Making Free Throws Count

Think about how many games are won or lost on the free throw line. It happens at all levels – Elementary, Jr. High, High School, College and the Pros. Developing a consistent, reliable foul shot can change your success and your team’s success. With all the physical contact that happens during a game, it’s wonderful to take a shot with no one guarding you. You work hard to get to the free throw line, now just put it in!
Things to remember:
• Take deep breaths; relax your muscles. Take a moment to catch your breath. You rarely go to the line rested.
• Repetition is important. Create a habit every time you step up to the free throw line. For example, dribble twice before you take the shot. Do the same routine every time. It will be comforting.
• Use a consistent shooting technique; each shot must be the same motion. Stay balanced. Keep your elbow in. Fix your eyes on the target and follow through.
• Line up properly. Most indoor courts have a nail placed in the middle of the foul line. Line up your right foot with the nail if you’re right-handed, left foot if you’re left-handed.
• Think positively; you must believe in yourself and have the confidence that you will make the shot. Repetition equals confidence; confidence equals success. Practice, practice, practice.
Drills:
1. Shoot at least 100 free throws a day.
2. Step up to the foul line and shoot two at a time. Step back off and the line for a split second. Then, shoot two more free throws.
3. Break up your shooting so you don’t get into a groove. Make 10 jump shots around the basket and then step up to the line and shoot 10 free throws. Repeat.
4. My Dad always told me to challenge myself when shooting free throws. If the ball swishes without touching the rim, it counts. If it touches the rim a little, but still goes in, it does not count. You don’t have to do this at first, but work toward this.
5. Keep a record of the shots you make each day.
Free throws are a very important part of the game. Practice shooting free throws so that you have the confidence to step up to that line during a crucial part of the game and put them in.


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