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FTS on FTs
FTS on FTs
Jim Meadows
Published by Swampy Meadows
FTS on FTs

BEVERLY HILLS (MI) –- I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of throwing up in my mouth while hearing/watching the Flyers clank their free throws at crucial points in a game. UD shot 6 of 17 or a dismal 35% vs. the Dukes and it literally cost them the game. The guys didn’t do much better vs. the Owls, hitting 12 of 22 for 55%, but still managed to make some of them when it mattered. On the season they are shooting an abysmal 65% as a squad. That simply ain’t getting it done and if the Flyers want to make it to the Big Dance they have to change and they have to improve now!

That got me to thinking:

Has anybody ever told these guys how they should approach freebies?

I would certainly hope so, but if not, allow me.

Here’s the FTS FT checklist:

-- establish a routine. Whatever you do, do it exactly the same each and every time you step to the line, including how many times you dribble the ball. Free throws are all about routine, relaxation and muscle memory.

-- set a good foundation. FT shooting, like any shot attempt, begins with the legs. Whether you prefer a wide stance (like Senator Craig) or a narrow one (my personal preference, with my feet slightly pigeon-toed) get your puppies set before you do anything else, just as you would in golf.

-- pick a target. Where are you aiming? Back of the rim? Front of the rim? Somewhere in the middle? Choose a target and as golf teacher extraordinaire Harvey Penick always told his students “take dead aim.”

-- find the seams. Center the ball in your hands and spread the fingers of your shooting hand on a seam so that your palm is elevated off of the ball.

-- grip the ball with your fingertips. In watching Charles and London attempt FTs, they are shooting with their whole hand, including their palms, on the ball and not with just their fingertips. Somebody needs to tell them to change. I know they make shooting gloves that basically force you do to this.

-- initiate the shot from the same place. Do you like to start low, down around your knees or up by your chest like me? Wherever you prefer to begin, shoot from the same place every time.

-- relax and take a deep breath. You cannot make free throws if you are tight. Relax, let it flow and let it go.

-- dribble. I always bounce the ball twice before I shoot. Pick a number and stick with it.

-- shoot from your tiptoes. Watch the truly great FT shooters -– they do not stand flat- footed, they shoot from their toes.

-- keep your elbow in. Don’t let your elbow fly out or it will pull the shot to the side.

-- clear your mind. Don’t think, shoot.

-- follow thru. Once the ball leaves your fingertips, your wrists should continue in motion until the shot swishes. Hell, if it helps, exaggerate your follow thru and hold it, like Wesley Snipes did as Sidney in “White Men Can’t Jump” –- it worked for him. “It’s ****ed hard work lookin’ this pretty!”

-- wash, rinse, repeat. The whole process should take a minimum amount of time and be repeatable, time after time.

-- practice. I’m an 85% FT shooter. How do I know? Because I’ve taken thousands of ‘em, in increments of 10 and I almost always end up with either 8 or 9 out of 10. There is no reason in the world that this team should be shooting less than 75% as a squad.

That’s it “From the Swamp.”
You can email me at: swampy@udpride.com
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By San Diego Flyer on 02-16-2008, 08:26 PM
The first half of the year we shot them ok when we had to, and when we didn't have to we were very poor. Now, we are just really poor. I don't get it. How can a team get worse as the season goes on?

Sea Bass is right. Poor shooters generally shoot ft's poorly.

Your menu of remedies, however good, has been kicked around on here for most of the season in one form or another.

Blows your mind.
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By UDEE79 on 02-19-2008, 03:05 PM
Swampy what is your opinion of the Rick Barry "granny shot" free throw style. From a mechanical point of view it seems like there is so much less that can go wrong. The balanced throw should eliminate the left or right error giving you one less thing to worry about.
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By Swampy Meadows on 02-19-2008, 04:43 PM

It worked great for Rick Barry, not so much for Wilt Chamberlain.

The only problem I see with it is that underhanded is not a shot that you would normally launch in a game, where as the form involved in a FT is similar to a mid-range shot.
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By UDEE79 on 02-19-2008, 05:04 PM
Originally Posted by Swampy Meadows View Post

It worked great for Rick Barry, not so much for Wilt Chamberlain.

The only problem I see with it is that underhanded is not a shot that you would normally launch in a game, where as the form involved in a FT is similar to a mid-range shot.
But thats the point, the reason you take the ball up high to shoot is because it is harder to block. Thats not an issue with the free throw (hence the word "free").

If not a granny shot then a modified chest pass. any shooting motion that is symmetrical about the ball has to be better than the imitation of the jump shot that players use now. Its a matter of time until some coach somewhere insists on a symmetrical free throw and gets good results and starts a trend.
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