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Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Some thoughts on free throw shooting from Gary Boren:

The starting point is not “How do we do it?”, it’s “What are we trying to do?”

Major misconceptions:

#1 You shoot at a round target

#2 You should aim at the middle

#3 You should aim over the front of the rim

Mental part of free throw shooting:

#1 Stay in the present

#2 Have a short memory on bad things

#3 Have a long memory on good things

Here is an excerpt from a New York Times article written by Benjamin Hoffman on Boren:

Boren begins by filming the players shooting free throws.

“What’s amazing is, these guys have seen miles of film running up and down the court and the coaches are yelling at them, but not one in a hundred has been filmed standing still shooting a free throw,” Boren said.

There are 41 common problems that Boren is looking for in the footage, but he cautions that merely telling a player what he is doing wrong will not help him. He must first deal with the mental barriers that players put up.

“They all think they’re better shooters than they are,” Boren said.

“I’m not trying to make them all look like Mark Price,” Boren said of the former N.B.A. guard of the late 1980s and ’90s, who played mostly with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Price was a 90 percent career free-throw shooter, the best in league history.

“I’m trying to take what they’ve got — because they’ve already shot thousands of shots — and tweak their shot in the most important areas that will give them a shot to get better.”

Even when the player wants to learn, Boren must conquer another barrier.

He tells them: “When I look at you, I see two things — a brain and a bunch of muscles — and the good news is the brain is really clicking. But the bad news is your muscles have been taking a siesta. They like it the old way and they’re not paying attention to any of this stuff. So when we get down there, they’re going to resist.”

Here is the entire article: