Free throws obviously have a big impact on the game’s final score. Making them can seal the deal. Missing them can allow an opponent to creep back, especially late in the second half.
Although only one person at a time shoots free throws, success at the line is a team effort. Why? Because in most cases, the team that attacks the basket and gets to the free throw line more often has a greater chance of winning. (Read Making It to the Pros With Candace Parker.)
Consequently, shooting free throws is not only about an individual player scoring points, but also about putting your team in a favorable position to win. Teams should be visiting the line at least 20 times per game, regardless of their level of competition.
Here are two women’s basketball free throw drills, courtesy of Kansas Basketball Academy Foundation. Both drills simulate game pressure and situations when shooting free throws.
Use this drill towards the end of practice when players are tired. Run it for at least two sets.
Players: 2 to 6
Equipment: basketballs, timer
- Send players to separate baskets
- Set a timer for two minutes
- Instruct shooters to follow their usual routines and not rush their shots
- Whoever makes the most free throws within two minutes wins
- Losing players run defensive shuffles
Fast Faster Free Throw
This drill is more effective midway through practice to simulate the third quarter sluggishness that teams experience from time to time.
Players: at least 3
Equipment: basketballs, stopwatch, whistle
- Players run weave from baseline to half-court and back, finishing with a lay-up (one minute)
- Players run weave from baseline to baseline, finishing with a lay-up (one minute)
- Players go to separate baskets, must make two free throws in a row while fatigued