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A Layup is the most basic basketball offensive shot. This is when a player near the basket lays the ball directly off the backboard or directly into the rim at a close range. Layups not using the glass are often referred to as a finger roll.

Layup Technique

From the Right Side

  • Pick up the dribble, right foot, left foot (jump!) and finish with the right hand.
Layup angle to the square on the backboard

From the Left Side

  • Pick up the dribble, left foot, right foot (jump!) and finish with the left hand.

Utilize the top corner of the square on the backboard on the side of the basket you are on. Aiming for this spot will assure your layup going in under most conditions.

Causes of Missed Layups

The first thing you need to look at is.. are you missing layups in practice? Are you able to make them from all angles consistently and with both hands? If so, your issue is most likely not a technical one.

One of the most common things I see with youth players (I'm assuming your a HS or below player) is missed layups due to the anticipation of contact. Players will adjust midair or anticipate contact causing them to fade or take a difficult layup angle without realizing it, laying it up too hard/soft, etc.

Eyes on the Rim

A common beginner mistake for players is watching their dribble which causes them to lose track of where the basket is and their bodies relation to it. This often causes players to end up underneath the basket or too far away from the basket.

Basic driving lane angles in the half court.

Angle to the Rim

Layups are most successful when using a proper driving angle to the basket. Even when driving from the baseline or from the top of the key, finding a way to get to a finishing position at either side of the rim often results in the highest percentage shots.

General tips

  • Go to the rim with force and determination. You will go THROUGH the defense.
  • Make them step up and take a charge. See if they're willing to sacrifice. Don't limit the force you go to the rim with til the defense forces you to adjust.
  • Go up with two hands, release with one. Control the ball.
  • As others have mentioned, you need to train on keeping your eyes up. If your eyes are going to the floor when you make your move you are losing track of where the rim is. This is a DIFFICULT problem to fix if you aren't willing to put the time in to drill yourself with reps on keeping your eyes up.
  • Don't Fear the Block - If you go for a layup worrying about "footsteps" behind you on a breakaway or the movement of a defender closing on your position you're likely to overcompensate on your shot. Focus on going strong to the rim.
  • Recognize Personnel - Large shot blockers should be considered as a part of the decision making process in going into the paint in the first place prior to taking the shot, not once you've committed to going for a layup.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice The best way to get more accurate with your layups is practice and getting comfortable with the basket. A great drill for working the ball off the glass is the Mikan Drill.