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It’s an old saying amongst basketball enthusiasts that games are won and lost at the free throw line. Many a team have fallen to defeat because of poor foul shooting. Through a lot of diligent practice, players can improve their ability to shoot from the charity stripe.

However, no matter how much some players practice, they still seem to struggle with these seemingly simple shots. Here are three tips to help players become better free throw shooters.

The Focal Point

Where a foul shooter should aim may seem like common sense. A novice player will assume all others simply look at the rim. However, many young shooters will allow their eyes to wander to different points of the rim. This technique can cause sporadic results.

When players focus on anything but a fixed point on the rim, this can automatically cause inconsistency. By establishing a point on the front of the rim, the shooter can become visually locked on his target. This will also help enhance the final tip for improving foul shooting accuracy: the arc.

Relaxed Fingertip Touch

Too many players get nervous when they toe up to the free throw line. When this happens, their bodies becomes tense. This tenseness frequently causes them to bury the ball in their palm. The first thing to remember when stepping up for a free throw is to take a big, deep breath, and relax.

This will create a calming effect on the player’s muscles as well. Now the ball can be gently manipulated with a relaxed fingertip touch. One hand rests gently behind the ball, while the other is positioned on the side.

The side hand is nothing but a guide, so the gentler the touch, the more accurate of a backspin a player can put on the ball. This gentle backspin will create a soft shooting touch. Shooters who develop this skill will find even shots that are slightly off line will benefit from what is known as the “shooters roll.”

Put Some Air Under It

Many young foul shooters seem to think a direct line shot is the most accurate. Even if the aim is on, more than half their foul shots never find their way into the net. The arc of a foul shot is critical. It is virtually impossible to get a good backspin on a ball that is rocketed toward the rim on a straight line.

Mastering the correct arc for a foul shot is going to take practice. Young players should experiment with different arcs. Many coaches enjoy employing a fun game where players see who can shoot the highest arching foul shot. The objective is to appreciate that to make a respectable percentage of free throws, finding the optimal arc is critical.

The most accomplished foul shooter knows that a perfectly placed shot will swish through the net. If the aim, arc, and proper spin are truly precise, the ball will travel through the net and slowly back to the shooters feet. Sure, that is the ultimate goal, but by employing these three techniques, it will begin to happen, and the player’s foul shooting percentages will more than likely improve.