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The Secret to Mastering Free Throw Shooting

(This is a guest post by Ed Palubinskas)

The free throw shot is the most important skill to learn in basketball, and yet it is still the most inadequately taught. There is a huge lack or void of sophisticated shooting information out there. Just take a look at the national free throw shooting percentages in the pros, (75%) colleges (68%) and high schools about (65%). There is only a 10% difference between high-school and professional ranks.

We are all capable of shooting much better. However, we practice the wrong mechanics. Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

Also, knowledge is not power. Applied knowledge is power. The common denominator that mediocre shooters share is an obvious lack of scientific information applied to mechanical application.

I shoot at 99% and have done so ever since my near fatal accident in Utah in 1981. It took a near death experience to grab “perfection” by the horns and harness its potential. Prior to the accident, I shot 94% all day long. Hospital rehabilitation and wheelchair shooting really opened my eyes to the importance of minor muscles and the finer movements for superior shooting.

I was not born a great shooter. It was a learned behavior that I must apply in every single shot I shoot. One second at a time, forever. Therein lies mastery. ‘Know thyself‘ as my good friend Socrates once said. Then learn all there is to know about scientific principles. You cannot deny the laws of science, ie- gravity.

I can usually get teams to above 90% from the line within 7 days or less, depending on the strength level of the players. My players undergo behavioral modification and elimination of flawed physical actions relating to the specificity of a shot. Like I said, practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.


Ed Palubinskas is a shooting surgeon general and owner of the site He is the Vice President of the National Basketball Shooters Association and holds multiple world records in shooting, including the guinness world record in making 1206 free throws out of 1265 free throws in an hour. He was a third round draft pick in the NBA in 1975 and a 3 time Olympian. He is soon releasing a book called “Taking the Mystery of Free Throw Shooting to Mastery”, which is 300 pages of advice on how to turn your shot into perfection. In 2000-2001, he worked with the world champion L.A. Lakers as a shooting coach, helping Shaquille O’Neal improve his free throw percentage.

Image by Keith Allison

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4 Responses to The Secret to Mastering Free Throw Shooting

  1. bit.Ly September 23, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than
    just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything.

    However imagine if you added some great visuals or
    videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content
    is excellent but with images and videos, this website
    could undeniably be one of the greatest in its field. Terrific blog!

  2. Dante October 7, 2014 at 3:38 am #

    I’ve been surfing on-line more than 3 hours these days,
    but I by no means discovered any interesting article like yours.
    It’s lovely worth sufficient for me. In my view, if all
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  3. Talon June 14, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    It was me a pleasure to read ;D
    Especially I enjoyed the picture of Shaq. The best free frow shooter we’ll see.
    Like Curry said shooting is 100% confidence!

  4. Talon June 14, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    It was me more than a pleasure to read ;D
    I enjoyed espacially the picture of Shaq. The best free frow shooter we’ll see.
    Like Curry said shooting is 100% confidence!

    I forgot to add a shooting tutorial for someone who is interessted:

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