Introduction: How to Properly Shoot a Free Throw

I’m Carly Beckmann and man, do I enjoy basketball and the knowledge of it. Basketball has been around for years. It has gone through the men’s short shorts stage and high top converse, to lower thigh/knee length shorts and actual basketball shoes named after famous NBA basketball players. Who would have thought that after all these years that basketball would change this drastically? I have had basketball incorporated into my life since I was first born. Weeks after I was born I was already at basketball games, and after that I grew up to playing it all year round! Ever since I was younger basketball have even changed, we went from getting as much time as we want on offense during a game to it getting switched to having a 35-second shot clock. Out of this all, there are things that haven’t changed in basketball and one of them is how to shoot a free throw. People never know when they’re going to have to shoot a free throw, they either might get dared to or even try it to win some money at a basketball game!

All that is needed is a shooter, basketball and a basketball hoop to shoot a free throw. Free throws are very critical in basketball games, people get stuck in three-point plays after getting fouled if they made it, or if they don’t they still get to shoot two free throws if they don’t make the shot and it’s a shooting foul. Other times when free throws come in to play is when teams are in bonuses, this is where the opposing team gives the other team a chance to shoot a free throw or two. A team can be in bonus or double bonus. With bonus the person gets a one and one shot, if they make the first one they get to shoot the second. This happens after seven fouls on the other team. Double bonus is when the other team has ten or more fouls and this gives the other team a chance to shoot two free throws no matter what. Bonuses happen with any foul, whether it’s a shooting foul or a blocking foul.

Step 1: Getting the Feel of Shooting

First, start at the 10ft line and use the dominant hand to shoot. The reason a person should do this is because it will give a better idea of how high the arch should be when shooting and getting a good form. Always want to follow through with a shot. When I was little they always told me to put my hand in the cookie jar after I shot. Once getting the hang of it, make ten shots and move back to the free throw line.

Step 2: Making It to the Free Throw Line

When getting to the free throw line, line up the feet with the basketball hoop. There are usually black dots on the wood floor in a gym to line the dominant foot up to. The dot lines up with the center of the lane and the hoop. The dominant foot should be in the center, on the dot if your gym has one, and non-dominant foot six to eighteen inches away and back a little bit behind the other foot. Always try to feel comfortable. Make sure to have a stance at least shoulder length apart.

Step 3: Getting the Form Down and Shooting Away

Next, we want to get the shooting form put together. With the dominant hand we want to make sure that is the main hand used while shooting. Then add the non-dominant hand as a guide on the side of the basketball for when they are ready to shoot, forming the letter “T” with both hands. When the ball releases from the hand, do not cross arms. The non-dominant hand should barely move while the dominant hand is out in the cookie jar. When shooting it is best to not jump, just lightly on the tippy toes but always use legs to help get the ball up and out.

Once all the steps are together, practice on the little things. Some tips on how to shoot a free throw better once getting the form down is to always keep eyes on the rim and not on the ball, that way there is better knowledge to know where ball needs to go. The arch of the basketball is another thing that could be worked on. Always have a happy medium arch, kind of like a rainbow, but definitely not like a laser. This will let the ball enter the hoop better. It is best to take one dribble and then get in shooting form. The more dribbling and unnecessary rolling of the ball before shooting a free throw the more complicated it will be to hold the ball properly in a “T”.

Step 4: My Video

Enjoy :)