Shoot That Basketball, Score That Point! Free Throw Shooting Fundamentals, Part 3 – Release Shooting Position

You’re at the free throw line, your body is lined up, and you’re flexed and focused on your Goalrilla Basketball Goal. It’s time to shoot that ball and put a point on the scoreboard.

Follow through with the release shooting position and you’ll soon be a free throw scoring machine!

Free Throw Shooting Fundamentals: Part 3

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

In other posts, we’ve covered the Free Throw Shot Prep Position and the Cocked and Flexed Shooting Position. Now, it’s time to shoot that ball and score that point!

Part 3 – The Free Throw Release 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 extend into the shot

Lower Body Position

  • Knees go from bent and flexed to fully extended
  • Lower body remains square to the basket

Upper Body Position

  • The upper body extends from slightly forward to fully upright
  • 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
  • As the basketball is released, do not follow the flight of the ball with your head or eyes

Arm Position

  • During release, fully extend the shooting arm in a rhythmic motion to produce a 45- to 55-degree arc on the basketball as it flies toward the basketball goal
  • Keep the arm of the guide hand in front of the off foot so the shooting arm remains straight as it extends toward the basket

Hand Position

Before the basketball is released:

  • The fingers of each hand are spread
  • The basketball rests on the pads and fingertips of both hands (keep your palms off the ball)
  • The fingers of the off hand point toward the ceiling, touching (but not pushing) the basketball until the shooting arm is extended
  • The off hand remains fixed in the support position before, during and after the basketball is released

As the basketball is released:

  • The ball rolls off the fingertips of the index and middle finger of the shooting hand as you extend your arm and snap your wrist at the top of the extension (this is known as follow-through). This extension and snap of the wrist will help produce backspin and cause the ball to rotate backward as it flies forward toward the basketball goal.

After the basketball is released:

  • The fingertips of the shooting hand come to rest pointing toward the floor at the end of the shot extension.

Shooting – and scoring – from the free throw line is all about executing the fundamentals: getting your body properly aligned at the free throw line, going through the cocked and flexed motion, and then releasing the basketball in a smooth rhythmic motion toward the basketball goal.

Swish! Nothing but net. Another point scored!

-Pat of the Basketball Goal Store Blog Team

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