How to Make More Layups with 3 Simple Tactics

I don't think there's a coach in the country that hasn't been frustrated by players missing lay ups. So this article will give you some simple ways to cut down on missed lay ups and get players finishing at a higher percentage!

Here are 3 simple things you can do to make more lay ups...

1) Make it Realistic - No More Lay Up Lines!

Travel around the country and you'll see thousands of pre-game warm ups and practices with players shooting lay ups in the traditional lay up lines. But is this really what happens in a game? How often does a player get to start right from the wing area, get 2 or 3 dribbles, and then get an uncontested lay up at the basket?

If you are really lucky that might happen one time per game. The rest of the lay ups will occur at odd angles... maybe directly to the basket, maybe from the corner, or maybe another angle. But rarely do players get the perfect angle from the wing. So why do we always shoot lay ups from there?

Instead, make lay up drills more realistic. Change the number of dribbles that players require to get the basket, change angles, and do what you can to simulate what actually happens in a game.

2) Add Competition

Again, how often do players get uncontested lay ups? In a real game they are rushed, have limited steps they can take, and often get contested near the basket from the help defenders.

Using drills like corner finishing make things more realistic and help players learn how to finish in a game.

It's no wonder players have trouble finishing. They usually don't get to practice the way they play. So in a game, it feels completely different.

We have found that the competitive finishing drills found on this DVD have made a big difference in our players' abilities to make lay ups and finish in games.

3) Use Multi-Purpose Drills

We all know there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done. So use multi-purpose drills that incorporate lay ups and a variety of skills. With a little thought and effort, you can incorporate lay ups and some type of finishing aspect in almost all the drills that you do.

For example, in your shooting drills, you can have players rebound their own misses and finish at the basket. When running ballhandling drills with cones or chairs, have guys shoot lay ups each time down the court. Or when practicing ball screens, have guys finish at the basket and add a help defender to contest the shot.

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


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Joe Haefner says:
2/16/2014 at 10:42:51 AM

Thanks, Emilie! I like that idea.


Emilie says:
2/16/2014 at 1:31:03 AM

I run "long ball lay ups" about 3 times a week. Full court, a player on each corner of the baseline, (1 offense, 1 defense) and a rebounder. The rebounder tosses the ball off the glass and gives a long ball pass down the center of the court (I usually stand behind them to give them an obstacle to pass over). The 2 corner players take off running when the ball hits the glass. Offense has to beat defense to the ball and then make the lay up under pressure. The rebounder follows their pass and has to get to the basket in time to rebound and finish if the first player misses. Fantastic conditioning, too.


derrick says:
4/14/2013 at 2:14:08 PM

Can you run this drill some place else on the floor like the wing


Ken says:
1/30/2013 at 12:38:04 PM

Ivan -

We used the drill that Jeff posted here along with this one -
(this one we ran in practice a lot)

We also did some basic lay up drills and a 4 corner passing drill. I don't think that one is posted here?? Not sure, Jeff/Joe ??


Jeff Haefner says:
1/30/2013 at 10:43:29 AM

For our pre-game it depends on the situation (how much time we have, age level, etc). But regardless I try to make it productive skill work (just like a mini practice).

With our high school team we usually run variations of this drill so we can practice post footwork, post shots, cutting, lay ups, jump shots, and pieces of our offense.

Then we let the players partner shoot starting close and working their way out to develop a rhythm.


Ivan says:
1/30/2013 at 8:24:35 AM

What drills do you use in your pre-game basketball routine?



Mike L says:
1/22/2013 at 4:15:25 PM

This CD sounds like fun, I'll have to get one for the next season. Some related things that have worked for my 8th graders are:

* Practice layins off the "wrong" leg (think Steve Nash). Who wants to slow down, or take one more step into a shotblocker, just because you're a couple feet away from the perfect takeoff spot?

* "Power up" drill where a coach or teammate hits the shooter's forearms as the player goes up. This has the side benefit of improving sportsmanship, as players are less likely to whine at officials for missing a ticky tack call.

* Play 21 or "booties," putbacks with no dribbling allowed.


Jon says:
1/22/2013 at 12:57:15 PM

Great idea I am sending this to my son's high school coach right now!


vicki says:
1/22/2013 at 8:20:18 AM

I like these drills I am going to try them at my next practice


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