How to Improve Free Throw Shooting

Two Methods:Approaching Free ThrowsImproving Shooting Form

Have you ever had trouble shooting free throws? Ever wanted to make them effortlessly in a game situation? Free throws are an easy way to add points to your game average, and to gain respect from coach and players. This article will tell you how to improve your percentage from the free throw line and to how make your free throws more consistent.

Method 1
Approaching Free Throws

  1. Image titled Improve Free Throw Shooting Step 1
    Be confident. Confidence is essential to good free throw shooting. Practicing the tips listed below can help improve confidence, and ultimately help you become the free throw shooter that you have wanted to be.
  2. Image titled Improve Free Throw Shooting Step 2
    Always use good form. The keys to good form are flexing your legs, getting a good flick from your wrist to allow backspin (this gives you a higher chance of your shot to roll in if it hits the rim), to get your shoulders back, and to turn your feet toward your off hand, aligning your shooting hip, shoulder, and elbow to the basket.
  3. Image titled Improve Free Throw Shooting Step 3
    Get squared up. Most basketball gyms have a little black dot on the free throw line. Place your dominate foot on it and then put your other foot one or two inches back.
  4. Image titled Improve Free Throw Shooting Step 4
    Make a routine that puts you in a rhythm to shoot a free throw. The most common is three dribbles, but you should make one that fits your shot.
  5. Image titled Improve Free Throw Shooting Step 5
    When you shoot the shot look at the front of the rim, and then you can either watch the flight of the ball in the air or not.
  6. Image titled Improve Free Throw Shooting Step 6
    When you shoot, make sure your feet are not flat on the ground. Your feet should be on their tip toes or an inch or two in the air.
  7. Image titled Improve Free Throw Shooting Step 7
    Make sure when you shoot that the ball only comes off your dominate hand, your other hand is just a guide.
  8. Image titled Improve Free Throw Shooting Step 8
    After you shoot, make sure you follow through with your hand. If you don't, your shot could become inconsistent. Keep practicing.

Method 2
Improving Shooting Form

  1. Image titled Improve Free Throw Shooting Step 9
    Turn: The shooting form starts when a player receives a ball and squares up for the shot. This is a very important part of the form and it dictates the flow for the rest of the shot. The proper turn would be to have your shooting hip and shoulder squared up or pointed at the direction of the ring. The feet should be turned 10-45 degrees towards your off hand.
  2. Image titled Improve Free Throw Shooting Step 10
    Release: At the point of release, the player should have his strong hand underneath the ball, with the fingers pointing towards him. The off-hand should be supporting the ball and not pushing or holding it in any way. The strong hand’s elbow should be tucked in and the ball should be released at the highest point in the jump, with the wrists snapping forward upon release of the ball.
  3. Image titled Improve Free Throw Shooting Step 11
    Follow Through: After a shot is release, the player should maintain the shooting form of the strong hand with the arm still extended and the wrist bent towards the ring. This is called the follow through. The follow through can help with shot accuracy and shot strength. The follow through should be done on every shot, including hook shots, free throws and jump shots.
  4. Image titled Improve Free Throw Shooting Step 12
    Practice: With all these fundamentals, the best thing a player can do to improve his form is to constantly practice it. The best shooters in the game developed the right shooting form by practicing it daily; taking hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of shots every day. Once you have the correct form, you have to constantly practice using it in your shot for muscle memory. Using the proper form should be second nature for good shooters.


  • Model your shot after a good free throw shooter like Ray Allen, Dirk Nowitzki, or anyone you know that can knock down free throws.
  • One way to dramatically improve your form is to practice a few shots with just your dominate hand, your other hand should be at your side. This forces you to use good form, so it will add backspin and make your shot go straighter. After you have gotten the hang of the one handed shot go back to two and see how your shot has improved.
  • See how many free throws you can make in a day, and try to break it.
  • Look at NBA stars shoot free throws and study their techniques.
  • If you make one free throw, don't get cocky and miss the next one. It's all about determination and self denial (even if it doesn't feel like it).
  • Bench pressing is a great way to improve the strength of your shot, but don't shot right after you bench press because your muscles are tired.
  • Make a goal to make dozens or hundreds of free throws a day.
  • If you ay or at a park. There are slight differences between inside ve that option because that is where you will be shooting in a game.

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Basketball