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Basketball Drills - Free-Throw Shooting Drills

By James Gels, from the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook, @ http://www.coachesclipboard.net

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Free-Throw Shooting Drill #1. "1-and-1"

Have your team break up into pairs, or threes, and use all the baskets for free-throw shooting. Instead of shooting 5, 10 or 20 consecutive free-throws, have them shoot like in a game situation, shooting the "1 and 1". If the shooter misses the first of the "1 and 1", he/she runs a lap and doesn’t get the second shot. If the first shot is made, but the second is missed, another lap is run. Each player has to make a certain number of free-throws (maybe 10). Shooters who miss a lot, will be running a lot of laps and this is good for simulating game fatigue (and the pressure to make each shot).

Free-Throw Shooting Drill #2. "Plus 2, Minus 2"

Have shooters pair up (or in 3's). Each player will shoot sets of two free-throws. If the shot is swished (nothing but net), he/she gets +1. A miss is -1. A shot that is made but not swished is 0. Any time one player gets to +2, his partner(s) must do five push-ups. Any time a player gets to -2, he/she must do five push-ups. Do the drill for 5 minutes.

Free-Throw Shooting Drill #3. "Shoot 10"

Have shooters pair up (or in 3's). Each player will shoot ten free-throws. This is more of an individual drill, and each shooter's goal is to make 8 of 10 free-throws. If he fails to make 8, he must do ten push-ups, or run laps.

Free-Throw Shooting Drill #4. "Shooter-Rebounder-Runner"

This drill attempts to simulate the game situation where the free-shooter is fatigued. Use all your baskets and break the players up into groups of three. At each basket, there is one shooter, one rebounder and one "runner". The shooter shoots two free-throws, while the rebounder rebounds for the shooter, and the runner sprints a lap.

After shooting the two free-throws, the shooter now becomes the rebounder, the rebounder becomes the runner, and the runner (who is now tired from running) becomes the shooter of the next two shots. Continue this rotation.

You can continue running this drill for a specified time period, or until each player has shot a specified number of free-throws (say 20).

Free-Throw Shooting Drill #5. "team competition"

Do this drill at the end of practice when players are tired. We want to simulate a game situation. Use both ends of the court, half of the team on one basket, the other half on the other basket. Tell the kids we are pretending the game is tied at 50-50. Then first player in each line will shoot the first of a 1 and 1 free throw. If the first is made, then the player shoots the bonus. If the other team misses the first shot, they may not shoot again until the other team has completed the bonus shot. Keep track of the score with each free throw. Then the next player in each line does the 1 and 1, and so forth. The first team to say 60 is the winner. If there is time, play the best 2 out of 3 games. The losers have to run. A player from the losing team who made all her free throws can be rewarded by not having to run.

Note: make sure each player gets to shoot...the above example is for 5 players on each team. If you only have four on each team, make the starting score 52 - 52 and the winning score 60, so each player gets to shoot. If you have 12 players, use 48 - 48 as the starting score, etc.

Free-Throw Shooting Drill #6. "6 In-A-Row"

This drill puts some pressure on the shooter. Use all of your baskets and have two or three players at each basket. Set a time limit of 5 minutes. Each player must make 6 consecutive shots in that time span. Players who do not succeed will run or do push-ups at the end. Each shooter gets two shots to start with. If the first is missed, he/she gets another attempt. If the second is missed, another player becomes the shooter. If a shot is made, he/she keeps shooting until either 6 consecutive free-throws are made, or until he/she misses. If a shot is missed, his/her score resets back to zero, and another player becomes the shooter. Once a shooter completes 6 in-a-row, he/she is finished and helps rebound and encourage others. If a basket becomes emtpy (both shooters are finished), other shooters may use that hoop. For varsity boys, we make it 8 in-a-row.

Free-Throw Shooting Drill #7. "Guts Free-Throws"

This is another drill that puts pressure on your shooters and tries to prepare them for the fan distractions that occur in a game. Have all of your players line up along the endline on one end of the floor. Starting out, have the first player in the line step forward to the free-throw line while teammates stay along the endline. He/she must shoot two free-throws. Coaches, assistants will yell and try to distract the shooter. Here is the pressure... each time a shot is missed, the entire team runs one full-court lap. If the shooter misses the first shot, everyone runs and he/she must return and shoot the second one... another miss and everyone runs. Go thru the entire line so that each player shoots two. This is a tough drill, both for the pressure and the conditioning.

Free-Throw Shooting Drill #8. "80%"

This team shooting drill requires your team to make 80% of their free-throws, or they all have to do pushups or run if they fail to hit the 80% target or better. If you have a youth team, or a team that struggles more with free throws, you might have to change the 80% to something less (70 or 75%), but still realizing that in games, there is a drop-off from what you usually shoot in practice. Use all the baskets. Each player shoots ten free throws, keeping track of how many he/she makes. When players finish their ten, each player will inform the assistant of his score. The assistant tallies up all the free throws made (my iphone has a calcuator) and divides by the total number of shots to get the percentage. For example, last night our 13 players made 92/130, only 71%, so they all ran.


Swish Basketball Shooting Video
The Swish Video/DVD and the new "Swish-2" DVD, by shooting coach Tom Nordland. This is an excellent shooting DVD for players and is a great teaching tool for coaches wanting to learn how to correctly teach shooting form.
More info...

See this video (courtesy of Tom Nordland) and the wonderful shooting form of this young shooter who was taught using Tom Nordland's Swish method. It shows a progression from close to the basket and eventually to the free-throw line, always with great form.



Helpful DVDs:


Steve Alford - The Shot: Shooting Drills & Techniques
Steve Alford - The Shot: Shooting Drills & Techniques
with Steve Alford, University of New Mexico Head Coach; former University of Iowa Head Basketball Coach, and former NCAA All-American, NBA guard, and Olympian.

Coach Alford covers every aspect of shooting in this video. Building your Shot begins at the free throw line with the catch and pivot, proper alignment and a shooter's attitude. Coach Alford then demonstrates simple techniques to expand your free throw into jump shots and shooting off the dribble. Learn how to correct "a flying elbow" and a poor pivot. Focus on correct alignment with Coach Alford's four-point checklist and develop the proper attitude to become a successful shooter. Finally, these principles are put to work in various shooting drills... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD - Video Store!



How to Coach Free Throw Shooting
How to Coach Free Throw Shooting
with Gary Boren, Dallas Mavericks Shooting Coach. In 2003, the Dallas Mavericks set an NBA record of 49 straight free throws in a playoff game!

The free throw is the single most under-practiced art in basketball and yet, year after year, it comes up as one of the most influential keys to a team winning or losing. Coach Boren covers every aspect of how to coach shooting from catching the ball to the proper alignment and finally, the attitude of the shooter. The techniques that Boren demonstrates are revolutionary in the science of shooting. Some key points of that are discussed are the importance of technique, seeing the perfect shot, shooting mechanics, the importance of your mind, and knowing how to become a scorer... (more info)

Price: $150.00
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD - Video Store!