How To Shoot A Layup In Basketball

Knowing how to shoot a basketball is one of if not THE #1 most important basketball fundamentals.

But if you’re a coach or you have ever worked with youth players and tried to teach the layup then you know how tricky that can be.

…Example of a coach who hasn’t read this:

“You simply jump off of your left foot and shoot it off the backboard.”

…Kid tries to do it and travels, jumps off the wrong foot, and the ball puts a hole in the backboard.

Sound familiar?

left hand layup

I remember being that coach and that exact same thing happening to me with about 40 different kids time and time again at a huge camp I worked at.

So before the next camp I went and talked to the the camp director/basketball gipsy, Gene Cotter, lol. (He calls himself that too, so I can say that, but honestly the guys more of a basketball genius.)

He gave me some great tips on how to teach the layup and that's what I'm going to share with you today.

But first lets go over the different types of layups.

Different Releases

Finger Roll

This is when you finish the layup underhanded.  This is how I recommend you finish a layup anytime you are not going to be using the backboard.

For example, you are attacking straight at the hoop and can't use the backboard.

You can also use a finger roll when using the backboard, but I don't start out teaching regular layups this way.

Over Hand

This is when you shoot the layup similarly to a jump shot.  You put your hand under the basketball, jump up, and extend as high as possible into the finish.

This is how I teach a player how to shoot a layup when they are first starting to learn.

The reason behind that is that they probably have shot the basketball before and did it overhand of course so that is what feels most natural to them in the beginning.

Types Of Layups

 One Foot Layups

These are just the basic layups that we all learned as youngsters and now hope our players never miss 😉

Here is the complete breakdown on how to teach and shoot a layup:

Here are some different ways to finish that can be done off of one foot:

Two Foot Layups

These are also referred to as "Power Layups."

There are different ways you can shoot a two footed layup, but I'm just going to breakdown the jump stop layup.

There are a few things to keep in mind when shooting this:

  • Jump off of one foot and land on two.
  • Have both feet hit the ground at the same time.
  • Land with your shoulders parallel to the backboard.
  • Use shot fakes if shot blockers are around.
  • This is not a jump shot, make sure you jump up and finish high.

Here are some different ways to finish that can be done off of two feet:

  • Pro hops
  • Stride step layups
  • Step Throughs

Reverse Layups

These can be done off of one or two feet, but the fundamentally sound way to shoot a reverse layup is off of one foot.

Reverse layups are a great way to keep the defense guessing.

Most shot blockers are looking to block you on the strong side so by taking one more dribble on finishing on the other side of the basket can turn a contested layup into and easy reverse layup.

Also, a reverse layup is much harder to block due to you moving away from the defense instead of towards them as well as the rim being in the way of the shot blocker.

Here is a few tips on how to execute this off one foot:

  • Use the same right-left footwork as you would with a normal layup.
  • Jumping too early or too late will make the shot more difficult.
  • Learn how to use the spin to make the shot soft.
  • Look up so you can see what you're doing.

Which hand should you shoot it with?

Will it really depends on the situation.  You can't always time your steps in the games so you need to be able to finish with both hands on both sides of the hoop.

If you shoot with your left hand on the left side of the hoop you should jump off your right foot and vice versa on the other side.  I call that a regular reverse layup.

If you shoot with your right and on the left side of the hoop you should jump off your left foot and vice versa on the other side.  I call that a goofy reverse layup.

Here's what they look like.

Regular Reverse Layup

Goofy Reverse Layup


So now you know how to shoot a layup...

And coaches know how to teach players to shoot a layup...

What's next?


I'm pretty sure that most players reading this can come up with a good drill to make a regular layup, but probably struggle with making reverse layups.

So I've added a great drill to use for practicing your reverse layups.

I personally use this drill to this day.

Just share the page using one of the buttons below and it will be unlocked.  I really appreciate the support!

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