Good foul shooting should be easy. After all, they call it a "free throw!" Coaches go through great detail and practice to "get players" open for an uncontested 15 footer. Yet, on the free throw line, some players have amazing difficulty even though they are not guarded.
The key, in my mind, is confidence, concentration, technique, and repetition. First, find a technique you are comfortable with and practice that technique over and over again. Don't change it. The repetition works.
Be confident! Imagine the ball going in before you shoot. Picture it swishing. Practice seeing the ball go in even by imagining it late at night.
Concentrate-Take a deep breath before shooting, use the same routine, look at the rim. Block everything thing else out.
Focus on your follow thru after shooting. Exaggerate it so you are "grabbing the rim". If you do miss, learn from it. If the ball was short to the rim, bend your knees more and get more power. If the spin was sideways, follow thru more to the rim. Release the ball with your finger tips. If the ball hit the back of the rim, get a softer, higher arc on your shot. A miss is not a bad thing. It tells you how to correct your shot the next time.
Here are the key elements. Please look at the illustrations to better see what I mean.
- Hold the ball in your fingertips, not the palm of your hand. Get back spin by flicking your finger tips and grabbing for the rim in your imagination.
- Hold the ball with your arm and elbow under the ball making a right angle or "L" shape.
- Spread your feet shoulder length and be balanced. Some people like to have their shooting foot slightly forward.
- Form a routine-Take a few dribbles, look at the rim, take a deep breath, push off your toes and release.
- Picture the shot going in before shooting.
- Follow through
- Correct your shot when needed.
Remember, routine, concentration, follow thru, confidence, SWISH!