NBA Finals, Game 7…Your team is down one point…One
second left… A foul and two free throws coming… Who do
you want at the charity stripe?
Of course, wed like to have a Reggie Miller or a Larry Bird
or even better Michael Jordan at the line to sink those
crucial shots. Chances are, though, theyre not on your team.
So now what? Its up to you!
So how do you build the skill and confidence needed to win
the big games at the charity stripe? 4 simple steps:
Ritualize – Visualize – Optimize – Capitalize.
Free throws are an important part of your game. How many
times have we seen games come down to the final seconds and
either be won or lost at the free throw line? All the time!
So learn these 4 timeless secrets and join the ranks of John
Stockton and become a Great free throw shooter.
Ritualize means you create a specific repeating pattern of
behavior prior to performance, a regular pre-task routine,
which sharpens your focus, concentration and attention.
Reggie Miller would step up to the line holding the ball on
his hip with his left hand and place his feet about 12-14
inches apart with his right foot slightly forward. He then
would raise his arm straight up towards the basket with his
hand bent as if he had just released the ball. Then he would
take three consecutive dribbles, sit back into a slight crouch
and let if fly. Every free throw was exactly the same.
Karl Malone could be seen mouthing something to himself (We
have no idea what he was saying) right before he shot the
ball. Whatever ritual you develop for yourself, know that
its the most effective device for delivering yourself into
the mindset you must be in to sink every free throw.
“Repetition brings familiarity, and familiarity is the
opposite of the unknown.” – Steven Levenkron
Visualize means mentally rehearsing or “seeing” in your mind
what you intend to do before you do it. When you visualize
perfect form and a flawless shot that draws nothing but the
bottom of the net, it becomes exponentially more likely to
Youve heard the saying, “What you see is what you get”,
havent you? Focus on the process and see perfection. Youll
find that visualization is a powerful tool.
“I see a mental movie before I hit every shot.” – Jack
Optimize means allowing yourself to trust in yourself and
your capabilities, to have the self-confidence to pull the
ripcord, knowing the parachute will open. Simply put dont
hesitate! Delay does damage.
Nike said it best with their million dollar slogan: “Just Do
It!” This is when shooting free throws just becomes automatic.
“You must seek to have control and then act with abandon!” –
Capitalize means celebrate your success as well as the
success of your teammates. Pat yourself on the back with
each success at the line. When you make your free throws
savor the success, nourish it, grow it, use it – capitalize on
it. Allow it to build your confidence in other aspects of
your game – defense, offense or whatever. Let this positive
energy ooze out all over you and your team.
“What I do best is share my enthusiasm.” – Bill Gates
With these easy-to-follow principles you can become the
elite free throw shooter of your team. Actually, you can apply
these principles to every part of your game. Whatever you do,
keep on shooting!
Matt & Dave run
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