Free Throw Shooting

Shooting a free throw: no defense, stopped clock, just 5,8 meters between you and the basket… It should be the easiest shot, but looking at the statistics of the majority players (American, European etc.)… It isn’t! A free throw is the hardest shot of the game. It could seem impossible, but you have much more pressure on this type of “finishing” than in any other else (probably excluding the last shot of the match).

Missing  two, three, four… free shots during a quite important game involves lots of players in losing confidence. That’s what MUST NOT happen!

Being a good free throw shooter entails big vantages:

  • More minutes on the court The coach will surely pick you lots of times, especially in the last minutes of a quarter, when your team is in bonus.
  • Learn to ‘earn fouls’If you are a smart and skillful player, you should be able, or learn quickly, how to be subjected to fouls, in order to get more free throw shots.

So, we have learnt that this type of shot is one of the most important offensive drills, but also one of the most difficult.

Below I give you important tips that will help you scoring easier a free throw shot:

  1. Position your feet → Set your feet shoulder width apart, your toes should point in the direction of the basket, or just a bit turned.
  2. Focus on the basket Aim carefully. Know where the ball is going to hit. Think to yourself that you need it to go right over the rim.
  3. Relax yourself Do a routine –  First off every shooter has a different routine when they step up to the free throw line, whether it is one, two, three dribbles.
  4. Extend bend legs and shoot with your finger pads → In one fluid motion, start your shooting mechanic; snap your wrist to put movement on the ball… FOLLOW THROUGH!
  5. Try not to jump – Give a 45 degrees parabolic trajectory

Steph Curry free throw shot ▶ In this video you can see Curry’s free throw shot mechanic…

  • His routine is very short: just a beef, a dribble and shots.
  • His shooting movement is absolutely fluid:

Eyes on the basket – Elbow in – Snaps well his wrist – The ball rotates and… JUST SPLASH !

Being a great free throw shooter means that you have more than 70/75 % in the game. The most important key is always the same: LOTS OF PRACTICE ! Below I give you the stats of the greatest FT shooters in NBA during 2015-2016 regular season…


Height and Weight

Free Throw %
1.       Stephen Curry 6’3’’, 190 lbs 90.8 %
2.       Jamal Crowford 6’5’’, 195 lbs 90.4 %
3.       Kevin Durant 6’9’’, 240 lbs 89.8 %
4.       Chris  Paul 6’0’’, 175 lbs 89.6 %
5.       Kyrie Irving 6’3’’, 193 lbs

88.5 %



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