How to shoot free throws:
Note: These instructions are for a right-handed person.
1. Stand as close to the free throw line as possible.
2. Your right foot should be straight and point directly to the center of the rim.
3. Your left foot should be spread about one foot apart, about two inches back from the line and slightly pointed to the left. Try to find a comfortable position.
4. Knees should be flexed but not bent too much.
Warning: Don’t be stiff or tense. Relax – shooting free throws is easy.
Warning: Most players bend their knees too much and it throws off the shot.
5. Hold ball in your right hand – the basketball seams should be horizontal.
6. Spread your thumb and fingers to a comfortable position.
7. The ball should sit in your thumb and fingertips. It should not touch your palm.
Comment: This is the primary reason Shaq cannot shoot free throws. He holds the ball in his palm and throws it up there like a baseball. He has no feel or control.
8. Hold the ball at eye level. Look at your elbow. Where is it pointing? It should be pointing directly in front of your right foot.
Warning: Most people’s elbow will point out to the right (like a chicken wing) and this is the primary reason they cannot shoot the ball straight.
9. Okay. You should be about ready to shoot the ball now. But, not quite – You need a little routine to get yourself ready every time you shoot a free throw.
10. Get in position. Flex you knees a couple of times. Bounce the ball 2 or 3 times.
Visualize the flight of the ball going through the rim without touching it. Bring the ball up into position just above eye level, pause for a second and then shoot it in one smooth motion. Your follow-through will bring you up on your toes a little bit but never cross the line. Hold follow-through (with fingers pointed at the rim) until the ball goes in.
Tip: Shooting a basketball is mostly done with your wrist and fingers.
11. Just before releasing the ball, bend your wrist back and use just enough arm action to get ball to the rim. Mostly, use your wrist action to shoot the ball.
12. The arch of the ball should not be too flat and it should not be too high.
Tip: Aim at the center of the rim. You want to touch only net on your shot.
13. When you release the ball, your fingertips will put a “gentle” backspin on the ball.
Tip: You want the ball to go up there as softly as possible. This way, even if you are a little off, the ball will still go in.
Comment: This is Shaq’s other problem. He throws it up there too fast and the ball hits like a brick.
14. That’s it!! Easy. The free throw is the easiest shot in basketball. Nobody is guarding you.
15. Oh, there is one more little thing. Practice. I used to shoot 100 free throws a day. If you shoot 50 free throws 3 or 4 times a week, that should be enough to get good.
16. One final thought. All good shooters have 3 things in common:
- They have good shooting techniques
- They practice a lot
- They are confident