Free Throw Basketball Shooting Fundamentals, Part 2 – Cocked and Flexed Shooting Position

Shooting the basketball (and more importantly, scoring!) requires consistency. It’s true for all types of basketball shots, and especially true for free throw shooting. Putting the fundamentals in motion time after time will boost your scoring and make you a player to watch.

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Free Throw Shooting Fundamentals: Part 2

There are three phases of shooting free throws:

1.       The Shot Prep Position

2.       The Cocked and Flexed Shooting Position

3.       The Release Shooting Position

Each phase of shooting requires the proper technique including the position of key body components:

  • Footwork
  • Lower body
  • Upper body
  • Head
  • Arm
  • Hand

We covered the Free Throw Shot Prep Position in another post.  Now, let’s move ahead:

Part 2 – The Cocked and Flexed Free Throw Shooting Position


  • The feet are hip width apart
  • The shooting foot and the shooting hand are on the same side
  • The shooting foot is in line with the middle of the basket
  • The off foot is in slightly behind the shooting foot, with the tip of the off foot aligned with the bottom of the shoelaces of the shooting foot
  • Rise up on the balls of both feet as you swing and sit into the shooting motion

Lower Body Position

  • Knees go into a bent and flexed position
  • Lower body remains square to the basket

Upper Body Position

  • The upper body remains slightly forward
  • The shoulders are square to the basket

Head and Eyes Position

  • Head is up, facing forward
  • Eyes are focused on the front lip of the rim of the basketball goal

Arm Position

  • The upper portion of the shooting arm swings from parallel with the upper torso to parallel with the floor
  • The shooting arm elbow now points toward the rim of the basketball goal
  • The forearm of the shooting arm is perpendicular to the floor and straight in relationship to the basket
  • The off-hand guide arm is up, keeping the shooting arm and ball straight
  • Both the off arm and shooting arm positions produce “L” formations
  • Swing the ball into position with the shooting hand directly over the shooting elbow, and the shooting elbow directly over the shooting foot
  • The guide-hand elbow is now in front of the off foot causing the shooting arm to be straight in line with the basket

Hand Position

  • The fingers of each hand are spread
  • The basketball rests on the pads and fingertips of both hands (remember, do not touch the ball with your palms!)
  • The basketball is centered between the index and middle fingers of both the shooting hand and the off hand
  • The valve stem of the basketball is centered between the index finger and middle finger of the shooting hand
  • Swing the basketball into position, with the ball centered in the off hand with the fingertips of the off hand now pointing toward the ceiling in the “sitting” position
  • The shooting hand is flexed, wrist wrinkled
  • The thumbs of both hands form a “T”
  • The thumb of the shooting hand points toward your ear
  • Both wrists are cocked and flexed

Now you are ready to drive and release the basketball in one smooth rhythmic motion toward the basketball goal. Smooth and steady puts another point on the scoreboard. Way to go!

-Pat of the Basketball Goal Store Blog Team

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