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Old 07-31-2007, 12:08 AM   #16
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Default Re: why do some players never improve their FT percentage?

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Originally Posted by RandomBalla55
Oh yes, that too. Crowd noise, pressure, FATIGUE as well. All of you cats saying you can make these at the park, well thats good. 20,000 people looking at you and your tired too?

This post and mine really are the real answers. Mental toughness, fatigue, lack of form, as well as laziness really are the answers.

well I've done it in pressure situations too, when playing organized 5 on 5 ball tournaments... If you have good form, I think the only thing that should really be a factor is fatigue...
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:17 AM   #17
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Default Re: why do some players never improve their FT percentage?

Many NBA players hardly improve any basketbal skill, so foul shooting isn't an exception. Foul shooting is generally rather consistent, if you look at the careers of most players and at the league averages. It's about the only constant in the game of basketball.

Most poor free throw shooters are big men, who have large hands and are generally less nimble and coordinated. It can be very difficult for these players to shoot from that distance. Why not ask them to bring the ball down the court, dribble between their legs and pass behind their backs while we're at it. It's very hard.

Some of the players with the worst FT% in NBA history
Ben Wallace - .418 career FT%. He's a 6'9" center and a defensive specialist. Additionally, he has a good excuse, from what I hear and as another poster pointed out: his wrists go dead when he shoots foul shots or dunks the ball particularly hard. If Wallace were to improve his foul shooting, he'd probably have to take an untraditional path, which might still result in a subpar FT%. I wonder if he's tried undearhand set shots before.

Chris Dudley - .458 career FT%. A 6'11" center who wasn't much in general offfensively.

Wilt Chamberlain - .511 career FT%. Wilt is a great example of a "head case" at the charity stripe. He tried everything--taking off from the line and dunking foul shots, underhand, standing far off to one side of the rim, standing back to the top of the half circle, concentrating on improving his foul shooting, to not worrying about it, taking his time, to just tossing it up there, etc. At best, he still only had a .613 FT%.

Shaquille O'Neal - .525 career FT%. He's even bigger than Wilt, if not quite the head case. His hands are huge. The FT coach of the Mavs (I think) also said that O'Neal wasn't a willing pupil. Any which way, Shaq never had much of a chance of being a good foul shooter.

Furthermore, the Mavs might be the only team with a FT coach. If other teams follow suit and apply similar teachings, we might see a consistent rise in league FT% for the first time in NBA history since after the league's first couple of seasons.

What are some of the teachings?

1) First lesson is that foul shooting isn't mental. It's entirely mechanical. All you have to do is have proper mechanics (which many don't--Tim Duncan is a great example as another said) and then focus on executing them properly (which is where making it "mental" gets in the way). Roudy crowds and being exhausted factor against proper executon, as well. It's not easy.

2) Forget superstitions. Slapping teammates hands is a bad idea--you're only getting more sweat on your hands and thus less control of the ball. Dribbling the ball, taking the ball around your body, praying are all only useful in that it calms you down to focus on proper execution of proper mechanics--nothing else. Teammates: you can't help.

The proper mechanics involve lifting yourself a bit with your toes and otherwise shooting a balanced and arching shot, as simple as that sounds. Smaller and softer hands are going to help a lot with the arch, and a smaller body is going to help with the lift and balance. You need to use both hands, too, Shaq.

Or, maybe Rick Barry is right. Barry stresses the same things, except that the shot is underhand rather than overhead. I think this does actually give better rotation to the ball if done properly. I don't do it and most don't because you'd have to completely reteach yourself and the results wouldn't be all that significant. But if any of you out there are teaching a child how to shoot foul shots, you should consider the Barry way.
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:20 AM   #18
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Default Re: why do some players never improve their FT percentage?

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Originally Posted by DirtyB41
I don't think it's the easiest shot in the game, it's often harder. Have you ever tried to shoot free throws with 20,000 people screaming at you? It's difficult. When you're shooting during game action, the crowd isn't much of a factor; you're focused in and you can't really hear them. But when you know it's all eyes on you, and the crowd noise kicks up a notch, it's not as easy as it would seem.

I was watching a playoff game between the Sonics and the Rockets the other day, and the camera showed the player from his back when shooting his free throw. It was amazing how distracting the crowd behind the glass backboard can be, with all the noise and random movement with those air tubes. Hardly a surprise that in the fourth quarter the Rockets only made 2 FTs.


In regards to D-Fence said:

I've got a slight superstition about my free throws. Every single time, I bounce the ball off the ground twice, look up at the basket, and when shooting, make sure my shooting hand just grazes my forehead and then release it. If I get one of them wrong I usually miss the free throw.

Last edited by brantonli : 07-31-2007 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:46 AM   #19
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Default Re: why do some players never improve their FT percentage?

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Originally Posted by brantonli
In regards to D-Fence said:

I've got a slight superstition about my free throws. Every single time, I bounce the ball off the ground twice, look up at the basket, and when shooting, make sure my shooting hand just grazes my forehead and then release it. If I get one of them wrong I usually miss the free throw.

Yeah, because superstions make foul shooting mental. You make the superstition part of the mechanics; so without the superstition, you're mentally unfocused on the mechanics. All superstitions do is make foul shooting more difficult (more procedures to carry out). Of course, once you put that waste into your routine, it's difficult to take it out successfully. On the other hand, superstitions like that are generally just a coping method to be able to execute things properly, so it's useful in a way, but still excessive.

The last time I change my foul shooting routine, I had a subpar percentage for months. But after that--where I was more focused on just the mechanics--my percentage has been better than before.
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