FREE THROW: ARC AND TENSION

In the upcoming weeks we want to focus on the free throw as we look at the mindset and mechanics of this important basketball shot.

 

Lets face it, there is nothing more uncomfortable than to be a coach late in a close game and have a terrible free throw shooting team on the court.

 

There’s is nothing more uncomfortable than to watch a poor free throw shooter at the line in a crucial game.

 

Coaches often feel helpless about free throw shooting. No matter how many shots their teams shoot in practice, the results are often the same when it comes to a game. Clank!!!

 

Shooting free throws is not simply about repetition. We have asked numerous high school and collegiate coaches what is the key to becoming a quality free throw shooter and the answer most responded is, “Reps.” That belief is just too simple.

 

At Pro shot we believe the real reason why players miss free throws is because of improper use of shooting mechanics. Dwight Howard is a terrible free throw shooter. Is it because he doesn’t practice his free throws? Of course not. Howard practices his free throws, but because he has poor mechanics, he misses his free throws.

 

Lets focus on the mechanics of free throw shooting. After doing research for the past ten years of free throw shooting we believe we have come up with the “fountain of youth” from the charity stripe. In other words, we believe we have found the key component to successful free throw shooting.

 

The shoulders are RARELY mentioned by coaches and trainers and yet we believe it is the #1 reason why high school varsity, collegiate and professional players miss. It is so important that we refer to it as 90/80/70. In other words, we believe 90% of all free throws missed at the professional level are because of poor use of shoulders. At the collegiate levels its 80% and at the high school varsity levels its 70%.

 

When you watch great free throw shooters, you will see their shoulders are relaxed. Poor free throw shooters, on the other hand, generally have tensed shoulders. After watching thousands of great free throw shooters, we have noticed that their shoulders sway back a few inches. When this occurs the shot becomes more relaxed and arc increases.

 

Poor free throw shooters often have their shoulders in a vertical position. There is no sway. When this occurs the shoulders blades dig into the neck causing tremendous tension in the shot forcing the shot to lose arc.
We truly believe any team can shoot 80% from the free throw line BUT it is not all about reps. Please understand that doing something over and over and over again only works if you are doing it right. For all coaches out there, focus on the shoulders and you will see your players improve greatly. You can clearly see relaxed shoulders and tense shoulders in our most recent video. We hope you have a few minutes to watch the video and then you will clearly understand how important the shoulders are.