Free throws are one of the most important aspects of a basketball game, and can often be the difference between a win and a loss. However, most players have trouble when it comes to making a free throw.
And while it may seem like a pretty straightforward thing to do, there is a lot of work that goes into making efficient free throws.
But just like any other sports skill, you can train your free throws to improve your success rate. Here are a few ways to help you.
Before you start to work on your free throws, remember that it is a repetitive process and each shot must be relatively the same.
1) Have a Ritual
Free throw shooting is a very individual-oriented play and requires that you get into the right mindset before making a shot. So set up a ritual that you can perform each time you shoot, just to clear your head, drown out the crowd, and let your mind and body know that it’s time to make a free throw.
For example, Richard Hamilton likes to take one dribble to the side. Since he practices his free throws after taking a side dribble, this motion helps him to tune out the distractions and reminds him that it’s time to take a free throw.
2) Use the Dot
Most inlaid wooden basketball courts have a dot right in the middle of the foul line, facing the center of the rim. To improve your free throw success rate, it’s best that you use this dot as a marker when making your free throws.
Some players like to stand on the dot while others straddle the dot (place their legs on either side). Some players even stand to the left or the right of the dot. When you’re practicing, use the dot and figure out where to stand when making your free throws. This will be a point of familiarity during a real game and will help make your free throws more accurate.
3) Follow Through!
This is a rookie mistake, but even advanced players seem to fall prey to it from time to time. When you take a shot, you need to keep your shooting arm strong and extended even after the ball leaves your hand.
This gives your shot more power, allowing the ball to travel further. It also allows you to more accurately shoot the ball in the desired trajectory.
4) Be Mindful
When players make other shots during a game, they often don’t have the time to think about the shots they’re making. But during a free throw, you have all the time you need, with no defenders to obstruct you.
This causes most players to weigh out all the possible outcomes of the free throw, distracting them from the task at hand. To up your chances of a successful shot, you need to clear your head and focus solely on the free throw.
Practice is Key
Free throws, just like any other sports skill, can be developed through regular, focused practice. So keep these tips in mind, train every day, and have fun while playing!
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