Free Throw Accuracy
We’ve all heard it before, whether from a coach, teammate, parent, or made-for-tv movie. “They’re called FREE throws!” Getting to the charity strike can play a big role in the outcome of any game, and FT percentage is a highly valued stat.
Improving free throw accuracy should be a focus for any hoops player–young, old, or in between. When it comes to free throws, you know what they say: “Practice makes perfect!”
What sorts of things should you concentrate on when looking to improve free throw accuracy?
One big area of focus is “quiet eye training,” described in detail in this article.
From Improving Free Throw Accuracy with Quiet Eye Training:
“Step 1. Step up to the free throw line with your head up, looking at the basket. Bounce the ball three times and say to yourself “nothing but net.” By the way, this is what Harle and Vicker said. In my experience, you can use any ritual. Mine was to bounce the ball twice and mentally say “I’m a 71-year-old man” (at the time a 71-year-old man held the world record for consecutive free throws). The key is to do the same thing every time. It’s even more key to take a look at the rim; you can’t mess with that.
Step 2. Hold the ball as if you’re about to shoot and stare at the front, middle, or back of the rim for 1.5 seconds. Keep your gaze on the one chosen spot, and say to yourself “Sight. Focus.” If you prefer you may repeat your version of “nothing but net.” It does not matter which part of the rim you choose, but you must pick one spot and stick with it. Do not choose anything else as your focus spot. People who look at the backboard or the side of the rim, for example, increase their chances of missing the shot.
Step 3. After your 1.5 seconds of visual focus on the rim (while saying “Sight. Focus.”) take a quick, fluid shot. It’s OK that the ball will block your view of the room as you shoot. Many players mess this up because they can’t wait to be done taking a free throw. Relax. Don’t rush it! Stare at the rim for 1.5 seconds.”
Read the article for the full rundown!