I caught the TNT game earlier in the week between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns. It was a good game, but the Suns have a ways to go defensively. The Lakers on the other hand look like that Bulls team in 1996 that won 72 games, with a 10-1 start, which means we'll soon be hearing all those comparisons in the weeks and months to come.

But what I wanted to talk about here is two-time MVP Steve Nash, and specifically his free-throw shooting technique. I think it's slightly overlooked by coaches considering how important free-throw shooting is. You win games because of your ability to shoot free-throws as a team. I think the Memphis Tigers from last season is a rather bleak reminder when this problem goes unaddressed. Take a close look at Steve's free-throw shooting routine and technique,

Develop Your Routine:

I liken free-throw shooting to putting in Golf. It's important that each of your players develops a pre-shot routine. As in golf the pre-shot routine is a tool to help players eliminate doubt, focus on execution, and trust their shooting stroke. They not only need a physical routine, but a the mental routine which they do to visualize the ball going into the basket.

For Steve Nash, he has a really simple routine. First is his setup. He takes a step back, then uses his right foot (because he is right-handed) and places it just before the free-throw line splitting the lane in half, his left foot is slightly behind the free-throw line creating a staggered look,

He makes two practice free-throw gestures to reinforce his form technique, then he licks his fingers for better grip on the ball. He receives the ball from the referee, takes three dribbles, gets into his shot pocket and shoots the ball, all in succession, all in one motion.

Now, your players may have a different routine, some may spin the ball into their hands, others wipe their brow, etc... I think whatever the routine is, the important thing is that they do the same thing every single time.


If you watched the video clip above, you'll also enjoy the short blurb in between between Marv Albert and Reggie Miller of TNT talking about Steve Nash and his "non-recruiting" process coming out of Victoria here in Canada, and his illustrious career at Santa Clara before coming into the NBA. Anyways, hope that will get you all coaches thinking a little bit more about free-throw shooting.

For more great info on shooting technique, take a look at Ed Palubinskas's DVD on Becoming a Great Shooter. To discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk with other coaches from around the world.