6 Basketball Layup Variations, Part 5: Middle Reverse Layup

April 29, 2013 | Mike Meister

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A middle reverse layup is a layup with finesse. It entails three separate approaches and two finishes based on timing, personal comfort and the opponent’s defensive scheme.

Middle Reverse Layup

The examples are described as if you are attacking from the right side.

No Dribble Approach

  • Start in triple threat and dribble with your right hand while stepping with your right foot
  • Step with your left foot and when your foot hits the ground, grab the ball
  • Step across your body with your right foot as far as you can, stepping toward the key
  • Square your body toward the rim as you jump off your right foot
  • Shoot with your left hand using an underhand layup

 Cross and Gather Approach

  • Start in triple threat and dribble with your right hand while stepping with your left foot toward the side of the rim
  • Step with your right foot. When your foot hits the ground, crossover to your left hand
  • Step toward the key with your left foot and gather the ball to your chest
  • Step toward the middle with your right foot and square your body toward the rim as you jump off your right foot
  • Shoot with your left hand using an underhand layup

Cross and Dribble Approach 

  • Start just like the Cross and Gather
  • When you cross the ball to your left hand, dribble with your left hand as you step with your left foot
  • Quickly gather the ball and shoot off your right foot, as before
  • The dribble is used to get you a little farther
  • If you use a push out dribble with your left hand, you can gather on your right step and jump off both feet. We call this a "cheater step" for two-foot dunkers.

Opposite Side or Middle Finish

If you get yourself far enough over, shoot on the opposite side of the rim. Otherwise, shoot over the middle. Shooting on the other side is basically just shooting a regular layup. My players mostly practice these layups over the middle. Finish with an underhand layup for its softer touch. If you do shoot overhand, the tendency is to shoot long, so aim for the backboard. Banking a layup over the front is more difficult.

Floater Finish

The floater is an optional finish for more advanced players. It's typically overused and not consistent enough for most players, so it's considered an extra type of layup and not one of the main six that all players should know.

When to Use the Middle Reverse Layup

The middle reverse layup is used to score after changing direction and stepping by your defender when you are near the basket. It is considered a reverse because of the change of direction, but the shot is still a forward shot.

Drills to Practice the Middle Reverse Layup

A good way to practice this and all other layups is with full court layups.

  • Stay wide while dribbling the length of the floor down the sideline.
  • Start attacking the rim from the wing and work on different finishes.
  • Rebound and continue the other way. Make a certain number going right and then switch directions. Typically, we make three to four right and 18 to 24 total going left.
See the different variations of the middle reverse layup in the video below

Catch up on the rest of this layup series:

Photo: USA Today

Mike Meister
- Founder of Thunder Sports Institute (Irving, Tex.), Mike Meister has coached players and teams from the youth recreation level up to the professional ranks across...
Mike Meister
- Founder of Thunder Sports Institute (Irving, Tex.), Mike Meister has coached players and teams from the youth recreation level up to the professional ranks across...
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