Ask any of the all-time great coaches. Not one brushes off the importance of free throws.
"If you want to be in the game," Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt says, "you better shoot 75 percent from the line."
Don't believe Summitt, who's won 1,000 games and eight national championships? Here's the testimony of Rick Majerus, who has won almost 500 games and took Utah to the Final Four in 1998.
"To win the big games," Majerus says, "you must get to the free throw line...and then you must make them."
Dating back to the days of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, the free throw has been a crucial aspect in the outcome of many games. Simply put, winners can hit free throws no matter the enormity of the situation.
Great free throw shooters in NBA history, from Mark Price to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, made more than 90 percent of their free throws. Nicole Powell holds the WNBA record with 89.1 percent made, including 94-of-96 in the 2009 season.
Make sure you're ready to come through for your team at the foul stripe. This is your guide to tips, drills and other insight to the simplest shot in basketball. Here's everything you need to know about the free throw:
Shooting Drills and Tips for Free Throws
• The History of the Free Throw -- Learn how the free throw became a part of basketball, thanks to the thinking of James Naismith.
• Fundamentals of Free Throws -- This animation breaks down the fundamentals of free throws, step-by-step, so you can see how a perfect shot is executed.
• Shoot Free Throws Like the Pros -- Learn basic tips that help all players make more from the charity stripe.
• Fundamentals of Shooting With WNBA Stars -- In this video, WNBA All-Star Sue Bird demonstrates the basics of free-throw shooting.
• Fatigue Free Throws Drill -- This drill simulates shooting free throws late in games when you're tired.
• The Science Behind Your Free Throws -- Here's an interesting perspective on the mental side of free-throw shooting, so you better understand how your head can affect your shooting.
• One-on-One-on-One -- Also known as 21, this is a fun pickup game where free-throw shooting is crucial.
• How to Make 98% of Your Shots -- Learn the secrets of basketball shooting coach Dave Hopla, who once made 1,234 free throws in a row without a miss.