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    Basketball Archive

    Rebounding and Free Throws
    By: Gilly, Thursday 12 January 2006

    Rebounding and Free Throws

    Posted By: Gilly
    Date: 2006-01-12 09:03:54

    Sorry for the I-told-you-so (not really) but I said in November after the Utes beat Timpview High in their first exhibition game, this team needs to improve its rebounding and its free throw shooting. And it hasn't.

    Maybe now is the time to officially kick off the boxing out debate:
    I used to coach boxing out and still do some boxing out drills, but they alone are not enough.
    Since every college coach in America pays lip service to John Wooden, I will quote him on the three most important aspects of rebounding:
    1. Assume every shot will be missed
    2. Get your hands above your shoulders
    3. Go get the ball

    The Utes are really bad at #2 and #3. They are so focused on boxing out that they have their hands down around their waste trying to contain their opponent, and their weight is leaning away from the basket, and they just stay there when the ball hits the rim, rather than GOING TO GET THE BALL, which is the real point of rebounding anyway. Bogut didn't box out much, but he went and got the ball.
    I now try to teach my teams to 'clear out' -- go make contact with your opponent, push him out of the lane, then step away to get some separation and GO GET THE BALL.

    Feel free to discuss.

    As for free throws, John Havlicek once said No professional basketball player should EVER shoot below 75% from the line. I'd like to extend that to the college game now. There really is no excuse.
    I believe most coaches don't coach free throw shooting because they don't know how or why.
    Just because Luke Nevill can make 49 out of 50 in practice doesn't mean he's a good FT shooter or is going to make them in a game. (FWIW - I like Nevill's shot and think he'll be fine).
    To me the three key aspects of FT shooting are:
    1. Form/technique
    2. Pre-shot routine/mental approach
    3. HOW they are practiced

    Many coaches I have observed send their players to the foul line in practice to shoot a pre-determined number or to make a pre-determined number, and that's it. To borrow another cliche -- practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent. You have to make sure a player is shooting correctly before you have them shoot 100 free throws. Also, in a game players never shoot more than 2 in a row(unless fouled taking a three) so why have them shoot 50 in a row in practice?
    Chris Jackson has decent form and is rarely left or right with his FTs, but he stops his motion completely during his FTs, and thus loses all flow and rhythm and can't control the distance the shot goes, and usually shoots it long. He also doesn't have enough arc on his shot. He should be able to improve both those faults in one practice.

    I know this is a rebuilding year, and last night's game was better than Arizona or Wash St, but there are some things a basketball team should be able to do, and get rebounds and make FTs are two of those things. Giac can talk in his post-game interview about proper defensive rotation, and 'finding where the seal comes from' on offense, and that stuff is great, I guess. But until the team can rebound and make foul shots that sophisticated stuff isn't going to matter much.

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