Why Can’t They Make a Free Throw?

I enjoyed ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh’s deep dive into the age-old question of why bigger players seem to be such notoriously bad free throw shooters. An interesting read for coaches because of the different directions Haberstroh takes the question – from psychology to release points to practice/game slippage to Navy SEALs training to the danger of thinking about the consequences of failure. Really good stuff that causes you to examine your approach to a player on your roster who might really struggle from the free throw line.

On the topic of free throws, I recommend the following items:
-Book: Mastering the Art of Free Throw Shooting by Adam Filippi (a blind recommendation based on how much I enjoyed Filippi’s Shoot Like the Pros)
-Podcast: The Big Man Can’t Shoot by Malcolm Gladwell (while based on free throw shooting, the podcast isn’t really about free throw shooting at all, but rather our preference to fail conventionally rather than taking a risk that might prove beneficial)

Putting in golf is about as similar an act as there could be to free throw shooting. The essential challenge is to stand before a crowd, size up a target and move your body in a carefully rehearsed way. The sin is surprise. The virtue is in mastering a motion you can replicate no matter the circumstances. And practice is famously the bedrock of succeeding at it.


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