Startling Way To Improve Free Throw Shooting From Geno Auriemma

By Joe Haefner

I was watching a coaching conversation between Geno Auriemma and Bob Knight on ESPN the other day. Somehow, they segued into a conversation on free throw shooting.

Geno mentioned that he had some years where his team was very poor at free throw shooting. Following conventional thinking, they spent more practice time on free throws. Well, things didn’t improve. So Geno did something drastic. He completely stopped shooting free throws during practice.

Geno said when he did this, their free throw shooting percentage almost immediately went up. His theory is that they spent so much time on free throws during practice that it further ingrained into the players’ mind that they were poor free throw shooters. So by not practicing the free throws, the players spent very little time thinking that they were poor free throw shooters or maybe didn’t even realize it.

Nothing like some healthy thinking out of the box.

1 Comment

  1. Chris Corbett — April 9, 2015 @ 1:30 pm

    I am not so sure about this one. Definitely might if everyone is in a funk, but free throws matter so much late in games, I can’t imagine not practicing them. Everyone I know that shot in the 80% and above range practiced. I also helped a Columbia women’s player go from 35% to 80% at the line in one high school season… and that involved a lot of practice. She went to the line about 7 times per game so it was a critical element of her game.

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