Kill Free Throw Pressure With Tips From Melo and EB
NBA superstars and free throw aficionados Carmelo Anthony and Elton Brand dish out advice on making free throws easy.
Carmelo Anthony: At the end of the day, when you’re shooting free throws, it’s just you and the goal. You’ve got to block everything else out; nothing else matters.
Elton Brand: I know guys that have terrible percentages from the line, but in practice they make 10 or 20 in a row. But [then] they get to a game and freeze up. I think free throws are mostly muscle memory, and you have to just let your body flow.
CA: You’ve got 10 seconds [on the line] to do your routine, get in rhythm, and then make the shot. When I get up there, I take some deep breaths and think of nothing [else except] making the shot. I do the same thing every time: spin the ball and shoot it.
EB: Any routine that you do can help you relax because you’re comfortable with it. My routine, I’d say, is take a few deep breaths, relax, get my hand formed into the proper placement [on the ball] that I like it in, bend my knees, locate the rim and then follow through and leave my hand up [in the air] until it goes through the net.
CA: I shoot free throws every day. You can never shoot enough free throws.
EB: You have to practice [your routine] over and over again. Shoot 100 to 200 a day [so] it becomes automatic. Not only is it practicing your free throws per se, but it’s also practicing your jump shot form, or your short-range form, because that’s the same shot that you’re using; you’re just not jumping.