Time to Work (Adios to the Mental Free Throw Block)

by Kenny Eller on May 10, 2011

It's time to break my Free Throw record!

I stepped to the line, planted my right foot directly behind the tac the same way I had done the previous 27 times, took one dribble, found the valve, took the shot, held the follow through and heard the net pop for my 28th free throw in a row.

If you were at the gym yesterday morning that is what you would have seen watching me shoot.

This is what you couldn’t have seen:

My breathing sporadic and shortened, my heart rate slightly increased.  I need to calm down.  Is my hair sticking to my forehead?  I’m just seven shots from being able to call Dave Hopla and tell him I have a new free throw record!  This ball is sticky.  Stay calm Kenny.  You’ve got this.  Don’t be nervous.  Psshhh, nervous.  Just shoot it like normal.  Hold your follow through.  Don’t be flat.  Give the ball a chance to go in.  Come onnnnn.

It’s transparency time.  I’ve been stuck at 34 free throw makes in a row for almost two months now and it has become mental at this point.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten to 26, 22, 27, 33, 25, 28 and so on and then I’ll miss one free throw and go right back to making them again.

Oh, by the way, going back to how this post began, I missed my 29th free throw yesterday morning.

I’ve tried to keep what Mr. Hopla said in mind and just focus on the current moment, the current shot, but every time I get within a couple of shots of my current record (34 in a row) the weight of the moment gets the better of me.

The funny thing is, I KNOW there is absolutely NO PRESSURE on me.  I know that what I’m feeling is self-inflicted, yet it still happens.

I told a friend the other day about my struggle and they suggested a simple solution consisting of this:  Just don’t be nervous.

Hmmm, they are right, it’s just not quite that easy…at least not right now.

I felt the same way, the same nervous energy or my leg itches nonsense, when my record was 16 in a row at some point last year and through work, 16 is now like me drinking a cup of coffee in the morning…it’s almost automatic.


Due to work, aka the job that pays me, and the gym being used for AAU tournaments, I haven’t been able to get in as much basketball work as I would have liked over the last two weeks, so it’s time to do something about it.

In an effort to assassinate this mental block of mine, I will be at the gym EVERY SINGLE MORNING this week when it opens.  I will then put in a minimum of 1 hour each day shooting free throws.

It’s time to set a new record.

It’s time to get over this mental blockage.

It’s time to get past 34 and get closer to my goal of 100 Free Throws in a row!!

Mental block…soon I will tell you, Adios!!

Wish me luck! 😀

Nick Anderson Update:

There has been no official date or time set for my meeting with Nick Anderson.  We have exchanged a few texts (crazy right?!?!) and hope to have a meeting time set shortly.  As soon as something is set, I’ll make a BIG UPDATE!

Thanks for reading and for your support!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Charissa Eller May 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm

When I was playing tennis my serve would fall off sometimes due to the pressure of a match. Going out and practicing for hours helped me get past that and just reinforced that I knew how to do it. So the magic is in the work…you can do it:-)


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller May 10, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Thanks! Great advice!! 😀


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