How a Free Throw is like an Oly Lift

There’s a place for the predictable in everything. For CrossFit, it’s important in establishing a routine before you lift. What is your approach to a lift? Is it the same every time or do you just wing it?

Let’s take a side step for a minute and talk about free throws in the NBA, and specifically the guy with the best free throw percentage – Steve Nash. Nash, over the course of his almost 20 year career, was 90% at the line. Which, even if you don’t watch basketball, you know that’s beyond impressive. His routine? Nash would dribble the ball three times, take a deep breath, bend his knees/hips, pause, then shoot. He did this every. single. time. he shot a free throw. Why? Let him explain:

Nash talks about rhythm and mechanics, but if you watched the clip, he also has a pre-free throw ritual where he visualizes the shot; he takes several practice shots and licks his fingers before receiving the ball.

And now back to the bar… How you approach the barbell matters. What you think as you approach the barbell matters. What you do when you touch the barbell matters. Your pre-lift ritual can be the make or break of a lift.

So come up with a routine. It doesn’t need to be flashy or take three minutes. It just needs to be systematic. Think about three major things – your mentality, your breath, and your body. Maybe you chalk up, visualize the lift, walk up and place your hands on the bar one at a time, flip your ponytail over your head, and deep breath and hold it, then GO. There are a million different things you can do. Try out a few and see what sticks.

Routine isn’t boring. It’s necessary.


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