Free Throw Champ Shares Her Secrets

"Day after day I would just work on my free throws."






Former Champlin Park Star Forward Jenny Theisen is headed to Minnesota State University Moorhead this fall. Recently gPrep caught up with the state record holder for consecutive free throws without a miss, 18-18 . Theisen went back to the line for gPrep. It’s a place the free throw champ is most comfortable.

gPrep: What’s your philosophy on free throw shooting?

JT: “I look for game like situations, instead of going to the gym and putting up 200 shots and then 30 free throws and you are done. I like to shoot 10 shots from the right baseline then go shoot 5 free throws, and then 10 shots from the left baseline then shoot 5 free throws. If you break it up like that, it’s a game like situation and you will become more consistent with your free throws.”

gPrep : Are you saying to duplicate the things you do in a game in your workouts?

JT: “Yep! Exactly.”

gPrep: You went 18-18 in a big homecoming game against Centennial to share the state record for consecutive free throw shooting without a miss. How important is that state record?

JT: “Yes it’s important. Back when I tore my ACL, my freshman year, my coach told me 'you should probably be the best free throw shooter on the team.' That was the only thing I could do because of my knees. And so, day after day I would just work on my free throws. And, it paid off in the long run. It was really cool and I’m glad I was able to do that  (18-18).”

gPrep: Nerves, you were calm under pressure. Where does that come from?

JT: “I’m not really sure. I guess if you can’t really handle the pressure, then you won’t be put in that situation. I was put in that situation. I made my first few and I just kept going. I guess I am not really sure. The energy of the crowd and my teammates really helped.”

gPrep: Are you more aggressive when your team is in the bonus? Or, are you aggressive all the time?

JT: “A little of both. I know if you give me the ball, I can make the free throws in a bonus situation. But throughout the game, I’m also aggressive going to the hole. My teammates can all make them too. We all work hard in practice. We do a running drill then we go shoot free throws. We scrimmage then we shoot more free throws.”

gPrep: You left your mark in the state record book. If you have one or two tips, what would it be?

JT: “Just practice. In the morning when you get out of  bed, you may want to watch TV. But just go up to the gym, and shoot free throws, random shooting,  baseline shooting then 10 free throws, top of the key , then shoot 10 free throws. Do that for an hour and a half and that will help you. You will be able to see improvements.”

gPrep: Do you also try to tire yourself out by running wind sprints and suicides then shoot free throws?

JT:  “YEA!  Because that makes it more of  a game like situation. If you run and shoot while you are tired, that helps you a lot because in a game you are running all the time. So in practice, you need to shoot your free throws while you’re tired.”

gPrep: Do you have a free throw routine at the line?

JT: “YES… Ok,  like…when I get the ball, I move my feet, my heels, back and fourth 5 times. Then, I dribble the ball 5 times, then I spin it , then I pause, then I bend my knees, then I aim for up-and-over the front center of  the rim. And, I always tell myself it’s gonna go in and to use my legs. EVERYTIME.”

gPrep: Same routine, you don’t change it?


gPrep: I see some people at the line being cute and fancy. Do you have any advice on that?

JT: “You don’t have to be fancy with your free throws. Just keep it basic and keep the same routine. Because if  you do different things all the time, you’ll get distracted and you won’t be as focus on your actual shot. If  you do the same routine in practice and in games,  you’ll be consistent with your free throws.”



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