4 Must-Have Finishing Moves

Unless you’re 6’6 with a 40 inch vertical jump, you will need to develop a few crafty finishing moves.

As you progress through high school and college, players get much taller, longer, and more athletic. This makes it more difficult to finish around the basket.

Here are four must-have finishing moves taught by Jim Huber.

Jerk To Ear is a move that every player should use. It’s vital to prevent getting the ball stolen from you. Many smart defenders know that offensive players will sweep the ball to their inside hip prior to shooting a lay up. As soon as they see the ball reach the inner hip, they swipe at the ball.

The stretch lay up is a great way to get the ball up to the basket before trailing defenders can recover to contest the shot. Great point guards like Tony Parker have perfected this shot.

The opposite hand lay up is a great way to use the rim to protect your shot against defenders. You simply finish with the opposite hand on the opposite side of the rim.

With the reverse lay up, you finish on the opposite side of the rim. However, unlike the opposite hand lay up, you keep the ball in your same hand. You finish with your right hand on the left side of the hoop. And you finish with your left hand on the right side of the hoop.

These same moves and more are taught at the Elite Guard Camps and the Elite Guard “Next Level” Camps.

More Tips To Improve Making Lay Ups:

While there are many more finishing moves you can practice, pick a few that fit your game and complement each other. Then…. Practice. Practice. Practice.

I would also practice these moves from different distances and angles.

Also, implement some competitive finishing drills to work on these moves.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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john C says:
4/14/2016 at 11:39:07 AM

I'm a coach and ref - I like the moves but I would call travelling for most of what I saw in the video.

  1 reply  

John c says:
3/31/2020 at 2:37:49 PM

John C you should not be reffing if that's how you see it


Dan S. says:
2/25/2016 at 9:11:07 AM

Love your stuff, Joe!

I prefer to teach kids to shoot reverse layups with the same hand they would have shot if it wasn't reversed. So left side attack, reverse layup is left-handed.

Three reasons;

The footwork is proper. You're leaving off right/inside foot for a left-handed layup. It is 2 steps beyond that to get to a reverse. So the footwork stays pure (and let's not use exceptions, like Ginobili's off-foot layups as a rule).

The player can still see the floor as he turns to shoot. The video, left side attack puts the player with his back to everyone. This is okay for bigs, but an attacking guard who could get help D on him and use the reverse move to open up a perimeter shooter has options. How many kids get hung-up, leaving their feet with no options, when they get near the rim?

The same hand as normal approach puts your body between the defender and you, when you shoot. You come from the left and shoot right handed, the ball is out away from the body, where a defender can get it. The video with kids driving then pivoting back toward where they came from, just to square up to the basket is not normal. In fact, it slows down the move, which is something you rarely want to do.

I'd say, as an attacking guard, I've used this 2-3 times a game in overseas competition and recommend same hand from experience as a player, as well as from coaching this as a significant option to improvement in kids' scoring.

Final thought on practicing both ways, there's a point at which you can't put too much time into every single choice, it becomes counter-productive.

I do believe, and believe you do as well, that the kids with the widest ranges of moves have the best chance to optimize floor time.

  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
2/26/2016 at 7:29:18 AM

Appreciate the input and feedback, Dan.

I think in addition to what you said, we also need to evaluate the individual's strengths and competition level.

Someone may be highly effective with one finish and not with the other.

Some of the intricacies mentioned may not matter if it's a middle school or high school coach.

Either way, I still appreciate the insight and something I'll definitely consider with my personal training because they are good points.


Terry Battenberg says:
1/21/2016 at 4:35:31 PM

While I liked your "Finishing Moves" video, I am not completely fond of your "using strong hand" philosophy. I feel it is important to make drives with both hands from both sides equally strong. If you start young enough and teach the importance of equal-handedness, you will have a more "complete player." We teach kids to dribble with their off hand so they are stronger players. Moves should also be taught and encouraged with equal handedness. I guess it kinda gets back to the old argument of "permanent pivot foot" or teaching players to use "either foot" to pivot. Guess which I am? :o)

I liked it though. Just not a total buy-in.

  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
1/21/2016 at 4:46:33 PM

Thanks for the comment, Terry. My philosophy is practice both and do whatever gives you the best chance to make the basket during the games.

  1 reply  

Bob Crotty says:
2/25/2016 at 3:09:55 PM

Joe -
Good stuff. Thanks. I agree with your "strong hand" philosophy. I tell my kids to practice their off-hand lay ups, but use their strong hand in games, if they are more comfortable. After all, the object is not "style points". It is to score the ball. Eventually, they will develop enough dexterity and confidence (hopefully) with their off-hand, and it will be second nature to use it when it is to their advantage to do so. Thanks again.

  1 reply  

Robinson says:
11/20/2020 at 8:20:59 AM

This might be only relevant to teaching younger/beginners. I am high school coach and AAU National Coach. My focus is always for players to be equally as strong with both hands for passing, and shooting. Any weaknesses in their game can be exposed.


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