Article in Slam Magazine
Barry Wolfson, a New Jersey-based free throw coach who’s coached Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson and New Orleans Hornets forward Trevor Ariza, said that he incorporates breathing techniques into a pre-shot routine. There’s a moment between breaths in which a player can shoot, he noted.
“They inhale and exhale and before the next inhale, that’s when they shoot it,” Wolfson said. The goal is to achieve a meditative state of mind.
Trained in sports psychology and formerly a college women’s basketball coach at a slew of colleges, including at Quinnipiac University, Wolfson is a believer in optimizing a player’s mindset.
He practices visualization techniques, such as helping players repeatedly envision the ball going through the hoop. He also insists that players think of it as free throws, not foul shots.
“Foul connotes a bad odor,” he said. “I like the idea of a free throw. You’re uncontested; it’s free. I want them to feel free at the line.”