Why Are Centers Bad At Free Throws? Shocking Answer!

Why Are Centers Bad At Free Throws?

Key Takeaway: Centers in basketball often struggle with free-throw shooting due to factors like their height, large hands, lack of focus on improving shooting, pressure during games, long wingspans affecting shooting accuracy, bad shooting technique, and excess strength making it challenging to control the ball's release.

Basketball players should be good in every aspect of the game. However, every basketball player has their weaknesses. Some are good at three points but bad in inside shots, and some are good in inside shots but bad at free-throws. 

Everyone is saying that free-throw should be easy, and you ask why basketball players miss, right? Most of the players we notice that are bad at free-throws are the centers or big-men basketball players. Why are they bad at free-throws?

Why are centers bad at free-throws? Centers are bad at free-throws because of some reasons like, they have big hands, they are tired, they don’t focus on improving their shooting, and they have bad shooting form. Most centers in basketball are bad at free-throws but not all of the centers. 

There is no exact answer to why centers are bad at free-throws. But there are several reasons why they are bad at free-throws. Also, there is much more to learn around this topic, so keep reading! 

Reasons Why Centers Are Bad At Free Throws

Like I have said, there are many reasons why centers are bad at free-throws. Many factors are affecting their free-throw shooting. So it is hard to have an exact answer because every one of us has different problems and experiences. 

Some centers are bad at free-throws because they have large hands and some centers are bad at free-throws because they have long wingspans. See? Not all of us are similar. We have different reasons. 

However, I have listed all the reasons why centers are bad at free-throws. I have been lurking for eight hours on basketball forums just to find an answer and to give you clear information. Below are the different reasons why centers are bad at free throws.

They Are Too Tall

Centers or big-men in basketball are all big, and it is required for a player to be tall and big for him to be called a center. It is required for centers to be tall because they are the ones who will rebound the ball, score inside shots, and play inside defense. If a smaller player is guarding the paint, it will be easy for their opponents to score inside. 

One of the reasons why centers are bad at free throws is because they are tall. When a basketball player is tall, his/her eye level nearly touches the rim. Because they are tall, they don’t shoot the ball in an arc motion, but in a straight motion. When centers shoot the ball in a straight motion shot, the ball will most likely hit the rim hard and bounce off. 

Lack Of Stamina

The centers are big and tall. They use all of their stamina through running, defending, shooting, and posting up. There is no stamina left for free-throws. Centers have lower stamina than point guards and shooting guards. The bigger the people, the more it consumes stamina faster. 

This is one of the reasons why centers are bad at shooting free-throws. They get easily tired because they have low stamina. Also, their stamina will be consumed faster because of the difficult job they need to do inside the court. 

Not Focused On Improving Shooting

Centers are tall human beings. They are tall enough to put the ball inside the rim with ease. All they need to do is to tip-toe and then release the ball inside the rim. Centers are always dunking and most of their shots are inside shots. 

This is the other reason why centers are bad at shooting free-throws. Centers are not focused on improving their shooting. They think it is not essential because they can easily lay the ball inside the rim with ease, so why should they practice outside shots or jump shots?

Centers Are Pressured

Being pressured is one of the reasons why basketball players miss free-throws, and it is applied to every basketball player, not just centers. Also, it is the reason why players can shoot in practice but not in games

Centers are pressured during free throw situations. Many crowds are watching, their coach is angry or shouting, and their teammates might get angry at him if he makes a mistake. See the pressure I am talking about? However, this doesn’t only apply to centers, but to all basketball players. 

Long Wingspan

Centers have long wingspans, and most people believe that the longer the wingspan of a player, the less their free-throw percentage will be. Why? Because when they extend their hands to release the ball, they might wrongly estimate how long they should extend their arms to shoot the ball. The ball might be overthrown and won’t hit the rim.

This is the other reason why centers are bad at shooting free-throws. They have poor estimation when it comes to how strong they should release the ball. Because of their long wingspan, they might release the ball farther from the hole of the rim. You will also notice that most of the centers in the NBA that have long wingspan are bad free-throw shooters. For example, Yao Ming.

Centers’ Hands Are Big

Centers are tall and big, which means that they also have big hands. Some of you think that having big hands like Kawhi Leonard is a good thing in basketball. Yes, it can have some advantages, but there are also disadvantages to having big hands. 

If you have big hands, you can effortlessly grab the ball or palm the ball. However, for centers, they hate to have big hands. Have you ever tried to play basketball using a ball used by kindergartens? 

If yes, what did you notice? Yes, it is hard to dribble the ball using a small ball, and it is also hard to control the ball on where it should go when you release it. It is the same problem for centers in basketball. Because they have large hands, they are having a difficult time controlling the ball.

Bad Technique

Bad technique can also cause a bad free-throw percentage. If you have a bad technique on shooting the ball or bad shooting form, your free-throw will get affected. When we are young, the first thing coaches tell us is to fix our shooting form first before anything else. Why? Because shooting form is essential, and if you have bad shooting form, you will have a poor shooting percentage. 

This is a common problem for most centers in basketball. They don’t focus on improving their shooting form because they are focused on improving their dunk, layups, and their inside shots. That is why you will notice that centers in the NBA that have bad shooting form have poor free-throw percentage than centers that have good shooting form.


Centers are inevitably strong, and they are trained to be. Why? Because they are the ones that will be battling inside the paint. They need to be strong for posting up, rebounding the ball, and defending post shots. 

Most physicalities happen inside the paint, which is why centers are required to have powerful upper bodies. However, having too strong of an upper-body might hurt basketball. 

When you have a strong upper body, the ball is just light for you. You can easily throw the ball with one finger if you have a robust upper body. This is the other reason why centers are struggling in shooting free-throws. Because they have strong bodies, it is hard for them to control the strength they should use on throwing the ball in free-throw.

Do All Centers Are Bad Free Throw Shooters?

People are stereotyping. When they see centers shooting free-throws in basketball, they think that the shot will not go in. Well, I can’t blame them because most of the centers I have seen in the NBA are mostly bad free-throw shooters, especially when Shaq enters the league.

Shaquille O’neal is one of the worst free-throw shooters in the NBA. He is known for slashing the rim and for being strong inside the paint. Shaq made all players who guard him cry. I think Shaq is the best meaning of the word center. 

However, even though Shaq has an astounding inside shot percentage, his free-throw percentage is very poor! NBA players invented a tactic to prevent Shaq from scoring, and it is called the Hack-A-Shaq tactic. They foul Shaq to force him to take a free-throw instead of easy baskets. 

Why Are Centers Bad At Free Throws?
Why Are Centers Bad At Free Throws?

Even though many centers in basketball are bad at shooting free-throws, I still don’t agree that all centers are bad free-throw shooters. There are still centers in the NBA that are good at shooting free-throws like Anthony Davis, Nicola Vucevic, and Kevin Garnett. 

My tip to all centers in basketball out there that read my blogs is to practice your free-throws often. Include free throw training in your daily routine. Free-throws are one of the easiest ways to score in basketball so never miss a chance to score easy buckets. 

Why Do NBA Players Miss Free Throws?

NBA players miss free throws even though they are professional already. Why? NBA players miss free-throws for so many reasons. Yes, it is quite embarrassing for an elite player to miss an easy shot with no one is guarding you.

However, missing a free-throw shot is inevitable, and it can happen for all basketball players around the world. Even though you are used to shooting hoops, you can still miss a free throw. Many things can happen in one basketball game, and some of these things may be the reason for a player to miss free throws. 

The main reason why NBA players miss free throws is because of fatigue. It is difficult to run from court to court, play defense, and shoot the ball while an elite defender is guarding you. Now, if you are asking why do NBA players miss free-throws, then the answer is pretty obvious.

Can NBA Players Jump On Free Throws?

If centers can’t shoot their free-throws while standing, why don’t they jump? Can basketball players jump during free throws? 

Well, yes! Every basketball player, including the NBA, is allowed to jump off free-throws. However, the NBA doesn’t jump during a free throw shot because of some reasons. What are the reasons?

Why don’t NBA players jump on free throws? NBA players don’t jump at free throws because it is embarrassing for them to jump during a free-throw. Also, they are strong enough to shoot a free-throw while standing. Jumping on free-throws is for young basketball players only that still have weak muscles.

How To Improve Free Throws As Center In Basketball? 

You are here because you think I am giving a tip on how you can improve your free throw as a center, right? Well, you got me! I am giving this very simple tip that most of you tall players can do to improve your shooting at the charity strike. 

There are two ways that you can only do it. Are you ready to find out? 

The two things that you need to do as a center for you to improve your free throw shooting are first you need to include free-throw shooting in your daily practice routine. The second is to fix your shooting form. 

If you are new to this game, then the first thing I suggest you do is to fix your shooting form first before you practice shooting a hundred free throw shots per day. Having a good shooting form will take you to the next level!

If you already have a good shooting form, next is you practice your free-throw shooting. Practice shooting every day on free-throws. Shoot at least 100 free throws a day, and make sure to sink in at least 50 shots. 

There is no secret to improving your free throw shooting. Never listen to the basketball gurus that tell you to buy their course so that you can have a better free-throw percentage blah, blah, blah. 

Most of them will waste your money. All you have to do is to practice consistently, and include free throw shooting on your daily basketball practice routine. 100 shots per day are my challenge for you young fella. I bet my 200 bucks that when you execute the 100 free-throw shots per day, you will see results on your free throw shooting after one month!

Final Verdict

Most centers in basketball are bad at shooting free-throws. However, not all of the centers are bad because many centers are good at shooting free throws. The game of basketball is evolving. Sooner or later, all basketball players, including centers, are going to get their points on three points or jump shots. 

However, I don’t wish that to happen because inside shots are still exciting to watch. If you are a center in basketball, make sure that you focus on your inside shots but never abandon your free throw shot because you will get your easy shots on free throws. 

Are you a center? If yes, are you struggling with shooting free-throws? What hinders you to have a proficient free-throw percentage? Comment your answers below!

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