Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Free Throws: Practice with Pressure

Posted by Chris Langley | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Category: , , , , |

Reading an article about Georgia Tech's recent win over #5 Duke, I thought about how important it is to be a clutch free throw shooter. For those of you who missed Tech's 71-67 victory over Duke, the game came down to Georgia Tech's great free throw shooting in the second half. The Jackets were 17 of 18 from the free throw line in the second half and 7 of 8 from the line in the last 32 seconds. Without this clutch free throw shooting performance the Jackets may have found themselves on the losing end of an important early ACC contest.

You may be thinking, "That's great for Georgia Tech, but how do I become a clutch free throw shooter?" My answer is pretty simple. Practice free throws, as if you were shooting them in a game, by putting pressure on yourself. That's just what Georgia Tech does at practice. When shooting free throws in practice, Georgia Tech plays the "swish game." The game is simple. Free throws only count if a shot is swished, so that puts pressure on the Tech players in practice to make every shot a perfect "swish." If a player makes a shot that is not a "swish" or misses a shot all together, they have to do some kind of punishment (run, push-ups, sit-ups, etc.). Having pressure on them in practices to shoot a perfect "swish," helps the players with free throws in games.

If you want to be a clutch free throw shooter, this is a great way to practice. Practice with pressure. Many times players tell me about how well they shoot free throws in practice, but how they struggle in games. That is because in practice, they don't have the same pressure on them. They don't have fans in the stands, cheerleaders on the sidelines, girlfriends or boyfriends watching, and coaches who may pull them from a game for missing a free throw. They don't practice with pressure! So when it comes to the game, and all those people are watching, and all of that pressure is on them the free throw becomes a lot harder to make. Practice with pressure and shooting free throws in games will be much easier.

-Coach Langley

If you want to read more about Georgia Tech's win over #5 Duke and how the "swish game" played a part in that win, you can view the AJC article by Carroll Rogers here:

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