Shooting Drills
Drills to Improve Foul Shooting


Effective shooting drills will simulate game situations, and shooting foul shots in a game is a high pressure situation. So, once you have taught players to shoot foul shots, and they have been practicing free throws for a week or two in the preseason and have become comfortable at exercising good Foul Shot Technique, add in a drill every now and again that requires them to shoot free throws under pressure. The more conditioned they become to shooting under pressure, the better prepared they will be for shooting in basketball games.

I like to choose one of the following drills to end practice with on a regular basis - at least 2-3 times a week. Since these drills have the risk of sprinting built in, and you don't want players exhausted in the middle of practice, I run these drills at the end. The other advantage to doing this at the end of practice is that foul shots tend to be most crucial at the end of the game, when players are mostly spent - so they should be prepared to shoot in that situation.

So at the end of practice, I often run one of these drills:


Foul Shooting Drill
One for All

  • Choose one player to shoot foul shots - be sure to choose a different player each time you do this drill

  • All other players spread out along the base line

  • The player shooting foul shots gets five shots. For each shot he misses, the entire team will run suicide

  • Have the shooter shoot all five foul shots before anyone runs, and then have the team run together as many times as is warranted



Foul Shooting Drill
One-and-One


  • Players line up along the baseline.

  • One at a time, players are called to the foul line to shoot. You can simply go down the line - one player after the next, or call jersey numbers, or in alphabetical order - whichever way you want

  • Each player will take two foul shots. If:

    • he makes both, he is finished and goes off to the sideline to begin the strength training exercises that we finish practice with.

    • he makes only one shot, he goes back to the baseline with the rest of the team, and on the coach's whistle the entire team runs a wind sprint the length of the floor and back. The shooter remains on the baseline with the rest of the team until all players have shot and the drill is over

    • he makes neither shot, he returns to the baseline with the rest of the team, and on the coach's whistle the entire team runs a suicide. The shooter remains on the baseline with the rest of the team until all players have shot and the drill is over.


    Generally, I'll do the first drill if I'm pressed for time, and the second drill if I have 10 minutes or so at the end of the practice.

    I have the entire team run when one player misses a shot in these drills. If a player is truly trying to make his foul shots, practicing and honestly attempting to improve, the team will know this and should be supportive. I've never had an instance where any of my players were truly upset about having to run suicides because a teammate missed an honest attempt at a free throw.

    And it's a team game - if one team member succeeds or fails, the entire team succeeds or fails.

    Incorporate these shooting drills into your practices. The foul shot is one of the most important shots in the game of basketball - help your players become good shooters.





    "We're shooting 100 percent - 60 percent from the field and 40 percent from the free-throw line."

    - Norm Stewart





    Looking for something more visual?

    Try UMass Head Coach Derek Kellogg's video package of drills


    eBasketballDrills