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Friday, May 13, 2011

Free Throws, Can We Set Them Free????

Basketball is improving greatly all around the world, both on a professional and amateur level.

But one thing that is not improving in college basketball is the players' ability to shoot free throws.

Sometimes stats can be so boring, but when it comes to free throws, the stats tell a great and dismal story when you look at the numbers on free throws.

Averaging all NCAA teams since 1963, the average shooting percentage for free throw percentage each season has been stagnate at around 69 percent. It hardly ever moves, the lowest average being 67 percent, while the highest average has never gone above 70 percent. In 1965, the average was 69.1 and this past year, the average was  68.9.

Enough on the stats as you get the picture. But when everything else has improved dramatically in the great game of college basketball, free throw shooting has for sure NOT.

Several theories abound, some which might be true and others contain no merit. I once had a top flight coach tell me his team shot free throws at rate of close to 10 percent lower in a game, than his team did in practice. Makes sense, less fatigue and for sure less pressure.

Is standing all alone, 15 feet from the basket with no one guarding you that difficult? It apparently is as many have tried to address the problem and many have failed. There are so-called free throw shooting gurus running around all over the place. Obviously their efforts have worked about as well as HOV lanes on the freeways.

To myself, the problem is two fold:

1. Lack of Practice---- Teams simply do not spend time on free throws and when they do, it is so hard to simulate games situations.

2. Mental Preparation---I think this has so much to do with the lack of improvement in free throw shooting. Much like putting in golf, good free throw shooting and good putting are one in the same. It starts with your head. If you think you are going to make it, you probably will.

Free Throws, Can We Please Just Make Them.

emails always welcome to or comments under the post.

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