A Warning About Underhanded
Free Throw Shooting
by Sidney Goldstein
Copyright © 2001 by Golden Aura Publishing
This is a letter, email,
that I wrote to Discover Magazine about an article a friend showed
Yesterday a friend showed
me a Discover article on foul shooting called Underhanded Achievement.
As a scientist (BS Biophysics), coach, player, and author (The
Basketball Coach's Bible, 8 other books in Nitty-Gritty Basketball
Series, and 4 videos) I think the analysis and ideas presented
are flawed in every respect. Not only does "it look kind of
stupid" at first, but on further investigation its looks even
**To begin with, shooting with two hands, whether it be underhanded
or overhanded is much more difficult than shooting with one hand.
Two hands must be accurately coordinated rather than one!! Balance also has to be more perfect than shooting with one hand. Using
one hand is always easier.
**Another problem shooting a foul shot different from a player's
regular shot, is that it is another shot. Players who have never
learned to shoot well, now need to divert time on something very
different. A better idea would be to work on shooting technique,
as described in my books, videos, and articles. These techniques
work 100% of the time. Players need to work on one shot and perfect
**The physics example showing a low projected overhead shot verses
a high projected underhanded shot shows just that and nothing
else!!! Of course the shot with the better arc has a better chance
to go in. So, overhand shooters who shoot with better arcs also do
better!! There is no reason to believe that overhand shooters
can't or won't or don't shoot with higher arcs!!
**If you shoot properly you will have a backward spin on the
ball, so this is not indigenous to underhanded shots.
**Any player can improve his/her foul shooting if they first improve
their shooting technique. Three important techniques that players
need to work on are:
1. Touch: players must contact the ball with the ends of the
fingers as much as possible, not the pads. The ball goes off
the ends, not the pads.
2. Wrist movement: shots are mainly flicks of the wrist just
dribbles and passes.
3. Body alignment: players shoulders need to be squared to the
direction of shooting.
Wilt (who went to my high school) and Shaq both have severe technique
problems. Wilt had severe problems in all three areas. Shaq's
main problem now is wrist movement. He has stiff wrists like
many other very poor shooters including Wilt.
Once you improve technique there are very special ways to work
on the actual shot, and then the foul shot. My website, books,
and videos give these methods in both brief and detail. I hope
no one falls for the nonsense in your "underhanded article",
because they will be wasting their time.
Discovery did not reply to my email.
Your comments are welcome.
Sidney Goldstein, author of
The Basketball Coach's Bible and The Basketball Player's Bible,
has successfully coached both men's and women's teams over a
period of 15 years.