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How to Become a Great Free Throw Shooter

By: Jason Markum

Basketball is a complex game. But a lot of the time, it all comes down to one thing, and one thing only. What is that one thing? Free Throws. Don’t believe me? Think about it. How many games have you watched that all came down to a single free throw during the last few seconds of the game? Lots, that’s how many! Games are just often decided by free throws, both individually, and f.t. percentages for the team overall. When I played basketball in high school, the coach would end each practice the same way. We would shoot ft’s as a team.

Coach would call out a number, and we each got to shoot one or two ft’s (depending on the number that coach called out). If the team didn’t make at least as many free t’s as coach called for, we knew we’d be running sprints. Make the free t’s, and we went home without running sprints. This is a great way to practice free throws under pressure. On the other hand, it can be very frustrating when YOU make your free throws but the rest of the team doesn’t, and so you have to run sprints (the whole team runs, not just those who make their free throws!). As I said, this is a good method for practicing free t’s under pressure, but it isn’t very efficient because you aren’t shooting LOTS of f throws in order to build up your skill. Repetition is important when it comes to basketball, especially when it comes to becoming a great shooter. If you want to become a great fee throw shooter, here’s what I suggest you do.

Every day, no matter what, go off on your own and MAKE fifty fee throws. Don’t stop shooting till you make fifty. I’m not talking about SHOOTING fifty fre throws, I’m talking about MAKING fifty ft’s. I’ll be perfectly honest with you; when you first start this practice regime, you may have to shoot like two hundred free throws until you finally make fifty. Heck, you might have to shoot more than two hundred in order to make fifty. But if you do this every single day, day in and day out, you will get better at it very quickly. Before you know it, you’ll only have to shoot like a hundred and fifty free throws in order to make fifty. Then soon after that you’ll only have to shoot a hundred to make fifty.

Before you know it, you’ll only have to shoot like sixty or seventy in order to make fifty. You’ll discover that you will often make like ten or fifteen free throws in a row, miss one or two, then make another ten or so in a row, miss a couple, and on and on till you make fifty in no time. Once you get really good at it, you can knock out fifty made free throws in less than ten minutes (where it might take you an hour when you first start). It’s important to continue with the practice routine even when you get good. Reinforcing repetition is the only way to become a basketball superstar, and with this practice routine, you’ll be a long way there.

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