Layups with Awkward Finishes
Lay ups are one of the most efficient shots in basketball. Great coaches design their offense around getting as many lay up opportunities as possible.
So if you can’t finish near the hoop, you become a liability to your team.
First, you need to learn how to make basic lay ups. I would also add jump stop lay ups to the progressions below.
Notice, in the drill below, you also adjust the angle. Additionally, I would also adjust the distance. This will change footwork and distance jumping from the basket.
You never get the perfect lay up from the perfect angle in basketball, so you need to practice lay ups from different angles and distances.
Once you perfect basic lay ups, you need to learn how to make awkward lay ups.
Jump off your right leg and shoot with your right hand.
Jump off your left leg and shoot with your left leg.
As your competition improves, you don’t have time to take extra steps to get “proper footing.” This will result in your shot getting blocked more often and the defense sliding over to stop you or force a low percentage shot. So it’s very important to be able to make lay ups with either foot.
And remember to practice finishing in a competitive environment with defenders:
Advanced players can even proceed to finishing moves below.
Also, as we teach in our program, make sure just to pick a few finishing moves that complement and counter each other. We call them A, B, C moves. This will make you more effective.
If you try to practice too many different moves and they don’t complement each other, you’ll be poor to mediocre at most of the finishing moves. And they won’t be nearly as effective.
It’s better to be great at a few moves and have counters for those great moves… this applies to all aspects of the game.
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee
Develop great footwork for shooting, passing, getting open, dribble moves, perimeter moves, and post moves!
- Reduces travels
- Keeps you on balance to make stronger passes and shoot with more range.
- Helps you create angles to pass around defenders.
- Helps you get into shooting positions more quickly and have a quicker release.
- Gives you effective counter moves to help you score when the defense takes away the initial scoring move.
- Improves your ability to get open and create separation from the defense.
- Enhances your effectiveness at beating people off the dribble.
- Improves triple threat, perimeter, and post moves.
Focus on effective foundational dribbling and ball handling moves. Forget the fluff.
With so much fluff out there, it’s easy to get caught up in dribbling drills that don’t translate to better game performance.
Here is the summary of the most effective skills to develop that will make you a better ball handler.
- You need to develop a feel for the basketball. Developing a feel for the ball consists of drills that are stationary and slow moving. You will improve your hand-eye coordination, hand quickness, ambidexterity, throwing, catching and other important aspects of ball handling.I would only spend a few minutes on this every day. A common mistake is that players will spend a lot of time on these drills. If you spend most of your workout on circus drills from a stationary or slow moving position, is this going to help you beat the defense? Probably not.Here are some beginner drills:
Here are some more advanced drills:
- You must be able to dribble the ball down the court at any speed (all the way from walking up to sprinting) with both hands with your head up.
- You must be able to change your pace.Changing your pace makes it difficult for players to keep up with you.
- You must be able to dribble while moving backwards.
- You must have a primary dribble move and a counter dribble move.If you perfect a go-to move that’s very difficult to stop, good defenders will adjust to stop it. That’s when you add your counter move to keep the defender guessing.I prefer the hesitation move and the crossover or wrap around dribble as a counter move. You need to focus on the strengths of your game.
If you focus on those things above, I guarantee you’ll be a much better “game player” than the guy who spends too much time on the circus/fluff drills.
Work every day on shooting form routine.
Even though this is number 4 on the list, in addition to footwork, shooting is the skill that you should spend the most time on. The goal is to put the ball in the hoop.
Great shooters become better athletes without becoming a better athlete. Think about that one for a second.
It basically means being a better shooter makes you quicker. You can get by the defense more easily.
If you’re a great shooter, the defense has to sprint at you or stay really close to you all of the time.
And which situation is easier to drive by… a defender that is ten feet away from you with their butt to the basket or a defender sprinting at you with the goal to be 6 inches from you so you don’t shoot?
Also, when you have great shooters, the help defense can’t play too far away. This opens up driving lanes and gives you more lay ups.
Every day, you should spent 10 to 15 minutes on form shooting progressions. Beginners or poor shooters may spend a lot more time on these progressions.
While there are more drills to the shooting form progressions, here are two of the first progressions that we start with:
Improve your defense!
Defense can help you get playing time even if you have a low skill level.
If you just commit to giving as much effort and focus as possible to the defensive end, you will get more playing time. You can be your team’s most valuable player by simply shutting down the other team’s best players.
Develop athleticism and find a good coach!
I have done plenty of reading and research to give myself a basic understanding of athletic development and physical education. That way I can refer parents and athletes to great trainers that I personally know.
And as a coach, it helps me develop proper warm ups that develop athleticism and prevent injuries for my players.
Often times, athleticism can limit a player’s potential. While genetics are certainly a factor in your athletic potential, you still need to maximize your athleticism.
As you move up in competition, every split second and extra inch becomes more important.
Also, if you move quicker and jump higher, you are better at executing every basketball skill.
You have a higher, quicker release on your shot. You have better rhythm with your dribble moves. You can create more separation when moving to get open. You can pivot and face the basket more quickly. You can move your feet more quickly on defense to stop your opponent.
It’s not the end all or be all, but it certainly is a major factor in your potential.
You want to learn how to run, jump and land, skip, stop, move laterally, squat, lunge and any other basic movements.
If you don’t know how to teach or learn this, ask a physical therapist, PE teacher, or some other professional to show you how, preferably someone with at least 10 to 15 years of experience. The more experience the professional has the better.
You don’t want the coach’s learning experiences to be at the expense of your child’s development. While there are exceptions with some great trainers in their 20s, you have more luck when people have experience and a track record.
I would find programs that tend to produce great athletes year in and year out. Look for programs that are outliers.
There is a difference between training great athletes and developing great athletes. There is a difference between training somebody who already has a 40 inch vertical and increasing someone’s vertical from 20 inches to 30 inches.
There is a difference between safely improving somebody’s vertical by a few inches and improving somebody’s vertical by 8 inches only to result in an injury down the road. An injury that eliminates all gains and puts you behind.
I would also seek out coaches who use the terms “Performance” or “Athletic Development” in their titles or job descriptions. They tend to understand that athleticism isn’t just about throwing weights around.
There are things that relate to athletic performance that are hard to measure or see immediate results. These are things like injury prevention, rhythm, and coordination. However, these things improve performance over the long run.
It’s better to do no athletic development training than to have a bad trainer.
If you are looking for someone who has has a lot of success with top soccer, hockey players and many of the area’s elite golfers, I encourage you to reach out to Jeff Pelizzaro at Elevated Performance.