Basketball Free Throws

When a player is fouled in a basketball game he is rewarded with free throws. Get ready to learn about free throws and how they work in basketball.


The team with the most points at the end of a basketball game is the winner. In basketball, teams mostly score points with field goals, but they can also score points with free throws.

In this chapter, we will learn what a free throw is, how it is made, and how many points it's worth.

Free Throws And Foul Shots

A free throw, also known as a foul shot, is an opportunity for a team to score points after they are fouled. It is a means of rewarding a team after the other team breaks the rules.

How Many Points?

A free throw is always worth one (1) point if the basket is made.

Free Throw Procedure

All free throws are taken on the free throw line of a team's basket.

Basketball Foul Shot

Free Throw Shooter

Players line up along the borders of the paint and wait for the player who was fouled to shoot. This player is known as the free throw shooter.

Basketball Free Throw Shooter

When the free throw shooter attempts the free throw, two (2) possible things can happen:

The Free Throw Misses Or Rebounds

In the first case, play continues and no points are awarded to the team. Either team can claim the ball.

The Free Throw Is Made

In the second case, the team that made the free throw is awarded one (1) point. The ball is then put into play by the other team via an inbound pass from behind the baseline.

How Many Free Throws?

The amount of free throws given to player is determined by the type of foul that is committed and whether or not a team is in a penalty situation. We will learn more about the types of fouls in basketball and penalty situations in the next chapter.

Free Throw Substitutions

The player that is fouled is usually the one that takes the free throws. However, another player can take his/her place if he/she is injured on the foul.

Free Throw Percentage

A statistic you should know as a basketball fan is a player's free throw percentage. This stat will tell you how successful a player has been in the past at shooting free throws. In pro basketball (NBA), a good free throw percentage is anything above 70%. In college basketball (NCAA), a good free throw percentage is anything above 50%.

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