Do you know what the most missed shot in basketball is?
Is it the 3-point shot? Nope.
The mid-range jump shot ? Nope.
The free throw? Wrong Again.
You might not believe it, but the most missed shot in basketball is not the 3-pointer, its not the mid-range, it's not the free throw. In fact, it is the layup.
The layup essentially is the highest percentage shot a player can possibly take in basketball, yet it is missed again and again and again. But why is the layup missed so much?
Well the answer is simple. Because of the nature of just how easy a layup is to perform, players fail to take the time to master the execution of a fundamental layup. At the end of the day, they cost their teams valuable victories and lower their potential points-per-game statistics.
Here some simple tips that can help you master this fundamental skill:
Live Low And Watch Your Game Grow
When you begin to execute a layup, you must always play the game from low to high. Too many players play the game stiff legged and fail to tap into their full explosion capabilities because they refuse to play low.
By playing low you will have better body control and balance, and will be a strong finisher around the basket. The only time you should be high is when you are exploding the hoop and releasing your shot to score two points for your team.
Ball, You, Man
I learned this tip from Five Star Basketball many years ago, and it really helped me to become a fundamentally sound finisher around the basket. You must always keep your body between the defender and the ball. A good rule of thumb when finishing around the hoop is to hold the ball strong above your hip so you can protect the ball, absorb the contact and finish strong.
Explode To The Hoop and Fully Extend Yourself To The Cup
Whether you finish off one or two legs on your layups, you must be explosive. I recommend that you master both takeoffs because it will provide you more scoring options when you need to make a quick decision around the basket. Practice driving your knee up like a rocket ship and explode to the hoop fully extending your hand to the basket. As you become a craftier finisher you will learn how to get your defender on your back and create separation by extending to the basket and getting the bucket and foul.
Have A Soft Touch On Your Finishes And High Off The Glass
One of the main reasons why players have trouble making layups is because they have no touch. No matter if you are going 100 miles per hour to the hoop or if you are under control off a fundamental jump stop, you must be able to execute an overhand or underhand layup with soft touch.
When you begin practicing your layups, aim for the top corner of the square. However, after you master that, attempt to shoot them higher and higher off the backboard. Pistol Pete Maravich used to say if you can float the ball up off the top of backboard, not even Wilt Chamberlain or Michael Jordan can grab it. If it is good enough for Pistol Pete, it is good enough to add to your game.
Be Able To Execute A Lay-up In One Dribble From The 3-Point LineThe great players not only have great touch, can play the game low to high and have great explosion to the basket, but they also can get their shot off quickly before the defense can react because they can get to the hoop in one dribble.
Getting to the hoop in one dribble is a progressional skill and takes great timing and confidence, but it is easier then you might think. On the right-hand side work on taking explosive strides of left-right-left, and on the right side of the basket explosively stride right-left-right.
After this skill is mastered without a dribble, add a dribble and work on creating complete separation and finishing strong. If you can master this, you are on your way to becoming your teams all-star MVP!
Remember, you have a choice to get better, finish strong and become a fundamentally sound basketball player. You don't have to practice, but when game time comes and you can't make the easiest shot in basketball, then you don't have to play either! I think you all get my point: don't just work hard, work smart, and go out and dominate the court.