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How to finish at the rim in basketball and dominate inside

by | Oct 21, 2020


The ability to finish at the rim is one of the most valuable skills in basketball.

The closer to the basket you are, the more of a high percentage shot it is.

Below, we’re gonna go through four ways you can dominate inside by finishing at the rim.

Initiate contact with your defender

As a defender jumps up to block your shot, make sure that YOU bump them, rather than them bumping you.

No… this doesn’t mean barging into a defender’s chest when they’re standing still.

That would be an illegal offensive ‘charging foul’.

However, if a defender is chasing you, rotating over or is moving by your side, you are well within your rights to jump into them and initiate contact.

This will make it much harder for your defender to jump upwards and block your shot.

But, accepting this contact and still making a shot is difficult and takes practice.

To help with this, it can be better to take a two-foot layup rather than a standard layup off one-foot.

This will help to give you the increased stability needed to finish through contact.

Arm extension and arc

When I started playing competitively for my age group in high school, I was one of the tallest on the team.

After playing well, I eventually got selected for the team with the oldest kids in the school (senior/varsity).

All of a sudden, I related to being one of the shortest players on the floor. Layups that usually went in became blocked shots or misses.

I had to adjust by fully extending my arm on my layups. Also, I began to put more arc on my layups/placing them higher on the backboard.

With time and practice, I began to find it easier to score again, despite facing taller defenders.

Fully extend your arm up AND away from your defender on layups and – when needed – lay the ball up higher.

This is key in helping you to finish at the rim over tall defenders.

But, this is also a harder shot, so be patient with your progress. As always, practice makes perfect.

basketball tips to finish at the rim

Deceiving defenders

When trying to finish at the rim, if a defender is there, a simple layup may not cut it.

Often, you’ll need to do something to deceive the defender.

One way to do this is to time your layup in an unpredictable way.

For example, rather than taking the standard layup after two steps, you could try to take it after one step.

Another way to catch the defender off guard is through double-clutch layups.

This is when you bring the ball up as if you are about to lay it up, and then bring it back down to your body in mid-air, finally scoring with a delayed finish.

It’s a tough skill, also requiring athleticism and core strength. (keep reading to the end for help with this)

Also, you can use different types of layups to fool defenders.

For example, euro-step and reverse layups can make your defender think you are trying to score on one side, when really you’re scoring on the other.

Train your athleticism

To finish at the rim at an elite level, athleticism is a MUST.

Improving your vertical jump is key. As you jump higher, your layups become much harder to block.

Accepting contact and/or making adjustments to your shot in mid-air also demands core strength.

This will give you the stability necessary to perform these moves and avoid injury.

Improving your vertical jump and athleticism will make things a lot easier when finishing at the rim.



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