There are 2 seconds left and you drive to the basket and your aggressiveness is rewarded with a foul and a chance at a three point play. And 1! You’re down one point and you step to the line….
- What would happen to you in this situation?
- Would you confidently step to the line and sink it?
- Or would you be the player with your head down in the locker room after the game?
Let us help you to be the player that dominates this situation and sends your team to overtime, and gives you the best chance at winning!
Tip #1: Develop a Routine
What happens when you step to the free throw line? Do you know exactly how you will approach these shots?
We do. Develop a routine that you do every single time you go to the fiul line. Whether its spin the ball twice, or dribble three times, do this every time. This gets your mind in the place it was when you practiced these shots.
Yes, that means practice the exact same way too.
Do not skip this step, just like studying for a test, you must get your brain trained to do the routine you practiced and then sink those free throws.
Tip #2: Don’t Leave Your Feet
A jump shot and a free throw are two very different shots. While your form should essentially be the same, you should never leave your feet during a free throw. The main reason for this is it could be called a violation by the referee and your shot will not count.
The other reason is that you should be planted and solid when shooting a free throw.
This is called a set shot, and it allows you to perform the action exactly the same each time, see tip #1!
By planting your feet and shooting, you are giving yourself the best opportunity of making the shot. Practice free throws and jumpers separately, always.
Tip #3: Focus On One Spot
Now that you have a routine and your feet are firmly planted, you need to look up at the rim and target a spot. Focus on the exact point in which the net meets the rim.
This doesn’t mean that you are aiming for that spot. Actually, it is the reference point that you will focus on each time you step to the line.
If you practice this, you will know exactly where your shot is going once it leaves your hands. You’ll get a “feel” for where the ball is headed.
Also, focusing on this point will help you drown out any other distractions.
As with the other tips, practice this on every shot, every time.
Tip #4: Practice Till It Hurts
This might seem obvious, but if you have the first three steps down, it’s time to practice them til the end of time. Maybe not quite that far, but it is time to make them second nature. The only way to do that reliably is to practice your routine and shot until you can’t stand it anymore.
Or till it is perfected. The ultimate goal of any good free throw shooter is perfection, but all of them strive for at least 90% or better come game time.
This opens up many opportunities during the game and makes you lethal at the end of regulation.
Don’t ever stop practicing. Make sure to get at least 30-50 free throws in per session.
Tip #5: Ignore Outside Influences
This is another tip that is a lot easier said than done. Ignoring a crowd, other players, and the doubts in your own mind is a very difficult task. But all of that practicing has led to this, an opportunity to put “free” points up on the board.
Your focus should be razor sharp and all other distractions put aside. Make sure to put your mind back in the practice gym where you shot hundreds of free throws before. This should give you a calming sensation when stepping to the line.
Breathe deeply and find your spot on the rim to focus on, everything else doesn’t matter.
Your focus in this moment shouldn’t be on form or what you practiced, that should come naturally, your focus should be on drowning out anything that could affect your concentration.
Don’t lose focus and sink those shots!
Tip #6: Get Fouled(a lot)
All the gym time in the world will never condition you for actual game experiences. This means that you need to drive, a lot! Create contact and get to the foul line, and soon you’ll develop some amount of comfort up there on that stage.
While even NBA players can feel the pressure of big moments, you can get accustomed to what it feels like by getting there more often.
How else will you put all these tips into practice?
Being aggressive will open more doors to your game as well, so make sure you mix it up between jumpers and driving, it can only help your game and your team.
Tip #7: Form Matters Most
Everything we’ve told you up to this point will make you a better free throw shooter, but if you want to be a great free throw shooter, you’ll need great form.
As you can see this will bring you from average to great in no time.
Don’t overlook making sure you have perfected your form.
Shooting free throws can be daunting, but by following our tips, you will become a great free throw shooter.
Make this a regular part of your training and you’ll see instant improvements that can lead to more points and a higher shooting percentage.
Free throws are a large part of the game and can make the difference between winning and losing.
Follow these tips and you’ll be the player they try to avoid fouling at the end of games!
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How do you feel about your free throw shooting right now? Will these tips help you?
What is your current percentage? We’d love to hear from you!