Lay Up Drills

Notice: This article was written by Steve Jordan, Coach's Notebook. Email the author at

Following are some ways you can run drills from the standard two line lay up drill pattern you may have seen a zillion times. The simplest drill in the world is to form two lines facing the basket. Line A has the ball. The player A1 drives to the basket and shoots while the first player from Line B runs in, retrieves the shot and passes back to the next player in Line A. Player B1 then goes to the end of Line A. Rinse and repeat.

Now, if you need to work on shooting mechanics, don't change or complicate the drill. Just concentrate on shooting form, footwork, or whatever. But, as the kids progress, you can add many elements to make the drill more challenging and more game-like. For instance, in Drill 1 below, we want to practice lay ups AND involve the post. Elements we are adding are two to three passes, a short dribble, receiving the ball in the high post, handing the ball to a cutter, post rolling to the basket and finally the shot. You can move the post wherever you want or originate the ball from either side. The point is to gradually add elements until you get to a fun, challenging and game-like exercise.

Here are some links to other layup drills on this site:

Lay up Drills I
Lay up Drills II
Lay up Drills III
Lay up Drills IV
Lay up Drills V

Lay Up Drill 1

Line A is on the left. Line B is on the right. Player 5 assumes a post position.

The ball starts on the right side in line B. Player B3 drives left and passes to Player A1. Right after passing, Player B3 cuts to the right side block. Player A1 should hold hands out in ready position (flash) to provide target and move towards the pass to catch it.


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Player A1 passes to the high post (5). Then A1 cuts left, reverses direction and cuts past 5. If A1 does the initial cut well, there may be an opening while the defender catches up, so practice 5 handing the ball to A1. Just after A1 passes 5, 5 should roll to the basket, always facing the ball. That way, in the game, if 5's man tries to help stop A1, 5 will be open like in a pick and roll. Likewise, 3 may be open on the right block. Practice all options.

Note: A1's initial cut doesn't need to be left. Practice right cuts as well. Also, 5 doesn't need to always pass to A1. Add alternatives like 5 spinning and shooting or 5 passing to B3.


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Its 5's job to retrieve the shot and pass the ball back to player B4 in Line B. B3 moves to the high post spot where 5 started. Player 5 goes to the back of Line A. Player A1 goes to the end of  Line B.

Now, B4 drives left and passes to A2 to resume the drill.

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So, your players think they have it down pat? Maybe they do. Let's add defense and find out. Insert three defenders playing m2m on A1, B3 and 5. Elements added are defensive positioning,  pass prevention, fronting the post (suggest 1/2 or 3/4 front) and early help. The defensive elements are discussed in the pressure defense article.

After the shot, the offensive guys (A1, B3 and 5) go to defense. The original defensive players move to the end of the lines

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