On November 15, 1993, a 71-year-old man stepped up to the line in a local gymnasium and sunk 2,750 free throws in a row. He walked away without a miss — they were closing the gym and asked him to leave.
This amazing feat, which took 12 hours to accomplish, was witnessed by 10 people who submitted sworn affidavits to the Guinness Book of Records. The record was accepted by Guinness and he was listed as the greatest free throw shooter of all time.
This remarkable man was Dr. Tom Amberry, known as the “Big Kahuna of Free Throws.”
Dr. Tom, who passed away this year at the age of 94, coached college and high school players gave motivational speeches to national corporations and civic groups. He never lost a “shoot out” even against NBA players. He appeared on many local and national TV shows including “David Letterman” and “NBC Nightly News.”
So, what’s his secret?
“Focus and concentration,” says Dr. Tom. “When I’m shooting a free throw, I don’t think of anything else. I am 100% positive I will make the basket. Never have a negative thought on the free throw line.”
Are there other important aspects to free throw shooting? “It’s important to have the right biomechanics. Once you learn to put your body in the right position and shoot correctly, then the rest is mental.”
Dr. Tom’s method is clearly described in his book Free Throw; 7 Steps to Success at the Free Throw Line, published by HarperCollins. He has also produced a 20 minute training video “Make Every Free Throw.”
As a college player, Dr. Tom was twice All-American and the nation’s high scorer. His plan to become a professional basketball player was interrupted by World War II. He spent four years in the U.S. Navy. Later, he was offered a two-year no-cut contract with the Lakers but turned it down to become a podiatrist.
Dr. Tom used to shoot 500 free throws every day in a gym in Orange County, California. He shot with a 99.5 percent accuracy.