Why Shaq Shoots Like Your Granny
So what's the deal with Shaq and his foul shooting? If you haven't noticed, he misses a lot of them. Almost half of them, in fact. Not all that great for someone who gets paid a lot of money to play basketball.
So what is the best way to get a foul shot in? Well, believe it or not, it's the good old "granny shot". It's the one where you toss the ball underhand style with that big, high arc. It's probably the way you used to shoot until your friends started to make fun of you. And if you're still shooting that way now - science says you might want to stick with it.
The key to a good foul shot is in the arc of the ball. A good high arc has the best chance of going in. But if you've noticed Shaq's foul shot - it has hardly any arc. His shot is almost straight at the rim, which is why he puts up a ton of bricks when he's at the free throw line.
The other reason is the "granny shot" has a nice backspin on it. If a ball with a backspin is a little bit off and happens to hit the rim, the backspin freezes the ball as it clangs off the metal. This gives it a better chance at tipping into the hoop, rather than bouncing off it.
And so if science says, "shoot the granny shot", how come not one player in the NBA shoots the "granny shot". How come players that struggle at the line don't even try it? Well, it all comes down to how it looks. And let's face it, the "granny shot" looks stupid. Even if it goes in all the time - it still looks stupid. And when you're used to doing spectacular, rim rockin', backboard breakin' dunks, like Shaq is - why start shooting "granny style"?
If you've got a question for the sports lab, to The Zone.