This is a guestpost by Trevor from Basketball for Coaches. Make sure to check out his blog!
Free-throws have always been one of the hardest aspects of basketball. They don’t look hard, there’s no defence, but when your players step to the line during a game, with all the pressure that surrounds them, with the hundreds of eyes on them, they will more often than not miss the shot.
I’ll even go out on a limb here and tell you they’re the most important shot in basketball. Many close games come down to this one simple fact: Who can make the most free throws towards the end of the game?
Heck, have you seen Dwight Howard shooting free-throws for the Lakers this year? He’s shooting 0.503 percent from the free throw line this year. Free-throws are so important that Lakers fans are beginning to think that Dwight Howard should be left off the court during close games in the fourth quarter! Wow. These hard-core fans are willing to bench arguably the best centre in the world because he shoots poorly from the free-throw line. What do you take from all of this? Poor free-throw shooting will cost your team victories.
Here are the 4 biggest tips to improve your team’s free-throw shooting.
1. Have a routine.
Each player must have their own routine. The reason for a routine is that it puts you in your comfort zone and gives you confidence. It lets your brain know that you’ve done this exact sequence of actions thousands of times before and that this time won’t be any different. You bounce the ball the same amount of times. You can spin the ball before you shoot it if that makes you feel comfortable. There’s no such thing as a correct routine and an incorrect routine. It will always be different for each individual player.
2. Line your strong-side foot up with the centre of the hoop.
This will bring your shoulder around to make you directly in line with the hoop. Your shooting forearm and strong-side knee should form a straight line.
3. Bend your knees
This is a big one and is most commonly forgotten when fatigue starts to set in late in the game.
4. Repetition, repetition, repetition.
The only way you’re going to improve dramatically is by repeating your free-throw routine over and over and over again. There’s no substitute for thousands of repetitions of the exact same shot. This will develop muscle memory over time.
There you have it. The 4 most important tips that will help you and your team shoot 90% from the free throw line.
Are there any other tips you know about that can drastically improve your free throw shooting? I’d love to hear about any others in the comments!