One big part of basketball coaching is ensuring that your players fully understand the fundamentals of the game. Today, we’re going to talk about some foul shooting fundamentals that will benefit your team.
**Head over to this blog post for even more foul shooting fundamentals.**
Rhythm and Timing
One big fundamental of the foul shot is the rhythm and timing in which you shoot the free throw.
We’re trying to minimize the amount of movement every time we shoot a free throw so that we minimize the amount of errors that can take place.
We’re also trying to make the timing of our free throw consistent so that it is exactly the same every time we shoot the ball. This will help us to shoot the ball more consistently.
Our rhythm and timing needs to be incorporated not only into our mental mechanics, but also into our physical mechanics.
Take a deep breath. Now, in a 3-second timeframe, elbow in, bend, and follow through.
Within approximately 3 seconds, we’ve incorporated physical mechanics, mental mechanics, rhythm, and timing.
Practice is the final element of becoming a great free throw shooter. It’s best to incorporate free throw practice within your normal workout routines so that you can incorporate game situations. In a normal game situation, you’re shooting free throws when you’re winded, fatigued, and a little bit tired. So we want to practice a drill at full intensity and speed, and rest on our free throws.
As a rule, we have our players practice making five free throws in a row in between every shooting drill, dribbling drill, or practice drill that they do in the off season. Even in team settings, we will have players shoot five in a row in the course of a two-hour practice five or six times.
Why have we chosen the number five as the number of free throws to make in a row in your practice situations?
One, it requires that you concentrate for five consistent free throws. If you look at games, the most consecutive free throws any player is typically required to make is five. When does this occur? Player shoots a 3-point shot, is fouled, and misses the 3-point shot. A coach or opposing player is upset about the call and gets a technical foul. Thus, you end up taking five free throws in a row.
Plan a free throw championship versus a friend or a teammate. A free throw championship would be to win 4 out of 7 games. Compete by taking 10 free throws each. If you end up in a tie at the end of the 10 free throws, perhaps you both have made 8 free throws a piece, then go to the playoff, which is called ICE. It’s a free throw game that we made up which consists of putting pressure on the shooter with every single free throw.
ICE works as follows. The first shooter gets to take one free throw. If they make it or miss it, the next shooter has a chance to match by making the free throw or if the second shooter also misses, then they’re still competing to see who will win. If the first shooter makes it and the second shooter misses, the first shooter has won the first game of 7 in a free throw competition.
We like the game of ICE because it puts pressure on the shooter every time they step to the line and forces them into a mode where they have to concentrate on the mental mechanics of the free throw process.
One time each week, take and record 100 free throws. The reason you only want to do this once a week is so that you can track and chart your progress and improvement on your free throws. This is the one situation where you’re actually going to take a specific number of free throws instead of make a specific number of free throws in a row. So once a week, track your progress and improvement so you have a way to know that you’re progressing in your free throw mechanics and your free throw shooting.
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