Can You Jump During a Free Throw?

Back when I started playing basketball as a youngster, I used to jump while attempting a free throw on a basketball hoop.

However, as I grew up watching some of the greats in NBA basketball, I started practicing more and more on standing firm while shooting a free throw.

The real question to ask here is that, “Can you jump during a free throw?”

According to NBA rules and regulations, “As far as you are not crossing the free throw line, you could shoot it the way you want.”

From this fact, it is clear that players have the royalty to shoot a free throw while jumping.

But, there are some reasons professional players do not endorse this practice.

And I am here to discuss all the Dos and Don’ts of shooting a free throw while playing basketball.

Let us begin the discussion as follows:

Are You Allowed to Jump on a Free Throw?

You are absolutely allowed to jump on a free throw. It’s totally allowed.

As far as you do not cross the free throw line, you can shoot a free throw while jumping and there is nothing wrong with that.

Many kids and even youngsters would practice a free throw with a jump and there are some reasons for this practice.

For instance:

Players jump during a free throw because they do not have enough strength to throw the ball into the basketball rim easily.

Often that’s even because they don’t want to carry the ball.

Young and beginner players do not know the basics of a free throw and they are unaware of the technique. So, to push the ball further, these players might use a jump.

Apart from that, when players feel a bit fatigued, they might jump to generate more power while throwing a free throw.

So, these are some of the reasons you could have seen many players applying the jump practice during a free throw.

Why NBA Players Avoid Jumping During Free Throws?

If you follow NBA teams and players you would have noticed that they remain calm and do not jump while shooting a free throw.

Now, I liked the way Daniel H Chang has elaborated on each and everything about this question.

To understand it properly, we first need to look at some benefits jumping could offer while playing basketball.

Benefits of Jumping in Basketball

Daniel describes the benefits of jumping in basketball as follows:

Getting the Ball Above Defender:

Well, the higher the release point, the difficult it gets for the defender to block the shot. Hence, you will see many professional players dunking or even slam-dunking with a higher jump.

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Restores Balance:

In many cases, the abrupt pit-stopping with the inside of the foot along with a jump restores the balance and allows the players to shoot with more focus and accuracy.

Jumping and Releasing High for Locking the Rim

You might have seen players like Kobe Bryant with impressive vertical leap who jump high and release high (two motion shooters). While doing so, such players will get a split second to get a better chance at locking the rim.

It, therefore, increase the overall accuracy of jump shots, dunks, and slam dunks accordingly.

Jumping Low for More Distance:

Players like Stephen Curry, who jump low and release the ball low do so to increase the distance of their shots.

In this way, these basketball players have a better chance of scoring deep 3-pointers with the help of a low jump.

Now that we have described the benefits of jumping, let us relate it to free throw and see why there is no need for professional players to jump during this shot:

Nobody Defending the Rim:

Nobody is defending the rim during a free throw, which means you do not need to jump to get over any defender and could score a free throw without any hassle.

No Pit Stopping to Regain Balance:

Yet again, there is no need to pit stop to restore the balance during a free throw. So, that case is also discarded.

Good Time to Place the Shot

Players can get 10 seconds to properly place a free throw and that’s a good enough time to think about targeting the rim. Again, there is no need to jump for that purpose. Check out this article on why do basketball players jump when they shoot to learn more.

Close Distance:

A free throw is actually close to the basket and you will not need to make a jump to increase the distance of your shot. Hence, this case is nullified too.

So, if we ponder on all such scenarios, professional players avoid jumping during a free throw because there is no need for extra motion.

Not only that, but Daniel also describes how jumping during a free throw could impact the accuracy and focus of basketball players. Still, some players such as Dwight Howard struggle with their free throws.

But to cintinue further, take a look:

Jumping Adds Another Motion:

As much as jumping could help players get past the defenders, it’s not ideal to jump during a free throw.

As jumping already adds another motion to the gameplay, it could impact the focus and accuracy during a free throw negatively.

As a result, players will have an equal chance of losing the free-throw points due to a silly jump rather than scoring them while standing stationary.

Extra Fatigue

Basketball requires extra strength, agility, and stamina.

Players who are about to take free throws are already tired and they would not want to make their legs extra fatigued. Professional athletes know that there is no point of jumping and fatiguing the legs when they could secure the throw while standing still.

Hence, they avoid jumping during the free throws.

Basketball Players Master Stationary Shots Better

It is also a fact that basketball players prefer mastering stationary shots better than jumping ones.

In that case, it would make more sense if they take free throws and secure the points without making things complex anymore.

That is one of the reasons you will not see professional players taking a free throw with a jump.

How to Shoot a Free Throw Without Jumping?

Getting away from the jumping habit while shooting a free throw could be a little difficult for young basketball players.

So, here are some tips you could utilize to stop jumping during a free throw:

  1. Practice Free Throws While Standing Still

Practice free throws and try to keep your body away from jumping while you take the shot.

Doing so more often will improve your muscle memory to an extent that you will forget about jumping during the free throw.

Focus more on standing still and using your upper body more to push the ball into the rim and you will become a master in this skill soon enough.

And avoid wearing running shoes when playing basketball.

  1. Work on Increasing Body Strength

Although I will not endorse under 18 players to hit the gym, athletes who are above 18 can utilize gym facilities to increase their body strength.

Start with a full-body workout and focus on your legs and thighs even more.

If you think that your legs are weaker, then focus more on sit-ups, push-ups, and jumping lunges.

I follow a special workout routine to increase my body strength for basketball. Dropping the tutorial below so you could get benefit from it too.

  1. Practice Shooting As Much as You Can

No matter how old you become at playing basketball, you should always practice shooting the rim as much as you can.

It will not only improve your muscle memory, but you will be able to enhance your focus and accuracy.

This will also help you in taking successful free throws.

  1. Fix Your Shooting Posture During a Free Throw:

Work on fixing your shooting posture while you take a free throw. If you do not have enough knowledge about fixing it, then take a look at follow tutorial: The Free Throw

  1. Play Basketball Daily

Playing basketball daily with better opponents will improve your technique, stamina, and shooting skills.

Apart from the usual practice, try whatever you have learned on the court against your opponents to see how much have you improved or whether you need more practice or not.

Can You Dunk During a Free Throw?

Another question that many players ask is whether they could dunk during a free throw or not.

Well, while dunking, you would be crossing the free throw line, thus getting penalized according to NBA rules.

This means, it is literally impossible for the players to dunk during a free throw and they should avoid this practice at all costs.

Can You Bank Shot a Free Throw?

Although many players prefer directly throwing the ball into the hoop, some might take help from the board to secure the points.

From the legal perspective, it is allowed to bank a free throw shot and even professional players could be seen doing it when things are not going in their favor.

The Dos and Don’ts of Shooting a Free Throw:

Here are some yays and nays you should keep in mind during a free throw:

The Dos:

Always stand firm and try to relax your body before throwing the ball.

Keep your focus on the rim and board instead of the players.

Keep track of the 10-seconds time limit in your mind.

Maintain your balance and keep practicing free throw shooting until you become a master of it.

The Don’ts:

Never cross the free throw line or you will get penalized for it.


Do not jump if you think that your physical strength is more than enough to help the ball reach rim perfectly.

Do not try to dunk during a free throw as you will cross the line this way.

Do not get confused as to whether to bank or shoot the ball directly into the rim.

Final Takeaways: Can You Jump During a Free Throw?

Although it is totally legal to jump during a free throw, professional players avoid this practice to focus on getting successful while throwing the shot.

If you are under 18 and have just started playing basketball, then you could jump during a free throw.

But as you develop your skills and experience, try to avoid this habit and focus more on taking the shot while standing still.

That’s all from my side. Tell us how you got rid of jumping during a free throw in the comment box mentioned below to help fellow readers!


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