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How to Make Layups in Basketball

Layup Workout: The Mikan Drill

Lay-ups are jump shots but from point-blank range (3-5 feet around the rim).

Making more lay-up helps you become a better shooter: your overall shooting accuracy goes up, your concentration improves, and your confidence in making baskets increases.

But since layups are easier to make, and not as spectacular as 30-foot Steph Curry bombs, most players – even pros – don’t give this type of shot the love and repetition it needs. And as a general rule of thumb, the things that “most people” don’t do open opportunities for the few people that do.

Like FORM shooting,  practicing layups is about mastering the basics. The beauty in the basics is scalability. You master making baskets from the 2-5 feet around the rim, you can improve your mid-range, free-throw and long-range shooting with less effort, less time and lasting results.

Here’s a simple workout you can try every time during an intense shooting workout or during warm ups. You’re basically taking and making layups with both your shooting and your off-hand in a 1-2-layup rhythm.

Step 1) Grab a basketball and start on the left side of the rim with both feet squared.

Step 2) Take a right step, take a left step, jump off the left step

Step 3) Take the right-hand layup off the backboard on the right side of the rim.

Catch the ball, take a left step, take a right step, take the left-land layup on the left side of the rim.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Notice the rhythm and momentum build in both your footwork and your layup making.

Keep your head up the whole time. Don’t stop until you make 50. Do as many sets as you can. Challenge yourself to make more in less time. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you can’t challenge yourself.

Think about the benefits of this stupidly simple layup drill:

  • You get to work on the left hand and the right hand
  • You get to work on jumping off both of your feet
  • You get to work on both sides of the rim
  • You become a better finisher at the rim in real games
  • You start making layups all the time even when you take contact
  • You finish fast breaks better in full speed
  • By keeping your head up the whole time, you improve your confidence and posture (seriously, you spend all day looking down at your phone; “text neck” is a real problem, you puny human)

Some tips and notes on any layup workout you try:

  • Use the Splytter shooting aid device to master the use of your index and middle finger.
  • Aim at the backboard square corners with your shooting elbow
  • As you roll the ball off your hand, give it a gentle flick of the wrist
  • When you get bored, try adding English to your layups
  • When you get bored, close your eyes as you jump up
  • When you get bored, time yourself
  • When you get bored, add in jump stops and pump fakes
  • When you get bored, add in a POUND dribble
  • Use the Shot Tracker Shooting App to automatically count and show off your stats
  • Learn hard, acrobatic layups you might need in games when going up against shot blockers.

Bonus: The Most Simple Advanced Layup Workout

Start from the 3 point line, take one hard dribble, take 2 long strides and make the layup. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

You won’t get that many layups if you can’t drive to the basket efficiently in a straight line.