Establishing a Freethrow Ritual
Shooting a freethrow demands extreme concentration. The outcome of many games may be decided at the freethrow line. In the final minute of a game, 67% of all the points scored are from the line. We end each day of camp at the freethrow line because it's that important! Many of our daily freethrow champions have established what we call a "freethrow routine or ritual". Repetition is key to becoming a good freethrow shooter, and this can only be accomplished by shooting thousands and thousands of freethrows the same way, every time. Begin by positioning your feet in the same manner each time. Align your shooting foot (and shoulder) directly with the basket (similar to that of throwing a dart). Often you can find a small nail hole to assist in the proper alignment. Mentally (and/or physically) rehearse your stroke before dribbling the ball and picture the ball going through the basket. Bend your knees and "settle in". Then dribble a set number of times (usually no more than three dribbles!!!). Take one deep breath, relax, and focus on just “you and the hoop”. At this time, creating a verbal sequence can help your concentration as well (i.e. "Hang it high!”) Be sure you hold the ball the same way each time. Then, with your shooting elbow in (integrity of the elbow) and under the ball, bring the ball straight up through the shot line, release it high, and lock off your elbow and wrist. Finally, follow-through for two seconds. Swish!