Left Hand Layup-worth the time?
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Author:  YouthBall [ 10 Feb 2013, 17:26 ]
Post subject:  Left Hand Layup-worth the time?

I coach kids from grades 2 to 5. I currently make all of my players use their left hands to shoot left side layups. I have often wondered if this is worth my players' time. I have yet to have a player make a left handed layup in a game- although a third grader on my team almost made one the other day. I tried to celebrate his effort even though it cost us two points! I watched opposing fifth grade teams do layup drills during warmups. The vast majority of opposing players shoot the left side layup with their right hand- even in warmups. The opposing coaches don't seem to correct the error in shooting form. To get kids to shoot left handed layups properly, it takes a considerable amount of practice time. I have also noticed that there are skilled high school, college, and even pro players who do not use their off hand for shooting. Any chance I am wasting time focusing on this skill?
Great website!

Author:  Coach Rob [ 10 Feb 2013, 21:58 ]
Post subject:  Re: Left Hand Layup-worth the time?

Absolutely! 100% worth the time!! In fact, encourage the kids to work on their weak hands when they practice on their own. Not just lay-ups, but dribbling. Two ball dribbling drills are great for that. I understand you have limited practice time, but I would work on the weak hand at least 5-8 minutes each practice. The players that can use both their hands while shooting around the basket and can dribble equally with either hand are gold.

Obviously, it would depend on the age group how much time you spend. Second and third graders are still working on making a basic lay-up with the proper form and dribbling in general with their strong hand. Fourth and fifth should start working on their weak hands more.

Author:  JeffHaefner [ 11 Feb 2013, 07:35 ]
Post subject:  Re: Left Hand Layup-worth the time?

I agree with coach Rob. It's definitely worth the time. We have our players do form shooting with their left hand too. Catch tennis ball with left. Catch a small basketball with one band and pass back.

This is developing strength and coordination in their non dominant hand. Something as simple as spending 2 minutes a day trying to shoot with your let develops strength that pays huge dividends in middle school, high school, and beyond.

The measure of a great youth coach is not how many games they win. That means nothing. It's about the positive impact and the development that coach is able to do. Youth coaches can measure their success by checking up on those kids in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, and beyond.

When working with my 2nd grade daughters team, we did things like balance, catching with our weak hand, dribbling with weak hand, coordination, fundamental movement skills, and all kinds of things that did absolutely ZERO for them in games this year. Some of those things will probably do ZERO for next year and the year after. But as they approach middle school and high school, the skills, coordination, and athletic traits we're developing will be huge dividends.

Studies show that coordination is best developed between ages of 5-12. Don't miss that opportunity.

Kids might not need a left hand now, but when in high school when the defense is really good, I'll tell you our good players use both their left and right hands at different times to finish in the lane. Not having that strong left only holds you back and limits your options.

Also, at the high school and higher levels, we teach players to jump off the incorrect foot and use their left hand on the right side to get to the basket quicker (Steve Nash quick jump with inside hand to get the ball on the backboard before it gets blocked). Sometimes jumping off the incorrect foot allows you to reduce strides needed to get to the basket and makes you quicker.

Author:  Coach Sar [ 11 Feb 2013, 08:09 ]
Post subject:  Re: Left Hand Layup-worth the time?

Nothing to add to Jeff's and Coach Rob's post.... as a high school coach we always taught our players to use their left hand.... dribbling,shooting and passing. Anything that you can come up with to help your players use their non dominant hand will help them in the future.

Forgot where I heard this... and this is for all of us but certainly will help the kids too.... brush your teeth with your non dominant hand... do as many things as use can with that hand.. good for eye hand coordination / brain stimulation?

I see a lof of coaches today teaching a JUMP STOP lay up....... I've seen varsity kids miss this too.

Author:  Coach Rob [ 11 Feb 2013, 10:32 ]
Post subject:  Re: Left Hand Layup-worth the time?

All of my 8th grade players make lay-ups in games with both hands.

Author:  golfman25 [ 11 Feb 2013, 12:03 ]
Post subject:  Re: Left Hand Layup-worth the time?

Ask my kid who hit on non-dominant hand layup to put his team ahead with 30 seconds to go if it was "worth the time." (Unfortunately he ended up missing the game winning shot, a 15 foot jumper which just rimmed out.) I think he would say yes.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Good luck.

Author:  YouthBall [ 11 Feb 2013, 16:54 ]
Post subject:  Re: Left Hand Layup-worth the time?

Thanks for the prompt responses! Looks like I will be sticking with the off-hand work. This website is amazing.

Author:  Coach Rob [ 11 Feb 2013, 17:59 ]
Post subject:  Re: Left Hand Layup-worth the time?

bameath wrote:
Looks like I will be sticking with the off-hand work.
Smart choice. Already been said, but you'll have to be the coach that allows kids to try it in games when the opportunity presents itself, make or miss. Praise them anytime they try it in practice or a game.

Author:  Coach Sar [ 11 Feb 2013, 18:05 ]
Post subject:  Re: Left Hand Layup-worth the time?

You will never go wrong when you teach solid fundamentals!

Author:  scumming [ 25 Feb 2013, 20:46 ]
Post subject:  Re: Left Hand Layup-worth the time?

I seem to be out of step with everybody else and although I'm not as qualified as Jeff, Coach Sar, and Coach Rob, having recently coached year 3, 4 and 5 basketballers, I believe that teaching layups with the non preferred hand is an absolute waste of time, except in the case of challengnig your very good ball handlers.

Before you all drown me out with your howls of derission, let me state my case. Teaching kids to dribble and pass using their non preferred hand is an important and worthwhile exercise and I would definitely devote trainnig time to doing that to improve and advance their skills. I don't think it's useful to have them trying to learn to make a layup with their non preferred hand when they would be lucky to make 10-20% of layups with their preferred hand. Looking at it another way - until you can consistently make a layup (perhaps 75-80% of the time) why would you try to make things harder by attempting the exercise with your wrong hand? I'm sure that you wouldn't routinely have kids of this age trying to shoot with their wrong hand, so I don't see why you would practice layups with the wrong hand.

Definitely, practice layups from both sides of the court but, unless the player is an excellent ballhandler, I doubt that it's worth teaching them to use their wrong hand when laying up on the non preferred side. If their approach to the basket is correct, a layup using the preferred hand, even if it's further from the backboard, will still be a far supperior shot than trying to layup with the 'correct' hand if it's their non preferred hand.

As Doug Bigelow says and shows, layups are quite a difficult skill for kids of this age because of their lack of height, strength and fine motor skills so I don't see the point in teaching a non preferred hand layup to all but an exceptional ballhandler. I didn't even practice layups with the preferred hand much because I found that players of this age (both mine and opposing teams) score a much higher % of shots when they make the shot from good position within their 'comfortable shooting range' than when attempting a layup. During games I stressed the importance of 'going with' the player running in for the layup and it was amazing how many times the layup missed but the team mate following picked up the rebound for a score.

Sorry for the desenting view but I WOULDN'T practice non preferred handed layups. Concentrate on strengthening the players passing and dribbling with both hands and learning to shoot from close in to maximise their chances of scoring. KISS principle - work on the simple things and have the kids doing them well then as they grow older, bigger and stronger they can start working on the more difficult skills.

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