• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

January 2, 2005

How to Shoot a Free Throw

basketball swishing through a hoop

Photo Credit: Jonathan Brizendine/iStock

Special Offer

Any ball player (ahem, Shaq) will tell you that games are won and lost on free throws. And yet they should be the easiest shot in the game — there’s no defense and you’re pretty close to the basket. I’m never more frustrated than when I see an NBA star miss a foul shot. If I could make 70 percent of the free throws I took when I played on the high school junior varsity team, then I think you, Mr. O’Neal, should be looking at 100 percent. For fledgling basketball players, many coaches teach foul shooting with the acronym BEEF.

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and distribute your weight equally between them. Square your shoulders and feet to the hoop and bend your knees. This is where your stability and strength will come from — many first-time ballers think that their power is in the arms and end up chucking the ball at the basket. It’s a dead giveaway that you don’t know what you’re doing. Instead concentrate on bending your knees and getting your power from your legs.

Your elbow should be at a 90-degree angle pointed toward the basket, so your forearm is perpendicular to the floor.

Keep your eyes on the hoop, not on the ball. Focus your gaze on the front of the rim and see the ball going into the basket.

When your shot is over, keep your hand in the air. It should look as if you’re trying to dip your fingers into the basket. This will ensure that the ball goes where you want it to. If you are shooting and the ball is going off to the side, check out your hand — most likely, it’s pointing away from the basket.

The most important thing in foul shooting is routine. Find a drill that works for you — whether it be three dribbles or none — and stick to it every time. Just don’t try anything fancy like spinning the ball on your fingertip or throwing it in the air. Unless you are a Harlem Globetrotter — and if you’re reading this, I assume you’re not — you will look like an idiot. Keep it simple, and don’t stray from your routine. In foul shooting, repetition is a good thing.

Connect with Marie Claire:
daily giveaway
Go to the Beach

Go to the Beach

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From Lifestyle Features
Welcome to ‘The Now Age’ Where ‘New Age’ Ideas Get a Modern Makeover

The 1960s were iconic and all, but it's time for change.

6 Film Noir Femme Fatales We'd Love To Be

Classic style and seduction tips we can learn from.

How to Summer-Proof Your Phone

A few tools can protect you from disaster.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.