Last week I heard that Riley Graham, a senior guard at Scio High School in Scio, Oregon went 18-19 from the free throw line in a single game and I became curious to know if she had a shooting secret.
I contacted Riley through her coach Justin Duke and was so impressed at what I heard that I had to write about it.
Riley told me that she used to have trouble shooting free throws until she realized that her thinking and mind set influenced her success at the line.
Instead of thinking about how hard she was fouled, or if this was a “big” free throw or not, or what defense they were going into, or what the crowd was yelling, Riley started focusing completely on the process of making the shot.
After being handed the ball by the official, Riley simply concentrates on her own mental checklist as she shoots: Deep breath, Elbow in, Up and over the rim.
Since it’s physically impossible to have two thoughts at the exact same time, focusing on the process allows her to shut out everything else and only concentrate on the task at hand.
Some of you might be saying. “That’s it? That’s the secret?” Yes it is. Simple yet effective. (Would you feel better if she had said the secret was to stand on one leg and twirl around three times before shooting?)
I’m glad I talked to Riley Graham last week. Now if only Dwight Howard would give her a call. . .