Basketball Drills: X-Out Layup

Finish strong underneath the hoop with beginner, intermediate and advanced variations of the X-Out Layup Drill.

Nick Rivers, a former point guard for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers and current DICK’S Sporting Goods Associate, shows how to perform the multiple variations of the X-Out Layup Drill. These drills can help you with ball control as well as finishing strong underneath the hoop. For the beginner and intermediate drills, you’ll use one basketball, while the advanced drill can be done using two. You’ll also need a timer, whether it’s a scoreboard timer or the timer on your cell phone.


Beginners should start this drill beneath the basket and facing out toward center court. Your first move is to dribble the ball twice with your right hand toward the right elbow (the point where the foul line meets the outside of the key). Next, cross the ball over to your left hand and dribble one time back toward the basket where you’ll finish with a left-handed layup. You’ll want to immediately get the rebound from under the net and attack the left elbow next in the same fashion. This time, though, you’ll want to switch the ball to your right hand and finish with a right-handed layup.

You should aim for 10 layups, or see how many baskets you can make within a 30-second time limit. If you want to get as many baskets as you can with the 30 seconds, make sure to limit your dribbles. There should only be three or four dribbles total when going to the elbow and back. Also, when you get to the elbow and push off, make sure to attack the basket with full force.


For the intermediate level, you are going to start in the same position that you did in the beginner level. You’ll stick with one ball as well.

This time, when you’re on your way to the right elbow, you’re not going to exchange the ball with a crossover. Rather, you’re going to throw the ball behind your back with your right hand, spin and grab it with your left hand on your way toward the basket. Once you find the ball, dribble once and attack the rim with a shot. After snagging the rebound, move toward the left elbow and do the same thing, except with your right hand.

Once again, you’ll want to see how many layups you can get within 30 seconds while performing this drill. Remember, when you are making your exchange, check to see if your footwork is correct so you can make a proper layup. For instance, when you’re attempting a layup on the left side, shoot with your left hand while your left leg is up. Your right foot should be the foot you plant with on your way up toward the hoop. When shooting from the right, it’s vice-versa.


The advanced level has the same principle as the first two levels, but this time you’ll be using two balls.

When attacking the left elbow, you’re going to attempt two dribbles with both balls. At the elbow, you’re going to throw the ball in your left hand behind your back so your right hand can pick it up on the way toward the basket. In the meantime, you’re going to simply crossover the ball in your right hand to your left like you did in the beginner level.

When you gather the balls, attempt one single dribble while tucking the left ball under your left arm. You’ll want to make the layup with the ball in your right hand. The same thing goes when you’re attacking the right elbow.

Remember, when you move up the tiers in basketball, the talent gets much better around you. That’s why you need to be able to make layups with each hand.

Keep in mind that this drill will help you develop four areas of your game. As long as you keep practicing, you’ll be able to finish strong around the basket, finish with both hands, beat more defenders on your way to the hoop and attack the rim with power.