6 Basketball Layup Variations, Part 6: The Backhand Reverse Layup

May 16, 2013 | Mike Meister

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If you find yourself missing the backhand reverse layup pretty regularly, you’ve been taught incorrectly.

Most coaches teach players to turn their body when shooting the reverse layup, creating too much extra movement. This not only lowers your odds of making the shot, but because it leaves the ball exposed and unprotected, it increases the likelihood that the shot will be blocked.

Our rule at Thunder Sports Institute is that you're only allowed to turn your body when finishing with a dunk on the other side. Otherwise, you drive along the baseline and keep your body straight when you shoot. Since the defense can hinder your progress, you need to work hard on keeping a good angle. (Master shooting form.)

The Backhand Reverse Layup

This example is for right-handed shooters.

  • Start on the right wing in triple threat position
  • The foot you start with depends on whether you are getting to the right block in three or four steps, but dribble with your right hand
  • Step near the right block with your left foot; from here, make sure to stay above the block
  • You'll be driving from above the block straight to the left side edge of the backboard
  • Your right step should put you under the front of the rim, which is where you grab the ball and bring it to your chest
  • Step with your left foot toward the edge of the backboard and look up at the basket over your right shoulder
  • Jump off your left foot and using a backhand layup shoot with your right hand to the top corner of the square
  • The difference in the release here is that you have to snap your fingers toward the basket more and shoot somewhat backwards over your shoulder
  • For some people, focusing on flicking their little finger helps
  • Aim to hit the backboard first; this is easier when you don't turn your body and when you remember to aim
  • Land facing the same way you were when you attacked; you might turn after you land to see the ball and go after the rebound if necessary, but not while you are shooting
  • If you are coming from the baseline, attack between the rim and the edge of the backboard and move straight to shoot; adjust your release toward the rim by not flicking your little finger, but still use the backboard

When to Use the Backhand Reverse Layup

This is the layup to use when you have to drive under the rim from one side to the other. You want to avoid going all the way to the baseline because it takes away your good angle. Although you should be able to score using this layup if you started from the baseline, a good drive will not be that low.

If you are that low, the finish will be more like a reverse layup in the Mikan drill. The technique is the same, but the release angle is different.

Drills to Practice the Backhand Reverse Layup

As with the other layups, use any of the layup drills to work on it. The exact attack angle might be different depending on which layup you are practicing, but you can still create the angle and finish in the same way. Here are two more layup drills that makes practicing the backhand reverse layup easier.

Baseline Attack

  • Start on the right wing in triple threat
  • Jab towards the left block with your left foot
  • Step toward the right block with your left foot and dribble with your right hand
  • Stay above the block and drive directly toward the other side of the backboard
  • Continue until your right foot hits under the rim; this is where you gather the ball
  • Step with your left foot and shoot using the reverse layup

Middle Attack

  • Start on the right wing and jab with your right foot at the right block
  • Step with your right foot toward the left block and dribble left-handed
  • Attack the other side of the backboard
  • Gather the ball when your right foot hits near under the rim and shoot
  • This is a lot like the backhand layup because you dribble left-handed but shoot right-handed

Catch up on the rest of this layup series:

Photo: USA Today Images

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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