Learning how to make a layup is one of the first things a basketball player does.
A layup is a one-handed shot close to the basket, often made by bouncing the ball off the backboard before it goes in.
For a layup from a standing position, it’s about as simple as that.
But, how about finishing with a running layup to attack the basket?
Here are five ways to do it:
Once you pick up the ball after dribbling as you attack the basket, you are only allowed to take two steps. (any more and it’s an illegal ‘traveling violation’)
A common layup is made by scoring with the opposite hand to your jumping leg.
So, if scoring from the right-hand side of the basket with your right hand, after picking up the ball you would:
- Take the first of your final two steps with your right foot
- Take the second and final step, jumping off your left foot
- Score the layup with your right hand
The two-foot layup is another one that is often seen.
Using a one-foot (common) or two-foot layup is often dependent on the situation and what type of player you are.
To perform this, take your last two non-dribbling steps as before, but with a slight twist.
Here, you leave the foot used for the first step on the ground as you take your final step and jump off the ground with both feet.
(If done right, your final step whilst holding the ball is usually shorter than the first one)
For a visual demonstration, view the section of this video from 0:19 to 0:50.
This is similar to a two-foot layup, but has a key difference: the hop.
As you take your final dribble, use your inside leg to take a hop (forward or sideways).
Straight after you take this hop, put two hands on the ball whilst in the air and land on both feet. (this counts as your final two steps)
This can be a very useful move to…
- Bump your defender as you hop
- Cut across your defender (hopping sideways)
- Finish with your body on balance.
This is a great move to create space and trick your defender before the finish.
For your final step before jumping to finish the layup, step towards the opposite direction that you were initially going in.
For example, to fake a finish towards the right and then finish off the left:
- After picking up the ball, take the first step towards the right (with your right foot)
- Take the final step towards the left side of the basket (with your left foot)
- Jump of that left foot and finish to score
If that’s not making much sense, here’s a demonstration of the pros doing it best:
For a reverse finish, you finish your shot on the opposite side of the basket that you started attacking from.
For instance, if after dribbling you picked up the ball on the left side of the basket, you’d finish on the right.
Reverse layups can be effective in preventing big defenders from blocking your shot, especially when attacking side on. (rather than from the top of the three point line for example)
It may sound boring, but it’s best to practice and master the basic (common one-foot and two-foot) layups first to build a strong base.
Then, experiment with the more advanced ones when practicing alone AND when playing with friends, to take your game to that next level.
Here are some great layup drills to get you started.