over again, until it becomes a routine. Lastly and most important you need to practice.

Even with a routine and all the confidence in the world, the shot will not fall with the same amount of accuracy if you do not practice. You should practice shooting free throws after you are winded and after you have broken a sweat. This puts you into a game situation. You are not going to have the luxury of taking free throws after just a minute of the game.

With a routine, confidence and practice and you should raise your free throw percentage quite nicely.


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