The objective here is to give you a breakdown on layups in basketball and inside scoring.
This will include:
- Ways to make a layup
- Layup drills and training
- Two unstoppable moves for scoring inside
- Why you should use two foot layups in basketball
- Tips for finishing at the rim through traffic
That way, you’ll be able to dominate on offense.
1. Ways to make a layup in basketball
There are multiple types of layups in basketball.
Here, we’ll go through the main ones…
After picking up your dribble to hold the ball in two hands, take two steps and score by jumping off one leg.
The final leg you jump off is traditionally opposite to the hand you score with.
TWO FOOT LAYUP
Here, you take the layup by jumping off both feet rather than one.
Often, this involves a longer penultimate step to jump higher.
This is similar to a normal two-foot layup, but with a key difference: the hop.
As you take the final dribble, hop (forwards or sideways) using your inside leg.
After, put two hands on the ball whilst in the air and land on both feet.
(These are you final two steps.)
A hop-step layup is useful when you want to:
- Bump your defender to create space
- Cut across your defender (hopping sideways)
- Slow down to finish on balance
After picking up your dribble, take your first step in one direction (e.g. right) and then your final step in another (e.g. left), before scoring the layup.
This can help you deceive your defender and create space to score.
Finish by scoring on the opposite side of the basket that you started attacking from.
This can help to prevent big defenders from blocking your shot.
2. Layup drills and training
Now that we’ve got a few layups understood, it’s time to train to improve.
Here are two drills to work on…
DRILL #1: GAME-SPEED LAUYUPS
Don’t worry if your court doesn’t have markings, just guess the starting points.
Start at the left corner and attack the basket aggressively as if in a game.
After scoring the layup, collect the ball, run to the next spot and repeat.
Do this until you reach the right corner.
How this helps:
Ever been running at full speed and smoked a layup because of a lack of control?
Happens to the best of us…
This drill will help you improve at hitting layups at game speed.
Whilst developing your “touch” and control, it also trains your stamina and endurance.
DRILL #2: ADVANCED LAYUP PRACTICE
Start at around the free throw line and attack the basket with one dribble.
Score with any type of layup you like.
Eurostep, double clutch, spin move… you name it.
But, there are two points of focus:
- Clean footwork – get to the basket without traveling
- Mirror each layup – after doing a layup with one hand, repeat it with mirrored footwork for the opposite hand
How this helps
This gives you the chance to work on more complex finishes at the rim.
Mirroring each layup helps to make sure your game doesn’t get one-sided.
That way, you’ll be confident when using all these moves in a game.
Apart from practicing these drills, one thing is ESSENTIAL.
Get out and play agains live defense. Real people.
Training layup technique by yourself is useful.
But, it’s completely different when there’s a defender trying to block your shot.
Playing 1 on 1 can help you practice against a chasing defender.
You can also add players on each team to help simulate help defense.
3. Two unstoppable moves for scoring
Before going through these moves, I want to make one thing clear.
There’s a reason that these moves are so difficult to stop.
They require a LOT of practice.
But, with training, they ARE lethal.
MOVE #1: ‘EXTENDO LAYUPS’
This is a layup where you fully extend your arm UP and AWAY from the defender.
Combining it with a few rules make it unstoppable…
Rule 1: Close your defender off
Keep your body in between your defender and the ball, with your inside shoulder by their chest to protect the ball.
This means they would have to jump and reach over you to block the shot.
As a result, your layup is much harder to contest.
Rule 2: YOU initiate the contact
Whether on the ground or in the air, make sure you bump the defender before they bump you.
This will get your defender off balance, making it difficult for them to jump vertically and contest the shot.
Try to only make contact with the upper arm (not the elbow or upper shoulder) to avoid a foul.
Rule 3: Stay protected in mid-air
Even after jumping, use your opposite (non-shooting) arm to hold off your defender’s body.
Rule 4: Fully extend your elbow
Lastly, you must fully extend your arm UP and AWAY from the defender (as said from the start).
Again, this will make your shot harder to block.
MOVE #2: THE FLOATER
This is a shot that is usually taken in the paint, pushing the ball high up and over the defenders to score.
The high arc and quick release of this shot make it pretty unstoppable.
Now, all you need to do is make sure it goes in.
As stressed before, this requires training, but here are three tips.
Tip 1: Don’t flick your wrist
Leave your palm open and don’t flick your wrist.
This will improve your aim and control, helping to achieve the accuracy you need to hit the shot.
Tip 2: Push the ball up high
The whole point of a floater is that the ball is high enough for it to be IMPOSSIBLE to block.
So make sure there’s enough arc on the ball.
This can also help the ball go in with a “friendly roll” if it hits the rim first.
Tip 3: Variety of takeoffs
When in the paint, you can find yourself in all sorts of situations.
Its fine to have a favourite, but practice finishing off each individual foot as well as off both feet.
4. Why you should use two foot layups
The traditional way to lay the ball up is by jumping off one foot.
But – especially at higher levels – you’ll often notice players using two foot layups.
There are good reasons for this.
We’ll go through the benefits, plus a drill you can use to train these layups.
BENEFITS OF TWO FOOT LAYUPS
Two foot layups give you more control over your body.
Since you jump off two feet, you have much more balance when taking off.
As a result, you have more room to adjust your shot in reaction to a defender.
(This is why double clutch layups are often taken off two feet)
Due to you having more balance, a layup off two feet is often more stable and safe.
Therefore, it allows you to create more contact with your defender in the air to prevent a block.
You might jump higher
Depending on your two foot jump technique, your play style and some other factors…
You might actually jump higher with a layup off two feet.
NOTE: these benefits don’t necessarily make a one foot layup worse.
- You can get off the ground faster with a layup off one foot
- You can jump further with a layup off one foot
DRILL FOR TWO FOOT LAYUPS
Don’t worry if your court doesn’t have markings, just guess the starting points
Start at the left elbow and score a layup off two feet.
Then, run to the other elbow and do the same.
Repeat this, making as many two foot layups as you can.
Tips for the drill
Focus on fully extending your arm to finish at the rim.
That way, it’ll be harder for defenders to block you when using this move.
5. Finishing layups at the rim through traffic
If you really want to dominate on offense, you have to be able to hit contested layups.
Some of the tips/training here might have already been briefly mentioned at points.
But, here’s a clear list of four points to help finish in traffic…
INITIATE CONTACT WITH YOUR DEFENDER
If a defender is…
- Moving by your side
- Rotating over
- Chasing you from behind
… you are well within your rights to jump slightly into them and initiate contact.
Meanwhile, barging into a still defender’s chest is an illegal ‘charging foul’.
Initiating contact makes it much harder for the defender to jump upwards and contest the shot.
ARM EXTENSION AND ARC
My past experiences are an example of how this helps…
In school I was used to being the tallest in my age group, and then got selected for the senior/varsity team.
All of a sudden, I related to being one of the shortest players on the floor.
Layups that I usually scored become blocked shots or misses.
Eventually, I adjusted and learned to fully extend my arm on layups and place shots higher on the backboard.
With time and practice, I began finding it easier to score again, despite facing taller defenders.
Fully extend your arm UP and AWAY from defenders, laying the ball up higher when needed.
Earlier, we went through some different ways to make a layup.
Make sure to train a variety of finishes that will help you deceive defenders.
- Double clutch
TRAIN YOUR VERTICAL JUMP
To become a truly elite finisher at the rim, athleticism is a must.
Improving vertical jump makes it harder to block shots.
Also, core strength is needed to change shots and accept contact in mid-air.
You don’t need to be a freak athlete to be a great finisher, but improving your athleticism and vertical jump will make your life a lot easier.