How to Shoot Free Throws

Photo Courtesy of Erik Drost via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Courtesy of Erik Drost via Wikimedia Commons

After I set the Guinness World Record for free throws, people always ask me the same question: How do I shoot a free throw?

There are some basketball fundamentals that are used to make your free throws. But there are some things that make free throws different, too. I’ll cover a couple of those things here:

  • Elbow in. In game conditions, lots of players have their elbow out to fend off aggressive players trying to strip the ball. But at the free throw line you don’t need this.
  • Square up. Lots of shooters stagger their feet. That’s fine for three-pointers. But most coaches will tell you to square up so you don’t miss right or left. Square up on the free throw line.
  • Use your legs. I’ve heard people say that free throw shooting is an upper body motion. I disagree. I think you need to make a nice smooth shot with your legs too.
  • No Aiming. I see a lot of players stare at the basket because they really, really want to make the free throw. But this doesn’t help. Just lock in on target and shoot; It’s more accurate that way.

In my next blog I’ll cover the mental side of free throw shooting. But if you really want to improve your free throw shooting or learn how to coach free throw shooting for better results, get a copy of my video, Make Every Free Throw.

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