Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

Why Shooting Free Throws Can Teach You About Life

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2012 Mar 19

Posted by Jim_Daly Mar 16, 2012




College basketball’s yearly offering of “March Madness” is officially underway. Have you caught any of the action yet?

Many of the games over the next few weeks will be decided at the free-throw line. And although the majority of these shots are made, an uncontested shot from 15 feet away is no “gimme” – unless your name is Bob Fisher.

Mr. Fisher doesn’t play on any team. The Nebraska resident has held the same job with the Department of Agriculture for the past 24 years. He tried his hand at coaching on the side, but wasn’t very good at it, compiling a losing record over the course of seven years.

But as part outlet/part hobby, Bob Fisher took up shooting free throws several years ago. After a few years of playing every night, he got pretty good at it. Excellent, in fact. He’s now set 14 Guinness world records including most shots in 30 seconds (33), 50 shots in one minute, 92 in two minutes and 448 in 10 minutes. He also made 2,371 in one hour.

Those are pretty incredible statistics, but what I found most insightful within the New York Times piece that featured news of Fisher’s records wasn’t his mere prowess at the line but rather his reflection on technique.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Bob Fisher doesn’t believe there’s one “best way” to shoot a free throw. Instead, he encourages players to use their most natural wrist motion, even if the fingers on the ball are pointing away from the basket. The success of your shot, he suggests, is dependent upon the launch angle of the ball, which is based upon a person’s height.

So shooting a basketball is a not a one-size-fits-all technique.  Neither are things like romancing your spouse or raising your kids -- or just living life! God has given each of us very specific gifts and talents. As Paul wrote to the church at Corinth: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).

Do you sometimes feel like you’re pushing against your God-given gifting? If you are, I would encourage you to ponder Paul’s words and ask the Lord to guide you as you pray to discern His point of view.

What is it that God made you to do? Remember that even if you know what that role might be, the road to get there will be unique because there’s nobody else on earth quite like you.

So, go ahead.

I dare you.

I dare you to uncover, discover and “take a shot” at pursuing God’s great plan and purpose for your life.

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