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Basketball Free Throws

What is a free throw in basketball? What is a foul shot? How many free throws does a player get? Get ready to learn about free throw rules in basketball.

Basketball Free Throw

A free throw in basketball is a way for teams to score points. Free throws are different from field goals in that they only happen after players are fouled. Free throws are worth one point each.

Basketball Free Throw

Basketball Free Throw Line

All free throws happen on a team's respective free throw line, which is a line in the paint on the court.

Basketball Free Throw Line

REMEMBER: Free throws are also called a foul shots and the free throw line is also called the foul line.

Basketball Free Throw Shooter

A free throw shooter, the player that is fouled, will take the free throw attempts. Six players, four from the opposing team and two players from the free throw shooter's team line up along the borders of the lane and wait for the free throw shooter to take his free throws. All other players on both teams must remain behind the free throw line extended.

Basketball Free Throw Shooter

Basketball Free Throw Attempt

Once the free throw shooter is in place behind the free throw line, he will get the ball from the referee to take the free throw. The free throw shooter may bounce the ball in place before attempting the shot. Two things can happen on a free throw attempt:

If the free throw is made, one point is given to his team. The other team gets possession of the ball and must put it into play with an inbound pass from behind the baseline.

Basketball Inbound Pass

If the free throw misses or rebounds, the ball is live and either team can claim possession.

Basketball Penalty Situation

When a team is in a penalty situation they get more than one free throw as a result of the other team fouling too many times. There are three different penalty situations in basketball.

Basketball Penalty Situation

In college basketball, there are two penalty situations:

  1. One and one
  2. Double bonus

In the NBA, there is only one penalty situation called the bonus.

College Basketball One And One

One and one in college basketball is a penalty situation that grants a team one free throw and an additional free throw if the free throw shooter makes the first one in. One and one happens when a team reaches seven fouls in a single half.

You can learn more about the one and one in Basketball One And One.

College Basketball Double Bonus

The double bonus is a penalty situation only in college basketball that gives a team two free throw attempts every time a player is fouled. The double bonus only happens when a team commits ten or more fouls in a single half.

You can learn more about the double bonus in Basketball Double Bonus.

NBA Basketball Bonus

The bonus in the NBA is a penalty situation that happens when a team reaches five fouls in a single quarter. When a team is in the bonus, they get two free throws.

You can learn more about the bonus in Basketball Bonus.

Substitute Free Throw Shooter

A substitute free throw shooter can take the place of the original free throw shooter if he is injured on the play like after a flagrant foul. The head coach can choose one of the other four players on the floor as a substitute free throw shooter.

Basketball Substitution

Basketball Free Throw Percentage

A free throw percentage in basketball is a statistic that keeps track of a player's success rate during a season on shooting free throws. In the NBA, a good free throw percentage is anything above 70%. In college basketball, a good free throw percentage is anything above 50%.

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