Knudson, D., Mache, M., & Kotte, J. (2004). Stretching has no effect on free throw shooting accuracy. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement abstract 1433.

"Stretching has been shown to decrease maximum muscular performance for up to an hour in a variety of movements. The mechanisms for this inhibition appear to be decreases in contractile force, reflex sensitivity, and activation. It is unknown if stretch-induced performance decrements also occur in sub-maximal, accuracy-oriented movements"

This study determined if upper extremity stretching affects free throw shooting accuracy in female college players. Female college basketball players (N = 10) performed 60 free throws following a generalized warm-up. Free throws were coded in three conditions: 20 practice shots, 20 regular, and 20 following three 20-second stretches for the deltoid, triceps brachii, and wrist flexors. Players were allowed to take up to five practice shots after stretching before the last 20-shot test. The number of made free throws were recorded and expressed as a percentage.

Stretching had no effect on free throw shooting percentage. These data are limited by the small sample from two collegiate basketball teams, but the data do indicate that stretching does not affect accuracy-related movements like free throw performance.

Implication. Stretching-induced performance decrements seen in high-force muscular performance may not be present in accuracy-related movements like a basketball free throw.

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