How to Improve Your Lay-Up

by M.L. Rose, Demand Media
    Even professional basketball players practice layups.

    Even professional basketball players practice layups.

    Ideally, the layup is such a short, easy shot that it shouldn’t be missed by anyone but a new or a very young player. But things can happen quickly on a basketball court, and in the heat of the action even the best player occasionally misses a layup. You’ll have a better chance of making your next layup if you practice the shot regularly.

    Layup Line

    Step 1

    Participate in a layup line before practice or a game to warm up your muscles while you work on your layup form. Your team will be divided into two lines on opposite sides of the court, with one shooting line and one rebounding line.

    Step 2

    Take the ball when it’s your turn in the shooting line, dribble to the hoop and lay the ball in. Join the end of the rebounding line.

    Step 3

    Rebound the ball, or catch it, after it falls through the hoop, when you reach the front of the rebounding line. Pass the ball to the first person in the shooting line. Join the end of the shooting line.

    Step 4

    Practice layups from both sides of the basket. Also, shoot with both hands. For example, if the shooting line is on the right side of the hoop, shoot your first layup right-handed and your second left-handed, then continue the pattern. When the shooting line switches to the left side, again shoot your first layup right-handed and your second left-handed.

    Solo Practice

    Step 1

    Practice layups by dribbling at full speed from midcourt. Be sure to take a wide-enough angle so you can bank the ball off the backboard. Practice shooting with both hands, from both sides of the basket.

    Step 2

    Dribble at full speed moving straight to the basket and practice laying the ball directly over the rim, without using the backboard. While it’s easier to lay the ball in by banking it off the backboard, there may be times in a game when there’s a small crack in the defense and you must literally take the ball straight to the rim.

    Step 3

    Practice more complicated layups, once you’ve mastered the standard shot. For example, practice reverse layups by driving to the hoop from one side, then continuing under the hoop to the other side of the basket and spinning the ball off the backboard. A reverse layup can be a handy shot in a higher-level game, as it may put the rim between you and your defender, preventing her from blocking your shot.

    Step 4

    Compete with yourself while you practice. To help maintain your concentration, shoot a specific number of each type of layup. But if you miss one, start over. For example, if you’re shooting 20 layups with your right hand, from the left side, don’t move on to the next type of layup until you’ve made 20 consecutive right-handed layups from the left side.

    About the Author

    M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.

    Photo Credits

    • Stuart Franklin/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images