5 Basic Free Throw Shooting Tips & Techniques

Written By: Lamar Hull @ Google+

Free throws will always play an important role in the game of basketball.

Many professional and collegiate championship games have been won or loss due to players knocking down clutch free throws or missing them.

Unfortunately, many players are not good or consistent free throw shooters because they have failed to master several basic free throw shooting techniques.

One quick note, if you can become a great jump shooter, you can become a GREAT free throw shooter.

Let’s examine 5 free throw shooting tips that can help anyone become a better free throw shooter.


#1 Mental Focus

free throw shooting techniquesFocus is the first step towards becoming an exceptional free throw shooter.

Of course, you have fans and other players that will take some intense measures to help distract or discourage free throw shooters.

As a player, you must ignore distractions while approaching the free throw line.

That’s easier said than done, right?

For me, I would first take a deep breath and say once in my mind – “Me and you rim”.

By saying this once and taking that deep breath it helped me gain some composure during a game clinching free throw attempt.

Find a way, to take the focus off of the game, the crowd and mentally focus on the task of you and the rim.

You shoot free throws in the gym everyday, it is you and the rim in the gym. That’s how you have to think about it.

Focusing on the rim is the key to becoming a good free throw shooter. You must envision that you will make the shot.

#2 Relax

As I mentioned in mental focus, players must learn how to relax when it comes time to shoot their free throws.

As a basketball player, it is important to become familiar with relaxation techniques.

Your coach should definitely introduce you to breathing techniques. Breathing techniques will help players reduce nervousness and tension.

Players should select a relaxation technique that is suitable for their personal style of play.

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#3 Body Alignment

It is important for a player to align their body properly at the free throw line.

Studies and statistics reveal that proper body alignment can improve a player’s chances of making consistent free throw shots.

The body should always be squared with the feet shoulder width apart. The toes should be one to two inches behind the free throw line.

This will help one avoid being called for a violation. Referees are always focused on the player’s toes while he or she is on the line.

Also, most of the time in the center of the free throw line, there is a small circle that should be easy to identify. If you are a left hand shooter, take your left foot and line it up with the circle. If you are a right hand shooter do the same with your right foot.

#4 Elbow Positioning

Elbow positioning is another critical point that should not be ignored.

Some of the greatest basketball players and free throw shooters of all time understood the importance of elbow positioning.

Elbows will normally veer away from the side of the body while the shot is being made. It is vital to keep the elbows close to the body. This posture will increase the leverage that is needed for the shot.

How to Shoot a Free Throw Video Step-by-Step

#4 Momentum

Precise momentum is always needed for your free throw shooting technique.

Novice players make the mistake of rolling the basketball off their palms. The ball should always be rolled off the fingertips.

This will give the basketball a backspin. The backspin helps the ball hit the backboard and fall into the basket.

In addition to momentum, bend your knees and make sure the ball is released at your peak and not on the way down.

Quick Free Throw Shooting Tips From Michael Jordan


michael jordan free throw tips







#5 Practice

Most importantly, a player can become a more efficient free throw shooter if he or she is willing to practice at it.

I used to practice for hours but at the end of every practice, I would make sure to shoot at least 50-100 free throws.

I wanted to see how many I could make before missing. I was tired, but I tried to make sure the focus and determination was there.

I would also do situations and imagine that my team was down by one, if I made 2 free throws, we won. My team was down by 2 points, I would have to make 2 free throws to send the game to overtime.

Overall, by practicing your free throw shots it will help you relax and develop your free throw shooting technique from the line.

Practice alone and in the company of other players.

You could also practice with the free throw trainer, which is a great tool for getting the player to focus on the right fundamentals around the rim when shooting free throws.

Some of the world’s greatest free throw shooters practiced for years before they were able to perfect their free throw shooting technique.

Free throws will always play an important role in the game of basketball. It is important for players to take the right measures that will help them become an exceptional free throw shooter.

The five tips listed above can help anyone become a proficient free throw shooter. Use em’!

Here are 7 easy steps to Free Throw shooting Free Throw: 7 Steps to Success at the Free Throw Line


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