Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 18 (2), 62-67

Effect of Caffeine Ingestion on Free-Throw Performance in College Basketball Players


Effect of Caffeine Ingestion on Free-Throw Performance in College Basketball Players

Zhi S Tan et al. J Exerc Sci Fit.


Background: It is currently unclear whether pre-exercise caffeine ingestion can improve free-throw shooting performance, a vital skill in basketball. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of caffeine on free-throw shooting performance in college-aged basketball players.

Methods: Twelve males (23.1 ± 1.9 years; 180.1 ± 8.8 cm; 77.1 ± 12.4 kg) and six females (22.0 ± 1.3 years; 169.4 ± 8.9 cm; 67.0 ± 11.1 kg) who competed at the college level ingested 6 mg per kg of body mass of (a) caffeine or (b) maltodextrin (placebo) on two separate occasions in a random order. After 60 min, they performed five sets of a match-simulated basketball protocol comprising six sideline-to-sideline sprints on a standard basketball court followed by two free-throws after each set. The number of successful shots was counted. Heart rate and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) after each sprint set were also recorded.

Results: Caffeine ingestion did not improve overall free-throw success (caffeine = 6.1 ± 1.7 vs. placebo = 5.5 ± 2.0; p = 0.34) compared with placebo across all five sets. There was no change in shooting accuracy across sprint sets in either trial despite significant increases in both heart rate and RPE. Caffeine increased heart rate (p = 0.02) but had no effect on RPE (p = 0.57) across five sets compared with placebo.

Conclusions: Ingestion of 6 mg of caffeine per kg of body mass did not improve basketball free-throw performance. Free-throw performance did not deteriorate with increasing number of sprint sets.

Keywords: Accuracy; Fatigue; Heart rate; Rating of perceived exertion; Shooting.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Timeline of exercise protocol for one session.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
A. Group mean and individual total free-throw scores of caffeine and placebo trials. B. Mean free-throw scores of all participants per set. Data are reported as mean ± SD.

Similar articles

See all similar articles


    1. Abian P., Del Coso J., Salinero J.J. The ingestion of a caffeinated energy drink improves jump performance and activity patterns in elite badminton players. J Sport Sci. 2015;33(10):1042–1050. - PubMed
    1. Ganio M.S., Klau J.F., Casa D.J. Effect of caffeine on sport-specific endurance performance: a systematic review. J Strength Cond Res. 2009;23(1):315–324. - PubMed
    1. Pérez-López A., Salinero J.J., Abian-Vicen J. Caffeinated energy drinks improve volleyball performance in elite female players. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2015;47(4):850–856. - PubMed
    1. Spriet L.L. Exercise and sport performance with low doses of caffeine. Sport Med. 2014;44(S2):175–184. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Davis J.M., Zhao Z., Stock H.S. Central nervous system effects of caffeine and adenosine on fatigue. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2003;284(2):R399–R404. - PubMed