When it comes to free throws players must understand the importance of concentrating. Of course you have to have good shooting form and technique to be able to make shots, but how often have you seen a player step up to line with good form and not be able to make free throws.
A pet peeve of mine is seeing coaches at the end of a practice tell their players to make ten free throws before they leave the gym. Now honestly, how many players do your think are actually concentrating on what they are doing? Most of them are going to the line, talking, and laughing with their teammates and just going through the motions. Some coaches may line the team up along the baseline and have a player shoot. If the player misses then the team had to run a line drill or sprints. The problem I have with this is players will not want to shoot the free throws because doubt creeps in their mind. They don't want to be the reason the team had to run because they missed free throws. So to improve concentration at the free throw line I have a couple of drills that's great for teams or individual players.
Plus 9: In this drill you will want to split the team into small groups. During this drill players start with +4 and the goal is get +9 score. Each player shoots two free throws. Each make you get one point, but for each miss you take away two points. So let's say the first player steps up and makes his first free throw. The score then changes to +5. If that players misses the second free throw the score will drop to +3. The players continue shooting until they reach +9 our get a negative score. What I like about this drill is it makes it a team effort to win the game. All the players feel the pressure to make free throw and it don't lie on one player to win or lose for the team.
Game Time Free Throw Challenge: In this drill the players will take turns shooting every free throw you can shoot in a game; 1 shot, 1 and 1, 2 shots, and 3 shots. That's a total of 8 shots that can be taken. The team is down by 7 points. First player up shoots the one shot, followed by the second player who shoots the 1 and 1. If the player shoots the 1 and 1 and misses the front end of the 1 and 1, then the team will lose because they won't have enough shots left to win. If their team is able to continue after the 1 and 1 they move on to 2 shots and then three shots. The goal is to make all 8 free throws to win. If the team is down by more than the amount of free throws they have left they lose.
These two free throws games I really like because it makes players concentrate and it takes a team effort to win both games. Players then have a better understanding of the importance of free throws. Next time you have a team practice or skill session, try those two free throws games to improve your players concentration at the free throw line.