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A Warning About Underhanded Free Throw Shooting

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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 me.

Dear Folks:

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 worse.

**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 it.

**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 as are
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.
Sidney Goldstein
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.


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by Sidney Goldstein

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