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2 NBA stars give advice on free throw shooting

Posted December. 16, 2010 10:54,   


The U.S. National Basketball Association is full of great free throw shooters, including Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks.

The Dong-A Ilbo conducted e-mail interviews with these two players to find out their secrets at the charity stripe.

Allen’s free throw percentage was 91.3 percent last season, the fifth straight season for him to shoot at least 90 percent. Only three other players have shot better at the free throw line in the NBA.

He said physical balance is most important. “I see young players these days taking free throws too lightly and throwing them up randomly without giving serious thought. Free throws are an art created through perfect balance of the body.”

“With shoulders, arms and the body positioned in a straight line, the width of the shoulders and angle of arms should be always constant.”

The biggest factor in the competitiveness of 2007 regular-season MVP Nowitzki is neither his height(213 centimeters or 7 feet) nor his invincible spirit.

His tendency to take high percentage shots is his secret, and his free throw percentage is among the best in the league. He shot 91.5 percent last season for third among NBA players who scored more than 10 points a game on average (Nowitzki’s average was 25 points).

The first secret for successful free throwing is correct holding of the ball. He said, “The gaps between the fingers of the right hand, which supports the ball from below, should remain constant, and the player should hold it as if wrapping it up.

“Ideally, one needs to keep the gap between the left hand thumb and right hand thumb that support the sides (of the ball), at a distance of 15 to 17 centimeters,” he added. “A player can increase his percentage by gently using the bending of the elbows and knees before a free throw.

Nowitzki said, however, that self-confidence is the most important factor in free throw shooting.