Free Throw Situation Drill

As the name indicates, this particular drill is not solely a free throw shooting drill—but much more than that. This drill has been used for over 20 years at various levels of play. 

Obviously, this drill is very much a free throw shooting drill. But the drill offers much more than that, such as a maximum in game-realistic conditions and factors as well as efficiently using valuable practice time. Some of the most important factors incorporated are that there is pressure on individual players and on the team as a whole to succeed.  There are other techniques and skills that are emphasized and practiced as well as the actual free throw shooting.

During designated times in the practice, every team breaks down into pre-designated three man work-groups. Each three man work group has a “shooter” position, an “offensive rebounder,” and a “defensive rebounder.”

Each shooter shoots a pair of free throws with one player being an offensive rebounder and the other player being the defensive rebounder. The defensive rebounder establishes position on the typical (defensive) position and the offensive rebounder ‘stacking’ next to the defensive rebounder on a pre-determined side of the lane. The next time this drill is used (later in the same practice), the two rebounders can ‘stack up’ on the opposite side of the lane. 


The drill includes each of the three participants an opportunity to shoot five pairs of free throws while being fatigued. The drill also provides an opportunity for:  

  • The free throw shooter to have an opportunity to approach the free throw line, perform his own routine in preparing to align himself, to shoot the free throw and to then react to the (made or missed) free throw shot
  • Each shooter to take between five and ten jump shots after the free throw attempts (depending on made or missed free throws)


Each time this drill is executed, each defensive rebounder will receive a maximum number of ten opportunities to:

  • Align himself in the proper defensive rebounding position and stance
  • Box out the nearest offensive rebounder
  • Get the defensive rebound and then make an outlet pass to a teammate.

Each time this drill is used, each offensive rebounder will receive a opportunities to:

  • To align himself in the proper offensive rebounding position
  • Defeat the defensive box-out
  • Get the offensive rebound 
  • Quickly “power” the inside shot back up (against defensive pressure) until he scores.


To make this drill “game realistic,” we always have some type of full court action or strenuous drill that immediately precedes this drill to make sure the drill participants are fully fatigued. We would use this drill three times per practice on the “half-hour” mark. Knowing that one missed free throw, or one missed defensive FT box-out, or missing out on one missed free throw where an offensive rebound could mean two more points in a game, we would not vary from this routine so as to not skip a session or two in a practice.

The drill can be executed in a period of seven minutes each time, with time factored in for players reporting their FT stats to a manager, running a light punishment for not achieving the personal goals set by both coach and individual player as well as getting a drink of water.  

This is an invaluable drill in that it covers many fundamental aspects in a time-efficient manner and can change team or individual weaknesses into strengths with the commitment to always using the drill.  

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