Before I get into the main idea of this post, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the basketball players that trained with Elite Basketball Training this past year on a job well done. Based on the emails that I have been getting lately it would appear that almost all of you have made your team in large part due to your work in our basketball skill development and sports performance programs. I am very proud to have worked with you this year and I look forward to hearing about your continued success on the basketball court and working with you again throughout the season and when the season ends. Remember, this is only the beginning. Basketball training is a process that must be continued throughout the year.
Now on to the primary focus of this post.
These days, missed layups have become almost epidemic at the youth and high school levels, as it would appear that basketball players are missing more more consistentl when they drive to the basket. As a matter of fact, at one of my practices this week I witnessed more missed layups in an hour and a half practice than I have seen in a long time. What’s going on with this? Has today’s young basketball players lost their ability to make layups? Having the ability to drive to the rim effectively is great. However, the skill of driving to the basket can be negated by continuously missing layups once you get there. Quite frankly it is happening too often at the youth and high school levels to be acceptable and a change needs to be made.
Before we make that change, lets explore why basketball players are missing at the rim. I wish I could say that these misses are caused as a result of excessive contact. This is a miss that, as a coach, I can accept because the player would still be on the foul line shooting two free throws, but this is actually not the reason for the misses. The missed layups are caused by the exact opposite of contact. Players are constantly trying to avoid contact, contorting their body in ways that never seem imaginable and ultimately finishing softly with some kind of flick layup or poorly executed floater. These types of off balance finishes hurt the player finishing in more ways than one, primarily making the player off balance thereby taking them away from the rim (rather than going towards it) and causing them to miss the layup as well as any contact that could put them on the free throw line. This costs the team valuable points and an opportunity to put their opponents in foul trouble. So, with this in mind, what then is the remedy to the missed layup disease that is plaguing our young players? Very simple, teach the players how to finish properly and then practice finishing under duress and with contact.
Making layups is a constant focus at our Elite Basketball Training skill development workouts. When young players first come to us, we teach them the proper progressions of making a layup, starting under the rim and working our way back to the three point line. Players are taught the proper footwork of attacking the rim in order to maintain their balance throughout the process as well as to begin low and finish high at the rim while reaching away from the defender. Once our players have the proper fundamentals of finishing dow, we are constantly practicing our finishing drills against a coach with a blocking pad or in a competitive drill that forces the player to finish while another player challenges them. Recently we have been employing what I call read and react drills. These drills require the player to attack the basket either out of the triple threat or off the dribble, read the defense (a coach with a blocking pad that moves into various defensive positions), and finish using any of their finishing moves. The player must make a decision as to what finishing move to use based on the defense the coach is playing and they must finish through contact. Practicing this way forces the player to slow the game down in order to read the defense while also making them better at finishing with contact. The second type of drill that I refer to is a series of competitive drills that have players go against each other. These one on one type drills usually gives the offensive player a slight advantage over the defensive player while the defensive player chases from behind or has to touch a spot and close out on an attacking player. Either way the offensive player is challenged just enough to make them have to finish in a more game like situation.
Practicing and training in a game like manner is one of our rules of thumb for basketball skill development and it is a great way to help alleviate the problem of consistently missing layups. Basketball players these days seem to be missing more layups that I can remember due in large part to trying to avoid contact rather than finish through it. Layups are like any other skill and need to be practiced properly. Build a strong foundation first then work on finishing against other players or coaches in a read and react or one on one type drill. Doing so will ultimately make you a better finisher around the rim and help remedy society of this missed layup disease.
Let me know if you are seeing as many missed layups as I am and what you are doing to fix the problem by writing in the comments sections below. And don’t forget, our Elite Basketball Training Saturday Skills and weekday workouts continue on throughout the season so get in the gym now and continue to elevate your game and become elite.