2.5.1 Advanced lay-up techniques
Players should initially be taught two techniques for lay-ups:
- Jump stop and then shoot
- Moving (or “two step”) lay-up.
With a moving lay-up players should be taught to shoot with their left hand on the left hand side and with their right hand on the right hand side. The footwork is also different on each side – jumping off the right foot when shooting with the left hand and jumping off the left foot when shooting with the right hand.
With the moving lay-up, the hand the player shoots with should reach as high as possible. They will also lift the knee on that side, which will help them to jump up at the basket. Even young players should be encouraged to jump up high, rather than a “long jump”.
As players become more experienced and play at higher levels, they must develop the ability to “get to the rim” and make a lay-up, even it if is not the conventional footwork that is initially taught. Below are examples commonly seen.
A “Euro Step” lay-up incorporates a change of direction as the player takes their “two steps”. The steps may also be slower.
Here, the player takes their first step to their left (black dot). With their second step they step past the defender to the right hand side (red dot). They should also lift the ball and move it from one side of their body to the other.
Outside Foot, Inside Foot
The offensive player uses their lay-up footwork to move laterally to get to the basket. Typically, they may dribble down the “seam” at the side of the key, landing their “outside foot” (furthest from the basket - shown in red). They then land their “inside foot” and jump off both feet to the basket.
The move is done in motion, enabling the player to move from the side of the key to the basket.
Floater or “Tear Drop”
This is also called a “long lay-up”. The offensive player penetrates to the top of the key and shoots before getting to the help defender.
The footwork is the same as “motion lay-up”, however the player shoots from the top of the key rather than at the basket. They must jump high so that they can shoot over the defender.
Wrong Foot Lay-up
Players must be able to shoot jumping off the same foot as they are shooting with. The need may arise for a number of reasons:
- Choice of pivot foot. The example shown, the left foot is the pivot, so the first step must be with the right foot (shown red). The second step is with the left and as they are on the left side they may shoot with the left
- At the end of a “Euro Step”;
- Taking only one step instead of two, to avoid defenders.
The hook shot is taken side on to the basket, with the offensive player’s body separating them from their defender. The most renowned exponent of this shot was Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who would shoot equally adeptly with left and right hand.
Importantly, players often move their arm in a circular motion, releasing the shot very differently to normal shot technique. This is incorrect.
The release of a hook shot should be the same as any shot. The player should lift the ball to their shoulder and then reach upwards to shoot the ball. Players often incorrectly start with the ball at their hip - this should be discouraged.
A hook shot can be done from a jump stop, which often will happen at the end of “drop step” from the low post. However the “sky hook” made famous by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is a moving lay-up.
It may be done with one step (without dribble), where the player takes a step (shown here toward the baseline) and then lifts their pivot foot as they jump and shoot.
It can also be done with two steps, which will require the player to dribble. Shown here, a post player “backs in” toward the basket and then spins to the middle to shoot a hook shot.
A hook shot may be taken any time. They step first with their baseline foot (shown in black) and take the second step with their other foot (shown in red), an offensive player moves across the basket.
Initially players are taught to jump up at the basket whenever shooting a lay-up and to reach as high as possible when releasing the ball. More experienced players may reach ahead of their body and “scoop” the ball at the basket, when avoiding defenders.
As with most of these advanced lay-ups, players will develop skills instinctively as they find a way to score against defenders. When shooting a reaching or “scooping” lay-up, players should be encouraged to hold the ball in two hands as this gives them more control of the ball. It also enables them to keep control if a defender does knock the ball.