Clutch Free Throw Shooting: How to Get Better Under Pressure

basketball mindset shooting tips Apr 28, 2021
make clutch free throws

The hardest wide open shot in sports:

How To Make Pressure Free Throws

Time and time again, basketball games are won or lost at the free throw line in the closing moments of games.

Why is the free throw so hard to make? It's, well, free. 

But with so much pressure to succeed, to make your free throws to help your team clinch a win, clutch free throws are easily one of the most difficult shots to make in basketball.

Do you struggle at the free throw line when in pressure situations? You're not alone. Shooting a wide open shot from 15 feet with all eyes on you and the game in your hands is much more difficult than it looks.

But you CAN become more clutch at the free throw. Clutch is a skill. And because it is a skill, it can be learned and improved.

Read on to learn 3 tips for becoming a more clutch free throw shooter so you can knock down pressure free throws with ease and help your team win games.

You might like: How To Shoot Better In Basketball - 13 Tips >> 


Tip #1 - Believe You're Going To Make It

The mindset you have in pressure moments plays a major role in your ability to shoot well under pressure. For starters, you have to be confident and have confident thoughts. Any sort of doubt in your mind as you shoot pressure free throws will GREATLY DECREASE your chances of making them.

On the other hand, believing that you're going to make your free throw greatly increases your chances of making them. 

Whenever you're standing at the free throw line, if you notice yourself having any feelings of doubt -- "I don't think I'm going to make these." -- ignore that doubt. Don't believe that doubt. And quickly replace that doubt with a more confident thought.

"Wait, yes, I can make these." "I will make these."

It's not a guarantee that you'll make them just because you believe you will, but like I mentioned, your belief will greatly increase the chances of the ball going in.

By the way, your mindset after you miss a free throw is just as important as your mindset before you take one.

Read also: How To Shoot More Consistently In Basketball >>


Tip #2 - Be Present

One of the hardest things to do at the free throw line in a big moment is to stay focused. It's very easy to get caught up in the pressure of the moment.

It's easy to get distracted by the crowd, by fans booing, or even by opponents talking trash.

At the same time, there are mental distractions too. 

Hypothetical thoughts like: "I better not miss these." "If I miss then we'll lose."

Or doubts or fears that are creeping into your mind.

To increase your chances of making your pressure free throws, you have to stay focused and stay present. Stay in the moment.

You can become more present by trying to limit how much you look around. Try to just pretend it's you and the basket.

Another way to become more present is to bring your attention to your routine. Really see and feel the ball as you dribble it or spin it in your hands. Really hear the ball bounce on the floor. 

By using your senses like this, you will bring your attention fully into the present moment. This will help you get locked in and ready to knock down your free throws.

Read also: How To Be More Clutch In Basketball >>


Tip #3 - Quiet Your Mind

This is really an extension of the second tip, but to improve your clutch free throw shooting, you have to quiet your mind when you're at the free throw line.

That's not to say you're not thinking at all, but try to limit how many thoughts are flying around your head. Tons of thoughts can be distracting. They can take your attention away from the task at hand.

Try not to overthink your form when shooting pressure free throws. You've practiced over and over up until this point. Your body knows what it needs to do to make this free throw. Let it happen without over-instruction.

And just like before, try to ignore any fear or doubt that pops into your head. Not only will they decrease your chances of making your free throws, but they'll be distracting too. Fear and doubt are mental distractions.

Take a few deep breaths, quiet your mind, and you'll be making pressure free throws with ease.

You also might like: 3 Tips to Increase Your Shooting Confidence >>


Make More Clutch Free Throws

In this video:

  • Believe you're going to make it
  • Be present
  • Quiet your mind

 More from Basketball Mindset Training:

• Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo Free Throw Form Breakdown >>

• Watch: Ben Simmons Free Throw Form Breakdown >>

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