Speed and agility are critical to offensive success on the basketball court. Nowhere is this more true than when executing layups.
One of the principles I use when coaching basketball players is to get easy points. An one of the easiest shots to make is the layup. It puts points on the board and makes your opponents scramble to keep up. But to do it right, you need speed to build momentum.
Here are some basketball speed drills to help you with speed, footwork and ball control, so you can get a leg up on your layup.
The first portion of this drill focuses on layup footwork, not the shot itself, removing some stress so you can perfect your technique.
Begin on the right side of the basket at the free-throw line extended. Sprint down the key and angle in toward the basket. Your last step should be with your left foot. Plant and jump off your left foot. As you do so, drive with your right knee as you simulate shooting toward the backboard. Perform this drill from both sides of the basket.
Once you have the footwork down, you are ready to use the ball. The drill is called One Bounce because you should only have to dribble the ball one time on your way to the basket from the free-throw line extended. Do the drill exactly as before, except this time attempt the layup.
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Pass + One Bounce
Although sometimes during a game you can dribble the ball and shoot a layup at will, often the shot comes as part of an offensive strategy. This drill helps prepare you for that.
You will need a partner. Begin at the free-throw line extended on the right side of the basket. Face away from the basket. Have your partner pass you the ball.
Make sure to have control of the ball before you move. If you don’t, you will probably turn it over. After you receive the ball, turn and execute the One Bounce Drill.
Perform this drill on both sides of the lane.
Cut + One Bounce
Once you can comfortably execute the One Bounce drill and the Pass + One Bounce drill, it’s time for the Cut + One Bounce Drill.
You will need a partner. Begin at the low post on the left side of the basket. Run toward the free throw line. As you reach the line, have your partner pass you the ball. Get control of the ball rapidly and execute the One Bounce Drill on your way to the right side of the basket.
Perform this drill on both sides of the court.
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How to Practice
These drills teach basketball fundamentals for footwork and ball control necessary to execute better layups. They should be incorporated into practices when you are performing layups. Once you master the drills, perform the following in your practices:
- 3-5 One Bounce Drills, each side of the basket
- 3-5 Pass + One Bounce Drills, each side of the basket
- 3-5 Cut + One Bounce Drills, each side of the basket
Advanced versions of these drills incorporate defenders. Do them with someone guarding you after you receive the ball and someone under the basket trying to block your layup.
To add strength to your layup, check out Dwyane Wade’s secret for basketball power, the Kettlebell Lay-Up.
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