Connect with us

Basketball Free Throws: Techniques and Tips for Success

Basketball Free Throws: A Closer Look at the “Charity Stripe”

Basketball is a fast-paced game where each team tries to outscore the other by putting the ball in the basket. While dunks and three-pointers often steal the show, free throws – those unguarded shots taken from the line – are a fundamental and crucial part of the game. Here’s a comprehensive guide on basketball free throws.

Summary of Basketball Free Throws

  • Purpose: Awarded after certain types of fouls to provide an opportunity to score.
  • Position: Taken from the free throw line, often termed the “charity stripe.”
  • Value: 1 point per successful free throw.
  • Procedure: Players line up along the lane, awaiting potential rebounds.

Breaking Down the Free Throw

1. When are Free Throws Awarded?

  • Shooting Fouls: When a player is fouled during the act of shooting and the shot doesn’t go in.
  • Technical Fouls: Automatic free throws are awarded for certain unsportsmanlike behaviors.
  • Bonus Situations: After a team exceeds a set number of team fouls, the opposing team is awarded free throws.

2. The Technique

  • Stance: Players typically stand with feet shoulder-width apart, square to the basket.
  • Grip: The ball should rest on the fingertips, with the shooting hand under the ball and the guide hand on the side.
  • Follow Through: Often referred to as the “goose neck”, the wrist should snap down, fingers pointing towards the basket.

3. The Players Around the Lane

During free throws, players from both teams position themselves along the lane lines to potentially rebound a missed shot. The remaining players stand beyond the three-point line.

4. Mental Aspect

Free throws can often come at crucial moments, making them psychologically challenging. Players frequently develop routines to maintain focus and consistency.

Historical Notables

  • “Hack-a-Shaq”: A strategy where teams intentionally fouled poor free throw shooter Shaquille O’Neal, forcing him to the line.
  • Record Holders: NBA legends like Steph Curry and Steve Nash boast some of the highest career free throw percentages.


Q: Why is it called the “charity stripe”? A: It’s a colloquial term, suggesting that free throws are like “free” points or a charitable gift, given the absence of defenders.

Q: How far is the free throw line from the basket? A: The free throw line is 15 feet away from the backboard in standard professional games.

Q: Can players jump during a free throw? A: Players can jump, but they cannot cross the free throw line until the ball hits the rim or the backboard.

Q: Who holds the record for the most consecutive free throws made in the NBA? A: As of my last training data in 2021, Michael Williams holds the record with 97 consecutive free throws made during the 1992-93 NBA season.

In Conclusion

While they may appear simple, free throws are an art form that requires a blend of technique, practice, and mental fortitude. Often, games are won or lost at the free throw line, emphasizing its significance in basketball.