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Andre Drummond shoots his free throws backward

Dennis Hans of HoopsHype:

Detroit Pistons rookie Andre Drummond – a graceful, talented giant who could be the steal of the 2012 draft – is the latest in a long line of big men (along with a smattering of forwards and guards) who struggle at the stripe because various coaches and shooting “gurus” taught them to shoot backwards.

Such instructors dream of a hoop landscape where every player of every size and shape has the same identical assembly-line shooting motion, the key to which is the position of the shooting hand, fingers and wrist at the completion of the stroke (a position that should be maintained for at least a few seconds).

Alas, this obsession with follow-through positioning frequently leads the students of the shooting scientists to put the cart (the follow-through) before the horse (the stroke). The stroke, such as it exists, is merely the means to an end: the holy pose that, in theory, guarantees jumpshooting and free-throw success.

These poor, deluded players (Dwight Howard, Evan Turner, Jason Maxiell, DeAndre Jordan, Ryan Hollins and Andris Biedrins, to name a few) are so obsessed with a mental image of “putting the hand in the cookie jar,” “holding the gooseneck pose” or, worst of all, “holding an elevated gooseneck pose,” that it short-circuits or supplants the stroke.

Fascinating and well worth reading Hans’ explanation in its entirety.


  • Jul 23, 20121:30 am
    by Tony J


    Noticed that in the summer league games. He often times “guided” the ball with his non-dominant left hand. Coach Frank is a guy that trust his players so I wouldn’t be suprised to see Drummond in the game during late-game situations. As long as he works on them and show some signs of improvement.

  • Jul 23, 20122:09 am
    by Vince


    As long as he does better then Biedrins’ dreadfull excuse of a FT% (0.111) I’m happy.

  • Jul 23, 20128:13 am
    by vic


    these big guys shoot free throws with their arms not with their legs.
    When they shoot naturally in rhythym, (like Dre’s step back jumper) it flows through their legs and it goes in a lot more.

  • Jul 23, 20129:17 am
    by Crispus


    There are a lot of interesting comments on the source article too.

    I play basketball a couple times a week and despite the dangers of overthinking I tend to shoot better when I remind myself to do at least one ‘technique’ thing when shooting the ball. It can be getting my elbow under the ball, or shooting off my fingertips etc. Of course it’s difficult to focus on technique during the heat of a game, and shooting free throws without the benefit of jumping or shooting in rhythm is tough too. 

    I do agree with the author that when you watch a lot of woeful highly coached free throw shooters they tend to focus way too much on snapping the wrist and the ball just goes flying. Joakim Noah would be a good example of a free throw shooter who flouts conventional form for his natural (or homemade) one and is a pretty effective FT shooting center because of it.

  • Jul 23, 20126:43 pm
    by deffe


    That article is spot on.  Forcing some prototypical stroke on a 7 foot man with monstrous muscles ignores the fact that his relation to the basketball is geometrically different than someone of average height, and the mechanical advantage of giant muscles on long bones complicates things even further. The absolute best thing is to let them find a form that works, and help them stay with that form and not drift toward what people with entirely different body types are doing

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