Free Throw in Basketball


Free Throws in basketball? Definition.

In basketball , a free throw is a type of shot with specific characteristics . It is carried out from the same place always.

How far is the free throw line? The line is located 4.60 meters from the basket and 5.80m from the baseline.

When it´s made?

We will have the opportunity to take free throws when we have received a foul and it has been signaled by the referees.

The foul can be:  personal, unsportsmanlike or technical.

You have to be clear about one thing… which of the below applies to the player:

  1. The offensive player is in the act of shooting when he receives the foul (and the referee interprets it that way), he will be awarded with free throws.

2. He was in action for 2 points, then he will have a shot at 2 free throws, and if he was in action for 3 points, it will be 3 shots.

3. There was no act of shooting when the foul is made , no free throws will be taken.


In this case once a team has received 5 total fouls collectively in the current quarter, then the person fouled will  be given a shot at free throws.

To clarify:

If we are fouled by dribbling the ball, we will not be awarded with free throws… UNLESS in that quarter the opposing team accumulates 5 or more fouls, with which we would automatically go to the free throw line.

How much is a free throw worth?

It will always add 1 point to the score. 


The only thing that changes is the number of free throws we shoot.

As we can see, it is the shot (when successfully made) that adds the least to the score in basketball.

But, this does not make it any less important!

There are typically many attempted free throws in a game making them extremely important. 

A bad percentage in a team can weigh heavily on results throughout the season.

This is why shots taken from the free throw line are usually one of the most practiced shots in training, both at an amateur and professional level . 

So we will focus on how to shoot the ball correctly below.

Free throw distance and measurements.

The free throw line will be located, as we mentioned earlier, 4.60 meters from the backboard and 5.80 meters from the end line.

In case you’re curious, the free throw line is located in a circle with a diameter of 3.6m.

Free throws are important. Rules

Shooting free throws in basketball is an important aspect of the game, as it can result in two free throws for the offensive player´s team if the opposing team commits a foul.

A technical foul also results in one free throw being awarded to the offensive player´s team. The free throw percentages of a team can greatly impact the outcome of a game, as a missed free throw can cost the team a valuable point. A free throw attempt is worth one point and can be crucial in close games.

The free throw line, also known as the point line, is located 15 feet away from the basket, and players have to shoot the ball from this spot. Free throw shots are different from field goals as the player is not allowed to move while taking the shot.

A substitute free throw shooter can also be chosen in case the regular free throw shooter is not performing well.

Biomechanics analysis of the free throw.

We are going to explain the biomechanics analysis of the basketball free throw technique in a summarized but complete way.

•Both feet of the player must be flat on the ground.

•Your dominant hand will be the shooting hand to throw the ball and should  the ball should be touched with the fingers, avoiding catching it completely with the palm of the hand.

•The other hand will be supportive, the thumbs of both hands should form the letter T.

•The elbow of the dominant hand/ shooting hand will form a right angle between the forearm and the arm.

•When starting the shot, the knees should be bent to use the momentum from both the legs and the rest of the body.

•We will raise the ball throughout the body up to the height of the head, where the dominant hand will be the one that will launch the ball with the help of the other hand that will give stability to the shot.

•When we throw the ball, we must coordinate the extension of the elbow and knees. Direction will be given primarily by the index finger  and the finger pads should be the last to touch the ball.

The phases of the free throw attempt are as follows.

Preparatory phase: the player is in a straight position and the ball is held with the fingertips. The elbow should be close to 90º. We finish this phase with the knee bend.

Main or strength phase: We will start by raising the ball to the height of the head. This is where the elbow of the shooting arm performs the extension.

Final phase: begins when the ball has stopped making contact with our hands and ends with the shooter’s feet falling back to the ground.

How to shoot or improve your free throw.

There are many specific methods or exercises to improve your free throw. One or the other will give you better results.

The tips that I can give you, as a basketball player, are the following:

Practice a lot. Yes, ALWAYS FOCUSED. See where you fail and correct it. When you make a few baskets, stick with what you are doing well, assimilate it and write it down. You don’t want to forget your mechanics that made your shot so successful the day prior.

Cast with one hand. This is good to understand that it must be the dominant hand that gives the correct direction to the ball.

Focus on the breath. One technique that helps me is taking a deep breath before shooting and holding the air while I throw (a technique similar to that of snipers)!

Confidence. Do not shrink your arm, THINK POSITIVE. Know that you are going to score, and shoot decisively

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