Free Throw in Basketball: Everything You Need to Know

Free throw is one of the most crucial elements in the game of basketball. It is an opportunity for players to score points without any defense from the opposing team.

A free throw is awarded to a player when a foul is committed by an opposing player. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about free throws in basketball.

The Rules of Free Throws in Basketball

  1. When a player is fouled during a game, they are awarded two free throws.
  2. The player taking the free throws must stand on the free throw line, which is 15 feet away from the basket.
  3. The opposing team’s players must stay outside the restricted area and behind the free throw line until the ball leaves the shooter’s hand.
  4. The shooter has ten seconds to shoot the ball. If the shooter takes more than ten seconds, a violation is called, and the opposing team gets possession of the ball.
  5. If the shooter steps over the free throw line before the ball leaves their hand, it is considered a violation, and the opposing team gets possession of the ball.
  6. If the ball fails to hit the rim or the backboard during a free throw, it is considered a violation, and the opposing team gets possession of the ball.

Free Throw Techniques

  1. The Grip: The shooter should grip the ball with their shooting hand, with the fingers spread apart and the ball resting on the pads of the fingers. The non-shooting hand should be used for support and balance.
  2. The Stance: The shooter should stand with their feet shoulder-width apart, with their shooting foot slightly ahead of the non-shooting foot. The feet should be pointed towards the basket, and the knees should be slightly bent.
  3. The Shot: The shooter should raise the ball above their head and extend their shooting arm towards the basket. The ball should be released with a flick of the wrist, and the shooter should follow through by extending their arm towards the basket. The shooter should maintain their balance throughout the shot.

Famous Examples of Free Throws in Basketball

Free throws have produced some of the most memorable moments in the history of basketball. Here are some famous examples of free throws:

  1. Michael Jordan: In Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan hit a clutch free throw to give the Chicago Bulls a one-point lead over the Utah Jazz.
  2. Shaquille O’Neal: Despite being notoriously bad at free throws, Shaquille O’Neal hit a crucial free throw in Game 7 of the 2006 NBA Finals to help the Miami Heat win the championship.
  3. Wilt Chamberlain: In 1962, Wilt Chamberlain set an NBA record by scoring 28 free throws in a single game.


Free throws are an essential aspect of basketball, providing players with an opportunity to score points without any defense from the opposing team. Understanding the rules, techniques, and famous examples of free throws can help players master this important element of the game. With practice and determination, any player can become a master of the free throw and contribute to their team’s success.

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