Below you'll find 20 very effective finishing drills for basketball coaches to use during practice.
We sometimes use the word "layup" and "finishing" interchangeably. If you're a coach, you already know what "layup" means. When we say "finishing", that means the player is going to the basket and finishing with some type of shot. That shot could be a layup, euro step, pro-hop, jump-stop power finish, floater, push shot, and the list goes on. There are dozens of different finishing moves and you can learn about those moves here.
Whether you are working on a basic layup or an advanced pro-hop with a left hand hook finish... all the drills below work. You choose the type of finishing move you want players to work on for each drill.
Beginner Layup Drills
With beginners, you should use very simple drills to teach layups. The simple "layup line drill" that everyone has seen is a good example.
Once players are comfortable making basic layups, you can progress to the interleaving and competitive drills below. To get started, here's a good layup drill for beginners:
Youth Layup Drills
You'll notice we do not have any drills listed in this section because all the drills below work for players whether they are 3rd grade youth players or advanced college players.
With youth players you might only work on basic layups and you might adjust the rules to reduce the challenge. Older players might work on advanced finishing moves and have 1-2 tight defenders challenging the shot.
8 Interleaving Layup / Finishing Drills
We recommend that you use interleaving and random layup drills.
Interleaving means you mix skills and allows you to practice more efficiently -- so you might work on both dribble moves and finishing at the same time. Or you could combine layups with pieces of your offense, passing, shooting, etc.
Random means you are changing the situations and types of shots. In games, the type of layup you shoot changes randomly. All of the following can change from shot to shot in a game:
- the angle of the drive (from the top, guard lane, wing, baseline, etc)
- the number of dribbles you take to get to the basket
- the size of the defender contesting the shot
- the angle the defender takes to contest the shot
- the location the defender contests the shot
However, most teams practice the traditional block style of drill with layup lines where the same things happens over and over -- they start with the perfect angle to the basket, take 2 dribbles, and shoot the ball off the backboard with no defenders. This rarely happens in a game, especially against good defensive teams, so we recommend using "interleaving" for efficiency and "random" for better transfer skills to the games.
Here are a few good interleaving and random layup drills:
11 Competitive Layup / Finishing Drills
A common question on our message boards: "We practice every day -- why do we miss so many lay ups in games?"
The answer is almost always you need to use more competitive finishing drills (with defenders).
Competitive drills utilize defenders to contest shots and simulate what actually happens in a game. There are hundreds of ways to make drills competitive and simulate situations. Here are a few good game based drills that will help your team finish more shots.
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