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Don't Miss The Lay-up!

A short time ago someone told me that the most missed shot in basketball was not the 3 pointer, or the jump shot, or even the free throw. It is the lay-up! I couldn’t believe it, the Lay-up! I consider this to be the highest percentage shot a player can possibly take in basketball, how can it be missed so much?

I guess most players take it for granted. Because of the nature of just how easy a layup is to perform, players fail to take the time to execute it properly. And when the game is lost be a few points what shot haunts the most? The missed lay-up!

Below I’ve listed some simple tips we teach at HOOPZONE that can help you not fall into this category but rather focus on these fundamental skills:

Start Low
For starters when you begin to execute a layup, you must always play the game from low to high. Too many players play the game stiff legged and fail to tap into their full explosion capabilities because they refuse to play low.

Beginning low you have better body control and balance, and will be a strong finisher around the basket. The only time you should be high is when you are exploding the hoop and releasing your shot.

Protect The Rock
To many players never give it a thought that someone may steal the ball on a lay-up You must always keep your body between the defender and the ball. The key when finishing around the hoop is to hold the ball firmly above your hip so you can protect the ball, absorb the contact and finish the shot strong.

Explode To The Hoop and Fully Extend Yourself
Whether you finish off one or two legs (power lay-up) on your layups, you must be explosive. I always say jump as hard as you can and release as soft as you can. I recommend that you master both takeoffs because it will provide you more scoring options when you need to make a quick decision around the basket. Practice a firm plant and driving your knee up and explode to the hoop fully extending your hand to the basket. This will slow you down and allow you to time to focus on making the shot.

Kiss The Glass
The main reasons young players have trouble making layups is because they come into the basket to fast with no launch, thus resulting in a throw-up rather than a lay-up. No matter if you are sprinting to the hoop or if you are under control off a power jump stop, you must be able to execute with soft touch off the glass. Practice your layups by aiming for the top corner of the square and just make the ball touch the glass there and it will fall down for two!

Fewer Dribbles
The Better Practice getting to the hoop in one dribble from the 3 point line. Now I don’t want you to compromise you form here but as you develop focus on taking fewer dribbles. Every time the ball is put to the floor you run the risk of losing it.

On the right-hand side work on taking explosive strides of left-right-left, and on the right side of the basket explosively stride right-left-right until you really get the feel of this.

OK, so purpose to never allow yourself to fall into this category of missing the most simplest shot in the game. Anytime you practice a simple lay-up routine or pre-game drill focus your attention on NEVER missing a lay-up. Remember it’s not a Throw-up, it’s a Lay-up. One stinks and the other is a winner.

Good luck with your game,

Coach O


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