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Shooting - The Lay-up

The lay-up is among the most fundamental basketball shots that many players take for granted when practicing basketball. It is probably one of the easiest things to do in basketball and can result in the most points (at a young age especially) when done correctly. Because the lay-up isn't the glamour shot, many players tend to come to be lazy during practice and neglect it. In a time now where fundamentals are slowly being forgotten and replaced with fancy moves, players need to remind themselves of the basic techniques of shooting lay-ups to make themselves better scorers. In this article we'll discuss just a few things associated with lay-ups that will help improve your overall game.

At our younger HOOPZONE camps we always have young kids who do not have a clue on how to shoot a lay-up and honestly a major challenge. Young players don't be alarmed if this isn't natural for you right away. The timing, jumping off proper foot, throwing ball up are all so foreign to young athletes. But when they get it, it clicks.

Take the Lay-up Seriously.
Lay-ups are typically shot in the course of a fast break when a defender is stuck to your hip or trailing you harassing you all of the way to the hoop. In case you practice lay-ups like you are the only person on the court you'll miss a large number of shots or have the ball taken away from you. You may wind up jumping off the wrong foot or throw the ball too hard since your timing was bad. Just because the lay-up appears uncomplicated during working out when you are alone doesn't mean you can blow it off. It's an altogether different situation while in a game, always train at game speed, even while doing warm-ups.

The Angle.
Always start out from a 45 degree angle (between the angle of the top of the key and the baseline) when shooting a lay-up. This allows the player to come into basket and bank off the backboard at the proper angle.

Jumping off Proper Foot.
I coach to imagine a string attached from the elbow of the shooting arm to the knee that should be coming up. This will help kids to understand which leg to jump off from and which leg comes up. So if driving in from right side of floor you shoot with right arm and jump off left foot. Just the opposite happens on left side. When making that final jump off your proper foot gives yourself firm momentum up to basket and not through the basket.

Shoot with your outside arm.
You should be able to shoot lay-ups equally well with your right or left hand. If you happen to be driving for the basket on the right side of the floor and shoot with our left hand, you might be in all likelihood going to have your shot blocked. If you're driving toward the right side of the basket, shoot with your right hand and if you're driving on the left side of the basket, shoot with your left hand. This will keep your body between the ball and the defender and you'll be likely to draw a foul if the defender tries to block your shot.

Gently off Backboard.
I’ve always said remember this is a lay-up and not a throw-up. Get it, one looks great the other nasty. After firmly jumping off proper foot extend arm with ball towards basket and gently “KISS” the glass as some say. All you have to do is focus on touching the backboard with the ball and it gently falls down through.

It is important to do constant layup drills with a team, and some with defenders present harassing the shooter. A good lay-up drilling can be used with conditioning to push and focus on lay-up. Many coaches will make athletes run for every missed lay-up in practice because they should be so easy to make.

The Power Lay-up.
When in heavy traffic, meaning multiple defenders, the shooter should shoot a power lay-up. Rather than jumping off one foot come to a firm two foot jump stop and up strong to basket. Use both hands to bring the ball up and bank it off the board with the hand that's furthest away from your defender. Be prepared to be hit or bumped while shooting in traffic.

Good luck with your game,

Coach O


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