NBA Roundtable

Ray Allen’s Sniper Lessons

In General NBA on October 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Nice article on ESPN’s Celtics Blog

Ray Allen has been called a sniper before because of his accurate shooting from the perimeter. But the Celtics 14th-year guard actually studied up on snipers a few years back to improve on his free-throw shooting.

Asked about trying to better his already sterling free-throw percentage this season, Allen talked about how reading a book on snipers a few years back helped him start raising that number.

“I’m raising the bar so high, it has to continue to improve over the years,” joked Allen. “I’ve understood free-throw shooting more and understanding my heart rhythms and trying to relax.

“It’s pretty interesting. I read a book about snipers, how they train over their targets and how they slow their heart rate down. If their heart beats just a little too much because they get excited, they’ll miss their target. So I added that into thinking about my free-throw shooting, [how to] slow down when you want to make a free throw. How do you slow your heart down so that you don’t get overexcited so you miss a free throw because your are nervous? All those things I learned allowed me to calm down and relax.”

The article continues by seeing if Ray’s free throw shooting improved after reading the book

Allen estimated he read the book five years ago, which would have been around the time his free-throw percentage dipped to 88.3 percent during the 2004-05 season. His free-throw percentage has improved each year since, spiking at a career-best 95.2 percent last season.

Fun story

Free Throws

The free throw marks

  • 2004-05 — 88.3%
  • 2005-06 — 90.3%
  • 2006-07 — 90.3%
  • 2007-08 — 90.7%
  • 2008-09 — 95.2%

Ray Allen hasn’t shot lower than 87% from the line since his rookie season and passed the 90% mark three times before reading the book:

  • 1998-99 — 90.3%
  • 2002-03 — 91.6%
  • 2003-04 — 90.4%

Ray Allen is at 89.3% from the line for his career.

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