Successful free throws require confidence, good mechanics, routine, relaxation, rhythm, and concentration. Routine, relaxation and rhythm contribute to concentration and confidence.
Think positively. You always shoot from the same place on the line. No one is protecting you. The basket is big. Three and a half balls can fit on the rim. With confidence, and solid mechanics, you can’t miss out.
Stand a few feet behind the free throw line until the referee hands you the ball. There you will remain more relaxed. If you hear negative comments from the crowd or acknowledge your own negative thoughts, interrupt them with the word stop. Take a deep breath and release negative thoughts as you exhale. Replace them with a positive statement like I am a shooter! Nothing but net! o Tell it!
Develop a solid routine for your free throw. A routine helps you relax, focus, and shoot with rhythm. Most importantly, using a routine will improve your confidence. The routine may include dribbling a set number of times, checking a mechanic or two, using visualization to mentally practice the free throw just before shooting it, and taking deep breaths to relax. Get into a solid routine and stick with it; it is a mistake to copy fashions or repeatedly change your routine.
Here’s a sample routine that you can tweak to suit your needs. Once you receive the ball, place your feet, making sure to align the ball (not your head) with the center of the basket. Use the small notch mark on the ground in the exact center of the free throw line that marks the free throw circle. Place your pitching foot slightly off this mark, lining up the ball with the center of the basket.
Most players use one-handed shooting for a free throw and take the time to control each of the basic mechanics: balance, hand position, elbow alignment, sight (focus), pace, and tracking.
Get into a balanced posture. Some players bounce the ball a number of times to help them relax. When you bounce the ball, keep your shooting hand on top. This helps you get your shooting hand toward the basket when you set the high position to shoot. Use a relaxed hand position and align your index finger with the ball valve. Next, check the alignment of your elbow. Some players do not have the flexibility to have their hand towards the basket and their elbow in. It is more important to have the shooting hand facing the basket than to have the elbow all the way in. If your hand tends to turn to the side when you bring your elbow in, let your elbow be slightly out.
Learn to relax when taking free throws. You have more time to think with free throws than with other throws. Trying too hard can cause undue physical or emotional stress. Use deep breathing to relax your mind and body. For a free kick, you should particularly relax your shoulders; Take a deep breath and let your shoulders drop and relax. Do the same with your arms, hands, and fingers. Learn to relax other parts of your body. Controlling your breathing and relaxing your muscles is especially helpful in a free throw routine.
Before shooting, visualize a successful shot. Viewing just before shooting can produce a smoother, more fluid and continuous rhythm and increase confidence. Just before shooting, focus on your target just above the front of the rim. Keep your focus on the target while shooting.
Start your shot high and use the down and up motion of the legs for rhythm rather than lowering the ball for rhythm. The movement of the legs down and up provides momentum for the shot and is particularly useful when shooting late in the game when the legs are tired. By putting the ball up high and using your legs to keep up, you will decrease the chance of error that can arise when lowering the ball.
Take your free kick with a smooth, flowing rhythm. Use custom keywords to help establish a smooth, sequential pace for free throws. Say your words to the rhythm of your shot. For example, if your trigger words are legs and up and your anchor word is yes, put them together: legs-to-yes! – at the rate of your shot, from the start of your shot until the ball is released. Using custom keywords in this way sets your pace, improves your mechanics, and builds trust.
Act like a shooter
Exaggerate your tracking, keeping your eyes on the target and your shooting arm up until the ball reaches the basket. Keeping his track is not only good mechanically, but more importantly, he looks and acts like a shooter.
You feel tense before and during your free kick.
Use deep breathing to relax your mind and body. Breathe in deeply and exhale fully. Relax your shoulders, letting them drop and loosen. Do the same with your arms, hands, and fingers. Learn to relax other parts of your body as needed.
Free throw drills
1. Daily practice of free throws
Take a set number of free throws each day. Practice sets of 10 free throws after other drills. Because a player rarely shoots more than two free throws in a row during a game, when performing this drill, never take more than two free throws in a row without stepping off the line.
Practice under pressure. Use your imagination and compete against yourself. For example, imagine that time is up and taking the free throw will win the game. Record the number of free throws made out of every 100 attempts. Constantly challenge your own track record. Do the same with consecutive free throws.
Have confidence. Use positive affirmation statements before going to the line and visualize a successful shot just before you shoot. Having a routine helps build confidence on free throws. Use deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques.
Attention. The last step before shooting is to eliminate all distractions and focus on the basket. Say your custom keywords in rhythm from the start of your free kick until the ball is thrown. If you miss, visualize a successful free kick in good form, again saying your keywords.
Take 100 free throws. Rate yourself based on the total number of free throws made. Record your score. He also records the highest number of consecutive free throws. Challenge your record every time you exercise.
2. Free kick with eyes open and eyes closed
Research has shown that combining free throw practice with eyes closed and free throw practice with eyes open improves shooting more than free throw practice with eyes open alone. Shooting with your eyes closed removes vision as your dominant sense, increasing your other senses, particularly the kinesthetic sense (sensation of body movement) and touch.
Visualize a successful shot and focus on the basket immediately before closing your eyes. Take a free kick with your eyes closed.
Begin the drill by shooting 5 free throws with your eyes open. Have a partner bounce each shot and keep track of how many shots out of 5 and how many consecutive shots he takes.
After shooting 5 free throws with your eyes open, shoot 5 free throws with your eyes closed. Have a partner bounce the ball and give you feedback on each hit, including the reaction of the ball at the rim. Use this feedback and your kinesthetic and tactile senses to adjust your shot as needed.
Complete the drill by shooting 5 free throws with your eyes open. Have a partner bounce each shot and keep track of how many shots out of 5 and how many consecutive shots he takes.
Rate yourself based on the total number of free throws made. Record your score. He also records the highest number of consecutive free throws. Challenge your record every time you exercise.