Basketball Layups: The Game is NOT a Layup Line

Basketball Layups

Basketball Layups: Are You Making Them?

When you practice basketball, do you practice layups?  If so, do you practice many different kinds of layups from different angles?   Are they done at game speed?  Are they practiced in a competitive atmosphere? Chances are you answered “no” to one or more of these questions.  Probably because we as players, coaches, and trainers take layups for granted as the simplest shot in the game of basketball.  Fact is, though, that layups also happen to be the most missed shot in the game of basketball.  Most likely because we either do not practice layups or we practice them as if we are in a layup line and not under the criteria highlighted in the questions above.  That is to say, we go through layups at about 60% of our top speed, with no defense, and with the same repetitive finish over and over.

Basketball Layups: 3 Keys To High Conversion

I have been using this “layup line” analogy quite a bit lately in our basketball skill development workouts at Elite Basketball Training in order to get my players to understand three key components to practicing layups and becoming proficient at finishing at the rim:

  1. That they must always practice layups at game speed.
  2. That they must practice different kinds of layups.
  3. They must practice layups at different angles of attack.
  4. That they must practice layups against competition.

This is the only way to become better at finishing around the rim and remedy the sickness of missing layups.

Elite Basketball Training For Layup Conversion

In order to develop quality finishers at Elite Basketball Training we have several different series of finishing moves that we teach as part of our basketball skill development curriculum.  These finishing series include, but are not limited to: the single foot series, two foot series, spin series, and the floater series. Each series has a variety of moves and counter moves that the players learn to use to finish in different situations based on how the defense presents itself. For example, if you have beaten your opponent off the dribble, have a step or two on them, and a clear path to the basket you would use a single foot series move in an attempt to out race the defender to the basket. Using a spin series move in this situation would only serve to complicate your finish and potentially cause you to miss.  To learn each one of these series of finishing moves, we break the move down in order to teach the footwork required for each and have them work on the footwork at a slower speed in order to develop muscle memory.  We also explain why they would use this particular finishing move versus another at this point so that they understand which situations to use it in.

Once the players have mastered this step, we have them go at full basketball speed from different angles sometimes using chairs or the Profender to serve as a defensive player that they have to read and react to.  The final step in this process is having the basketball players use the finishing moves in a live, competitive setting like a one-on-one or one-on-two finishing drill.  This final step comes as a shock to some players initially as they get their shot blocked or miss badly for fear of getting their shot blocked or getting hit.  Nonetheless, over time, they adjust to the competition and learn to use the variety of finishing moves they have been taught based on their read of the defense.

The layup is the simplest yet most missed shot in basketball today.  It is for this reason, that players must incorporate practicing layups into their basketball skill development.  However, do not just practice layups like you would take in a layup line, practice layups like you would finish in a real game.  The game presents different scenarios based on the defense and players need to be able to finish in all of these situations.  Consequently, players must practice different types of layups, at game speed, and from different angles in a competitive environment.  Then and only then will players get out of this “basketball layup line” syndrome that is causing them to consistently miss layups during games.

If you are working on actually making speed and agility improvements specific to the game of basketball, you must check out our course on just that topic:

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