Cardiovascular Disease And Exercise Essay, Research Paper
Analysis of the Free-Throw Shot
When deciding about a movement to study, I thought about many, and very few
interested me. Then I decided to choose something that was very important to me.
Shooting the basketball, and more specifically the technique in performing a free throw. I
thought by looking more closely at the details of a movement I have been doing since a
small child. I thought possibly I could learn something that would give me an advantage
in my shot.
The application of this particular movement is for shooting a free-throw, which is a
stand still uncontested shot. There are a few rules that go with shooting a free-throw,
such as you have to be behind the fifteen foot line, called the free-throw line, and you
can?t cross that until after the ball makes contact with the rim.
When performing this skill you should also be aware of the other factors that could
influence your accuracy in performing the free-throw. The rim is fifteen feet from the
free-throw line on center. Also you should be aware of the fact you can fit three
basketballs through the rim at the same time if placed together. Also the rim is ten feet
high from the floor, meaning you have to make sure win shooting the ball, that the angle is
higher than ten feet at its peak so then on its decent to the basket it will have a chance to
go in. If you don?t get it higher than ten feet it has no chance to go in.
When you start talking all these angle?s and trajectories, you can begin to understand
why some people are accurate and some are not. Shooting free-throws is not a thing of
chance or luck. It is something that takes repetition. To be a good free-throw shooter
you need to have a repetitive action, not something that changes every time. Since the
conditions are predictable it is very easy to become a good repetitive free-throw shooter.
If you would be unsure about the correct movements, it would be beneficial to study
the movements of someone who is one of the best at what you were studying. The best
of our time would be Mark Price of the NBA. He has a career free-throw average over
ninety percent, which by free-throw standards is very good. To give you an idea of how
well that is, you need to examine the averages. If a person was to shoot over seventy
percent for the year, they would be considered a decent free-throw shooter. Someone
over eighty percent is considered good. So if you are able to shoot ninety percent over a
career spanning more than ten years, you are considered one of the best ever.
Everyone has there own personal technique or procedure leading up to the actual shot.
Probably the most common routines would be to stay off the free-throw lime until referee
is ready for you, and then step up to the line and receive the ball. Once you step to the
line and receive the ball you want to get in a comfortable position with your feet shoulder
width apart, and your dominant side foot slightly in front of your other. Balance is key to
shooting because you want to end your shot on the balls of your feet, and if you are not
balanced you will fall forward and the shot will not count. Then you want to take a deep
breath and relax. Some people will bounce ball one time or five the ten, it is all
personalized. Then you want to focus on rim, bend at the knees and deliver the ball. This
would be the sequence that is most commonly followed. By following the same sequence
every time you begin to develop a rhythm and that is what you want. You need to find
what is comfortable and stick with it.
Along with this sequence of events leading to the shot, you want to be aware of proper
shooting technique. Proper shooting technique would be to rest the ball on the fingertips
of your hand. You do not want the ball resting in your palm. Control of the shot comes
from the fingers. You want to use your non dominant hand as support on the side to the
ball. This hand has nothing to do with the shot, it is there only for support of the ball.
Then you would want to bring the ball up to the forehead creating a window between
your arms. This is where you want to focus on the rim and extend at the elbow, and
extending at the wrist.
Now to talk about what all this really means and how you get the ball from your hand
to the rim. When we do it, we consider it to be very simple, but it is actually a very
complex movement, involving many different muscles. Many muscles are involved, some
more than others. I will first talk about the ones used the least.
The shoulder girdle involves muscles that are key to the movement, but are mostly
used in stabilization of the shoulder. The Trapezius and the Rhomboid muscles are
stabilizers of the shoulder along with the rotator cuff muscles including the Supraspinatis,
Infraspinatis, Teres Minor, and Subscapularis which provide dynamic stability of the
shoulder. All these muscles are key, but are not involved much in the actual movement.
The Serratus Anterior is commonly used in movements drawing the scapula forward
with slight upward rotation, and would be used in shooting the basketball and works in
conjunction with Pectoralis Minor. Now we will get into some of the muscles actually
doing the work when shooting the free-throw.
The Deltoid, which is one of the most important muscles involved in any shoulder
movement is responsible for the movement of the Humerus. Any movement of the
Humerus will involve the Deltoid. The Coracobrachialis assist in flexion of the shoulder.
Other muscles involved in the cocking phase of the shot are the Biceps Brachii, Brachialis,
and Brachioradialis which are all strong flexor?s of the elbow.
The Pronator Teres would be used to place hand in pronated position so you could
balance ball when you are attempting the shot. While the ball is resting in the hand, the
wrist will be extended by the Extensor Carpi Ulnaris, Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis,
Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus. The two radialis muscles are important in any activity
requiring wrist extension or stabilization of the wrist against resistance, particularly when
the forearm is pronated. A few other muscles involved in weak wrist extension are the
Extensor Digitorum, Extensor Indicis, Extensor Digiti Minimi, Extensor Pollicis Longus
and Brevis. Now for the part of the shot, that is the most crucial ingredient of all, the
The Triceps Brachii which are used in hand balancing and any pushing movement
involving the upper extremity. Triceps Brachii and the Anconeus are the two elbow
extensors. The chief function of the Anconeus is to pull the synovial membrane out of the
way of the olecranon process during extension of the elbow.
Now to move a little further down the arm, we get into the wrist flexors. The Flexor
Carpi Radialis and Ulnaris along with the Palmaris Longus are the most powerful. The
Flexor Digitorum Superficialis insert into each of the four fingers, and along with the
Flexor Digitorum Profundus are the only muscles involved in all four finger flexion.
Along with these the Flexor pollicis Longus provides some assistance in wrist flexion.
Flexion of the elbow and the wrist is where you generate the force to get the ball to the
rim, so I would consider the flexors most important, although all play a significant role. To
become very proficient and increase your accuracy I would recommend strengthening the
flexors, or the muscles involved in the release. To strengthen these muscles you would
increase your chances of accuracy while fatigued, when free-throws are crucial in winning
To strengthen the Triceps Brachii and Anconeus, you would do push ups or dips. For
the Flexor Carpi Radialis and Ulnaris along with the Palmaris Longus, I would recommend
wrist curls in the supinated position. Then the last group I could say to squeeze a tennis
ball or any other gripping exercise for the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis, Flexor
Digitorum Profundus, and the Flexor Pollicis Longus.
Through all of this I have discovered how complex movements really are, and that as
an athlete I need to be aware of the things I can do to increase my performance, and
through this I was able to narrow down what muscles to concentrate on to improve my
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