Monday, December 24, 2007

Stupid Sports Junk

I have been watching a lot of college basketball. It's a great time of year for that. Over the weekend I saw the Memphis/Georgetown game along with Illinois/Missouri. Here is the one thing that gets me. What in the hell happened to the fine art of shooting free throws? Man, I have never seen so many "athletes" clank free throws. Missouri hit 12-23 and the rest of the teams were as bad or worse. Does no one teach this stuff anymore? Or are players just concerned about ho to make 360 degree super slam dunk shots. If Mizzou would have hit at least 67% of their free throws (barely passing), they would have won the game.
This is how I always learned it...

1. Balance yourself at the free throw line. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel to one another.
2. Point both feet and square your upper body toward the basket. Position your feet just behind the line; move one of your feet back an inch or two, if that's comfortable.
3. Hold the ball by using the hand of your nonshooting arm to support and cradle it lightly. Place the middle three fingers of your shooting hand on the seams of the ball, with your thumb and palm acting as supports.
4. Keep your shooting forearm straight, and avoid tilting it to one side. Try to keep the arm that will be releasing the ball oriented toward the basket.
5. Aim for a target just above the rim, and try not to shoot the ball short. A good target is the backboard shooting square drawn above the rim.
6. Bend your knees. An accurate shot doesn't rely on arm strength; it uses leg strength to propel the shooter upward.
7. Shoot in one fluid motion, straightening your knees to strengthen the shot and your arm to provide aim. Release the ball with your fingertips. This allows you more control over your shot and a softer arc because of the backspin you create.
8. Follow through by bending your shooting hand forward, as though you're reaching for the rim.
Tips & Warnings
Practice, practice, practice.
Being comfortable with your shot can make a big difference. If you find a motion that helps, such as adding a little hop while shooting, use it.
Take your time at the line. Most players bounce the ball or spin it in their hands before setting up their free throws.

See? Pretty damn easy. That's why they call it a "free throw". From a guy who used to shoot 87% at the line, I am appalled at the lack of fundamentals that permeate this sport.

1 comment:

dr sardonicus said...

They tell me they can't get the kids to practice free throws anymore. An 87% free throw rate doesn't attract the bling, or get you on SportCenter the way a fancy 360-degree dunk will.

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