Cardiovascular Disease And Exercise Essay Research Paper

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

or loosing.

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



Dayton, William. Sports Fitness and Training. Pantheon Books: New York, 1987.

McArdle, William D. Exercise Physiology. Lea & Febiger: Philadelphia, 1981.

Wirhed, Rolf. Athletic Ability, The Anatomy of Winning. Harmony Books: New York,


Paul Bruning


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