Purpose: To improve free throw shooting percentage by incorporating a competitive situation into team free throw practice.
Drill: Place all of the player’s names on a poster or board (or even just use a spreadsheet). To help prepare the poster, the players shall pair off and shoot 25 free throws each. The coach then writes the names in order, with the highest scorer at the top. If there are any ties, they can be broken by having the players shoot one free throw each.
Each day following, players challenge one another in an even/odd pattern — Player 2 vs. Player 1, 4 vs. 3; the next day 2 vs. 3, 4 vs. 5, etc… The coach then adjusts the positioning of the names on the chart according to the results of the challenges. If player 5 defeats player 4 for instance, 5 will assume ladder rung 4 and player 4 will move down to rung 5. If the higher seed wins, positioning does not change.
The coach should reward leaders at certain points throughout the season.
Coaching Points: The coach should choose how many free throws to shoot. It is also recommended that each player shoot two at a time and rotate, much like in a game setting. You aren’t allowed to shoot several at a time in a game, thereby gaining some rhythm, so why do it in practice? You may also want to vary it up from time to time by allowing lower seeds to challenge anyone above them, just to spice it up.