Basketball Free Throw Tips

basketball free throw

Everyone talks up the importance of making that basketball free throw when you’re down by one with one second on the clock.

But if you think about it, every single free throw throughout each game is as important as the final one. How many times has your team lost by one point and all you could think was, “If we had just made two more of our free throws”?

Also, if you & your team had nailed all your early free throws, you most likely would have had a large lead late in the game and had no need to be getting desperate, right? No matter where you are in a game, the most important thing is to have developed a clean, consistent basketball free throw shot.

One thing a lot of inexperienced players (or experienced players that are just plain poor free throw shooters) do, is to vary their shooting method after missing. They think they need to change it up and try it another way. The great players don’t do this!

The great players develop and then practice a sound basketball free throw method and stick with it through thick and thin. Since they develop sound technique, though, there are not many thin spots as they make a very high percentage of their free throws.

By the way, would you like to learn how to dramatically increase your focus on applying these basketball free throw tips without ingesting a pill or drink?

One final thought before we get to individual free throw tips. Getting your consistent technique developed is only part of being a quality free throw shooter. The mental aspect of it plays a huge role. This is a shot that’s uncontested so it should be easy, right?

The problem is that there is added pressure just because the game stops for all to watch you attempt this shot, many times it comes at a crucial part in the game, etc. How well you can handle this pressure is the key to how good you’ll become.

Visit our Shooting Fundamentals page.


Basketball Free Throw Tips

1) – Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel to one another. Think of it as if you are at the end of a diving board. Get comfortable.

2) – Place your feet just behind the foul line and bring the foot on your non-shooting hand side back just a bit.

3) – Your weight should be placed comfortably on the balls of your feet with your knees bent slightly.

4) – Support the ball by cradling it very lightly in your non-shooting hand.

5) – The middle three fingers of your shooting hand should be placed on the seams of the ball as your palm and thumb act as supports.

6) – Cock your wrist back at a 90 degree angle. Point your elbow at the basket with it also at a 90 degree angle.

7) – Lock your eyes on the prize. A good target to focus on is just above the front of the rim.

8) – A basketball free throw gets its power from your legs, not your arms. Straighten your legs in one fluid motion and keep your upper body relaxed.

9) – The ball should release off your fingertips to provide the correct arc and accuracy.

10) – Follow-through high with your fingers pointing at your target.

11) Always focus on why you make shots, not why you miss. Pay attention to what works.

12) – Always start and finish your basketball free throw at the same point.

13) – Keep your concentration! You must have or develop the ability to block out the crowd, the opponent’s trash talk, your argument with your Mom the other day, etc. Focus, focus, focus.

14) – Develop a pre-shot ritual. Dribble the ball 2-3 times before shooting, spin the ball in your hands a couple times, etc. Just do the same thing each time.

15) – Don’t step to the line until the official is ready to give you the ball. If your concentration is broken by anything, step back and set yourself up again.

16) – A good way to relax yourself is to breathe in deeply and exhale. This relaxes your muscles.

17) – If you miss a basketball free throw, step back and set up again. If you make the shot, stay put for the next attempt.

18) – Replicate “pressure” free throw situations in practice. If you’re not practicing 200-300 pressure free throws a day, get to work!

19) – Keep practicing!

20) – Did we mention you better get to practicing?