“The best things in life are free”. You might think that this line is not appropriate for basketball because you need to defy all odds for you to get a chance to score. Well, you are partially wrong. You can create a situation where you can score without going through the entire defense, and that is to get to the foul line. Given the situation, you need to take advantage of it.
When I was young, I was a horrible foul shooter and was always on the bench when the opposing team started to foul as a way to stop the clock. That may the lowest point in my life because no matter how badly I wanted to help my team, I didn’t have the ability to do it. I lost my confidence at some point and knew that I needed to do something before it was too late.
For all of you who are experiencing the same problem, I’ll share you some things that I did in order to get through this and to get my self-confidence back. Being consistent in making free-throws will give opponents second thoughts on whether to foul you or not.
Be Comfortable with your Shooting form
You need to be comfortable with the way you shoot the ball and confident with your stroke. Don’t try to imitate other styles because it might just distract you from making your own shooting form effective. Do a little research on the basics of keeping your elbow in, bending your knees, taking a deep breath, getting arc on your shot and then go do it. Don’t obsess about trying to have perfect form because few people actually have perfect form. It’s about having decent mechanics and then feeling comfortable with your stroke.
You may have noticed that NBA players have their own routine. Some would say that it’s just style or to get attention but I think this also plays a big part in shooting. Reggie Miller is one of the best free-throws shooters that has ever played NBA. His routine consists of taking a couple of hard dribbles and then with the right foot slightly behind the other releases the ball with a great follow through. Your routine might be as simple as taking 4 dribbles and then lining up your front foot with the center of the basket. Whatever it is just make sure you are doing the same thing each time you step to the line.
When practicing free-throws, you need to take it seriously because all will be useless if you don’t put your heart into it. What your eyes can see plays a major role because that is where you’ll throw the ball. Look for a spot around the basket where you think that it has a high chance to make it and then don’t stray from it. Look at the same spot each and every time you shoot a free throw. I would recommend either looking at the very front of the rim or at the back of the rim in the center.
At this time, what’s left to do is to practice, practice, practice. You need to set goals when you practice. First day, at least 60% of the shots should be made until you reach the highest peak. Give yourself a punishment if you failed to accomplish your daily goal. It adds motivation and extra push to work much harder. It also helps you get use to shooting under pressure. Shooting free throws during a game is much different than shooting them during practice. If you don’t get yourself use to the feelings and pressure that comes with shooting in a game you’re not doing yourself justice.
Ewald Basio is a writer for HoopSkills.com Check out the site for more great youth basketball tips.