How to Shoot a Free Throw
By Rachel Bertsche
Photo Credit: Jonathan Brizendine/iStock
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 theres no defense and youre pretty close to the basket. Im 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. ONeal, 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. Its a dead giveaway that you dont know what youre 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 youre 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, its 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 dont try anything fancy like spinning the ball on your fingertip or throwing it in the air. Unless you are a Harlem Globetrotter and if youre reading this, I assume youre not you will look like an idiot. Keep it simple, and dont stray from your routine. In foul shooting, repetition is a good thing.