Age and required skillset:
• Anyone from the age of ten and up, regardless of being new to basketball or a basketball expert can easily follow these instructions.
• A basketball (preferable regulation sized for your age)
• A basketball court with marked free throw lines
• These instructions can be followed in as little as ten minutes, but hours of practice are required to perfect your shooting form.
Note: A shooting partner to help rebound is convenient but not required.
Step 1: Get a Basketball and Go to a Gym.
Note: Becoming successful at shooting free throws depends a lot on always shooting them in a consistent manner. This makes it extremely important to always use a proper sized basketball for your age level and to always shoot on a regulation height basketball hoop.
Step 2: Find the Center Mark on the Free Throw Line.
Note: On almost all hardwood courts there will be a small nail hole marking the center and most synthetic gym floors have a small black dot as the center mark.
Step 3: Step Up to the Free Throw Line.
This step is where the B from the BEEF shooting acronym first comes into play. B stands for balance. As you place your feet at the free throw line it is important that they are spaced properly to maintain a good balance throughout your entire shooting motion.
Note: You want to keep both feet at least an inch from the free throw line. This is important because later you will go onto your toes and you do not want either foot to end up on or across the free throw line.
Step 4: Pre-shooting Routine
Note: It is important that you do not move either foot during this step. This routine should only require between 2 and 4 seconds to complete because basketball regulations only allow for 10 seconds to shoot a free throw.
Step 5: Properly Placing Your Fingers on the Basketball.
Step 6: Bend at Your Knees Slightly
Note: Shorter players tend to bend their knees more than taller players. This may sound counterintuitive but the extra bend actually allows for their legs to provide more power to their shot. This makes up for the greater distance the ball has to travel.
Step 7: Raise the Basketball to a Shooting Position.
This step is where the first E from the BEEF shooting acronym comes into play. This E stands for elbow because your elbow position is one of the most important factors in properly shooting a free throw. It Is crucial that your elbow be straight beneath the basketball and not off to either side.
Note: Your non-dominant hand is only gently placed on the side of the basketball to help balance it. It should not be holding the basketball up at all.
Step 8: Focus Your on Your Target
This step is where the second E from the BEEF shooting acronym comes into play. This E stands for eye because it is vital that your eye is focused where you want your shot to go.
Note: Most shooters find they have the most success when they focus on the middle-hook on the back of the rim as there target.
Step 9: Shoot the Basketball
This step is where the F from the BEEF shooting acronym comes into play. This F stands for follow through which is the flipping of your wrist and fingers forward as you release the ball. This is a very important step as it is what guides the basketball to the rim and gives it a backspin.
Note: Your feet should not leave the ground during this step. It is okay to rock onto your toes as long as you maintain your balance throughout the shooting motion.
Your first 100 shoots will likely feel unnatural and you will probably not shoot a great percentage. Don't worry or get discouraged as this is common. It often takes hours of practice and thousands of shots before this step is mastered.
Step 10: Practice
During your practice always remember to follow the four parts of the acronym BEEF.
Remember practice makes perfect!