What is a Free Throw in Basketball?

A sport cannot be enjoyable if there are no penalties for the fouls committed by the opponent players. Every sport offers some sort of rules and regulations that should be followed throughout the game. If any player or the team combined does not follow the rules and regulations, a penalty is offered. The same scenario goes for basketball as the teams are given penalties and fouls based on their actions on the pitch. These fouls can be crucial to turn the game and make it even more enjoyable. One of those penalties is a free throw. So what is a free throw in basketball?

A free throw is basically a penalty shot that is offered to a team if the other team commits a foul against them. The number of penalty shots depends on the nature of the foul committed, and the team has to accept it in all conditions.

The story does not actually end here. Because it is also essential to understand how many points a player can score by scoring the free throws. Not only that, but do you know the actual different free throws and the throws that players make in the game? You might not! So let’s check out all of the critical things to have a better understanding.

How many points can be scored through free throws?

What is a free throw in basketball

It is actually one of the most confusing things that should be understood if you want to play basketball professionally. The free throws do no actual work as the field goals, and there is a difference between them. When the opposing team commits a foul, and your team gets a free throw(s), you will have to make it to the basket in order to get the point. If we talk about how many points you can get by scoring a free throw, then the answer is that you can only get one point by scoring a free throw. It does not matter how outrageous the foul is; you will always get a single point by making it literally all the way to the basket and then making the ball go through it. So never forget that!

From where a free throw is scored?

You cannot just take a free throw from anywhere on the court you want. There is a specific line from where the players have to try and take the shot and score some points. If you think what that line and what is its distance, then the distance is big enough to make it uncomfortable for the players to score from that spot.

The foul line is usually 19 feet from the baseline. If we talk about how far it is from the backboard, then the distance is about 15 feet. No player can break this limit, and everyone has to follow the rule to take the free throw from the line given. If the player fails to score the free throw from the line, no point will be given. Not only that, but for anyone who violates the foul line and tries to score from above or beyond, a penalty can be imposed. That is why it is necessary to take care of these things so that you won’t have to face problems later.

The actual difference between free throws and field goals

As I stated above, free throws are different from field goals. So there should be actual reasons behind that why free throws are different from the field goals, right? Well, there actually are reasons that would justify the big difference between the two shots.

In the free throws, a specific foul line is provided from which the player has to take the shot and try to score. Not only that, but this should be followed, or the points scored by violating this will not be considered. But if we talk about the field goals, these types of goals can be taken literally anywhere from the court. There are no restrictions on where you will have to take the shot. You are allowed to whether take the shot from 1 foot or even 20 feet. It only depends on your preferences.

Another difference between field goals and free throws is that the points given in the free throws are fixed, whereas the points vary in the field goals as you might already know that only one point is awarded for scoring through the free throws. But is undoubtedly not the case with the field goals. The points given through the field goals can either be 2 or 3, depending on the position from where the point is scored. The thing that matters here the most is the field goal in the distance. If the player has scored points from a near distance, the awarded points will only be two. But if the player has scored points from a considerable distance, the points awarded will be 3.

The last difference between the free throws and the field goals is that the free throws are taken while the game is stopped. As free throws are a reward as a penalty to a team, the team that has conceded the foul is not allowed to move. This means that they are also not allowed to stop or interfere between the player and the shot taken.

On the other hand, field goals are taken with the play and timer on. All the players are allowed to move freely, and they can use any defending technique they want to stop the actual offensive player from scoring the points. They can also steal the ball before even letting the offense go for the field goal.

Amount of free throws given in different conditions

The thing to understand here is that it is very accurate that only one point is awarded for scoring a free throw, but the limit is not placed on the number of free throws a player can get. Teams are even awarded three free throws depending on what foul the other team has conceded. After that, your team has to make the best out of those free throws so that your team could win the matches. Anyways, let’s discuss some situations that can award you different types number of free throws.

1. Usual Fouls

If you watch basketball, then you would know that there are a number of fouls that can be conceded during the games. Most of those fouls result in free throws. If we talk about how many free throws are given due to the usual fouls, it depends on the situation. If a player has committed a foul to the offense that will score a 3-pointer, then the free throws given to the opposition will be three. The same scenario goes for the player that will score a 2-pointer, and the free throws awarded will be changed, respectively. That is why it is crucial to avoid these types of fouls so that the opposing team could not get the chance to score through free throws.

2. Technical Fouls

If your team has excellent anger management and great teamwork, then you might not have to worry about technical fouls. Technical fouls are usually given for unusual behavior due to any type of reason on the court. Rather than abusing the players or the referees, you should let the officials decide what has happened on the court. It will save you from committing technical fouls, and the chances of your team winning will automatically increase. In these cases, two free throws are provided to the team that they can use and try to score.

3. Violent behavior

Yes, defense and offense are part of basketball, but that does not mean that you can harm the other players while defending or charging towards the basket. Most basketball players show violent behavior when trying to defend or charge, and it causes injuries and hard for the other players. That is what causes the free throws. But in this case, only one free throw is provided, which might seem unusual to most people, but it is what it is. But still, it is not a great idea to show that kind of behavior on the court as it can also ruin your reputation and humbleness that should be in a player.

How to make your free throws better?

If your team has gotten a free throw, you will not miss it because that single point can also be crucial in the final moments. That is why you would want to make your free throws better so that you can score every time you get the free throws. So the question is, how can you make your free throws better? The only real and practical way to do so is to practice your throwing abilities. It is not very hard for basketball players to practice their throwing abilities because basketball is all about throwing the ball right in the basket.

The best thing is, you won’t even need your friends or teammates to practice the free throws with you. You will only need a hoop that you can use to put the ball in. So start from now on so that you can enhance your skills in the best possible way.


Free throws can be given any time in the match; the thing that matters is that how you make the best use of them. But if your team has conceded a free throw, it can create consequences as you won’t be able to do anything but pray that the opponent misses the basket by any chance. So keep practicing and avoid committing fouls to get into drastic situations and make your throwing abilities better to put the ball through the basket every single time.

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