Before shots in golf and before free-throws in basketball, I notice players have a distinctive series of actions before setting up to hit the golf ball/shoot the free throw.
A few examples of pre-shot routines:
A golfer steps behind the golf ball, takes a few practice swings, steps into address, takes a few waggles, then hits the golf ball.
A basketball player takes the basketball, simulates a free throw with his hand, bounces the basketball twice, looks at the hoop and sets his feet, then shoots the free throw.
Michael Jordan says making putts is equitable to making free throws.(1)
“I equate making putts with making free throws, and my biggest mental challenge shooting free throws was in my second year, 1986, when I came back from a foot injury for the playoffs and had a 63-point game against Boston in the Garden. I had to make two free throws to send the game into overtime, and all I focused on was the basics – I’m not gonna be short. I’m gonna extend and reach for the rim – all the fundamentals that I had worked on at home and at practice for all those years. Golf is no different.”
What is the importance of a pre-shot routine? What benefits will a player have with a pre-shot routine?