Basketball 101: Layups

A fundamental offensive basketball move, the layup is a high-percentage shot that players should master.

Basketball players dream of going in for a rim-shaking dunk or a game-deciding three-pointer when they step onto the court.

But sometimes, the best shot you can take is one of the most fundamental basketball moves – the layup.

“A layup is one of the highest-percentage shots in basketball,” says former collegiate basketball player Jason Ronai. “[You] should understand the foundations of the basic layup and practice it often.”

REGULAR LAYUP

The regular right-handed layup occurs on the right side of the rim and close to the basket. Go up with your right knee and finish with your right hand, banking the ball off the glass and into the basket.

To practice this skill:

  • Start with the basketball in both hands and on your right hip. You can better protect the ball from defenders by having the ball in this position.
  • Take a step toward the basket with your left foot. Next, lift your right knee and foot in the air. Make sure to protect the ball with your left arm.
  • Extend your right arm toward the basket as you release the ball. Aim toward a spot on the backboard to bank the ball into the basket.

POWER LAYUP

You won’t always have the opportunity to jump off of one foot to complete a layup. You’ll often have to “power up” with two feet while protecting the basketball to complete the play.

To practice the power layup, start on the right side of the rim.

  • Take one step with your right foot, followed by a second step with your left foot to power up off both feet. Protect the ball with your left shoulder.
  • Complete the layup with a bank off the backboard to finish the play. In a game, the power layup can often come off a pass or rebound where you should quickly catch the ball and jump off two feet.

“Practice regular and power layups often,” Ronai says. “As you improve and become more consistent, then begin to work on more challenging and creative layups.”

To get more practice in on your layup skills, try adding the X-Out Layup drill to your workout.