Improve Free Throw Accuracy With Eyes Closed Technique
Yes, you saw it right. Closing your eyes is a great method to perfect the shooting motion and create AWESOME confidence. How? It’s all about “feeling” what your body is doing. Once the eyes are closed, the sense of feeling is heightened and you get great feedback as to how your body is performing – balance, rhythm, how the ball comes off the fingers. Whether you are looking to take your shot to the next level OR if you want to get out of a shooting slump, shooting with your eyes closed is a great technique that will help.
IMPORTANT: See the BONUS Benefit at the end of the article.
What You Should Feel
BALANCE: Feel if the weight is equal on both feet and slightly forward. When weight distribution is right and you feel ready, take the shot. DON’T HOLD BACK. When you decide to shoot – go for it. Think about making the index finger end high above the one inch focus point in the middle of the rim closest to you.
RHYTHM: Feel how the body uncoils throughout the shooting motion. It should be smooth and without hesitation.
BODY: Feel the body going straight up. It should not fall backward or lean to either side.
SHOOTING HAND: Feel how the ball is held.
The thumb and 5th fingers should be slightly pinching the ball.
Feel how the ball comes off your fingers. It should come off the index and middle fingers last.
NON-SHOOTING HAND: You should be able to feel if you have a clean release from the off-hand. No fingers should be pushing or dragging on the side of the ball. The thumb should NOT be pushing. If it does, use The SHOOTING STRAP IMMEDIATELY.
What if there are problems?
Anytime you feel something is wrong, try to correct it while shooting with the eyes closed. If the problem cannot be corrected, stop and perform air shots while “looking” at the problem area. You need 10 perfect repetitions in a row. Then perform 10 perfect air shots in a row by “thinking” about the problem area.
When you have completed 20 perfect reps, go back to the basket and begin shooting free throws with the eyes closed in order to “feel” if the problem is solved. Don’t be concerned if the shot is made or missed. Focus on performing the shot the right way. When you do things the RIGHT way, you will soon have more success.
BONUS Benefit – The Affect of CHALLENGE
By this time in the season, athletes tend to take their shooting mechanics for granted. To help refocus and at the same time energize practice, challenge them to see how many FT’s they can make with their eyes closed. It will OPEN THEIR EYES as to what they are doing RIGHT and WRONG.
A contest that gives everyone a chance to improve is “Best Score PLUS One”. Every person must try to better THEIR own best score by one or have a pre-determined consequence.
Another contest is to divide up in teams and each member shoots one FT with the eyes closed. The losers have a pre-determined consequence.
What’s a Good Goal?
A good goal is to make 7 out of 10 shots from the free throw line. Shoot in sets of 10 and track of your progress.