National Basketball Shooters Association: Become A Free Throw Master

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A few months ago, I was asked to be part of a founding group of coaches and masters in the art of shooting free throws.  We were all in agreement that there is a strong need for better free throw shooting at all levels of play, both in the USA and internationally.
 
The organization we founded is called, the National Basketball Shooters Association (NBSA ).  
 
We discussed at length how maddening it was to watch an NBA game (when players are paid million$ for their supposed expertise) where players missed shot after shot from the free throw line--especially toward the end of close games.  But, in fact, some of those games wouldn't even have been closely contested down the stretch, if one of the teams had made more of their free throws along the way.

Until the basketball role models--NBA, WNBA and collegiate players and teams--make a concerted effort to improve their free throw shooting percentages, younger players are not going to take seriously the need for better free throw shooting.  And, coaches will continue to be (as a group) less than adequately prepared and willing to teach correct free throw shooting technique.  Whatever is done at the higher levels is emulated at the younger levels of play.  One only has to look at the way youngsters copycat the dribbling techniques and 3-point shooting of the older players to grasp this.  When free throw shooting percentages improve at the higher levels, youngsters will want to be better at the line too.

How well do you shoot? Are you a pretty good shooter from the floor? What about your free throw shooting percentage--how good is that?  

How many times have you watched a game that is close in the last few minutes, where free throws can make a difference in winning or losing? Did you know that approximately 22.5% of the total points scored in a pro game are from free throws, and in a close game (which most pro games are), the points scored from the FT line account for most of the points scored in the last 2 minutes?  When approximately one-quarter of a team's points are from free throws, wouldn't you think more attention would be paid to perfecting this under-appreciated area?

Most players who shoot close to 50 per cent from the floor (and that's shooting mostly from close to the hoop) still don't shoot above 70% from the free throw line.  In fact, the national (U.S.) average for high school boys and girls, for college men and women and for the NBA and WNBA is close to 70%.  Sure, there are individuals who shoot with mastery from the line, at over 85% during games, but they are few and far between.  In the entire history of the NBA, there are less than 50 players who achieved 85% or better during their careers.

So, why the low free throw shooting percentages when there is no defense and no hurry?  The answer is basically two-fold.  First, players spend more time practicing their other shots and the rest of their game, to the detriment of their free shots. They don't understand perfect practice shooting techniques at the free throw line nor how to incorporate free throw drills into their workouts to simulate real game situations.  Secondly, not enough attention is given to correct teaching for the free throw and there are so many ideas about how to teach this that few coaches are able to teach the art of good free throw shooting. Coaches, for the most part, don't know how to set up a proper free throw program for their players, nor for that matter, have the ability to shoot and demonstrate free throw mastery, which is 96% in practice.

Enter the National Basketball Shooters Association , a newly formed non-profit organization founded and composed of mostly free throw masters (shooting over 96% in competition) whose mission is very simple: To elevate free throw percentages at all levels of competition and to raise both the NBA and WNBA to 85% in their respective leagues over the next two years.  The NBSA intends to accomplish this by sanctioning a series of free throw mastery tournaments, instructional programs and standardization for teaching.  Local, city, state and regional tournaments will culminate in a national event. Free instructional clinics will be held at most of the tournament sites.  The goal is an ambitious one, but the NBSA already has free throw masters in place (like Jim "Makevery" Schatz, Ed Palubinskas, Dr. Tom Amberry, Dr. Jim Poteet, Fred Newman, Rick Rosser and Ted St. Martin--several of these are in the Guiness Record Book) in their organization who can make this vision a reality.

The official kick-off for the NBSA , and their national series of sanctioned tournaments, is being planned to coincide with 2010's  NCAA Final Four, for both men and women.  Once the competition and teaching clinic schedules are solidified, the NBSA will be in full swing the rest of 2010 with hopes to expand internationally during 2011-12.

When you think of the popularity of 3-on-3 tournaments around the U.S. and around the globe, and the many free throw tournaments being conducted in age groups from youngsters to seniors, including open events with cash prizes, you can begin to envision where the NBSA is headed in the very near future.  Their vision is to expand and incorporate the millions of  players, from youth to seniors, who are already shooting in mastery competitions by sanctioning events and providing record keeping so as to rank shooters in every age/gender division.

Free throw mastery is not acquired by, say, making 10-for-10.  Rather, in order to achieve mastery certification through the NBSA , hundreds of shots at different baskets in different venues will be tabulated in every age division.  In order to compete in the Open Division, where prize money will be awarded for the top 16 qualifiers, a shooter will have to qualify with 92%, or better, in their age division.  (NBSA has determined that 92% is considered par as an elite shooting average.)  A shooter will have to rank with over 96% accuracy in order to be called a master.  The NBSA believes that in order to teach and coach free throws at the pro, college or high school levels, and to teach at their certified clinics, one must be a free throw shooting master.

Imagine, you are a good shooter and you'd like to see how you stack up against other good or great shooters. Soon, you will have the opportunity to compete in NBSA sanctioned events and get on their national  free throw mastery ladder, where you will be able to challenge others who are ranked above you on the ladder.  All over the country, there will be local competitions for prizes and further qualifying into state, regional and national events, where the prizes planned will be college scholarships, a new car, vacations and big $$.
 
Do you shoot free throws well, or want to, or know someone who does?  Are you tired of players, coaches and leagues that don't take free throw shooting seriously and you'd like to do something about it?  If you're interested in being aligned with the NBSA , helping them set up and run sanctioned free throw mastery tournaments, or improving your own shooting ability, or even becoming a free throw master, here's how you can get more information: Contact the National Basketball Shooters Association, at