Why is rhythm important in basketball

Throwing techniques in basketball: the lay-up

What is a lay-up in basketball?

In front of a lay-up, you usually approach the basket by dribbling. From the dribble, jump off and place the ball directly in the basket or on the board with one hand. The lay-up is one of the basic throws in basketball and can be performed by beginners and professionals in different variations.

Due to the short distance to the basket, the lay-up is the most accurate option among basket-throwers.

Did you know?
The lay-up and the standing throw are the oldest throwing techniques in basketball.

How does a lay-up work in basketball?

In order to learn the sequence of movements and the correct sequence of steps, it is best to first train the lay-up from a standing position with just one dribble.


This is how the lay-up works with the right hand:

0. Preparation: Basic position, 3 meters to the right of the basket

The player should position himself about three meters from the basket on the right edge of the zone and then walk towards the basket at an angle of 45 °.

The starting position is the basic basketball position (Triple Threat Position / SPD position), i.e. the feet are parallel.

The player holds the ball close to the body with both hands at hip height.

1. Dribble the ball with your right hand while placing your left foot on the floor

The player dribbles the ball with his right hand on the floor about a step length in front of him. At the same time he takes his left foot a step forward.

The left foot and the ball should be on the ground at about the same height.

2. With the right foot forward

The player picks up the ball with both hands and holds it close to the body on the right side. Then he takes a step forward with his right foot (without dribbling parallel).

3. Jump forward and up with your left foot

Now the player takes a step forward with his left foot (step) and then pushes himself up towards the basket (jump).

At the same time, the player pulls his right knee up. In this way he can stabilize and accelerate his movement upwards towards the basket.

Important: The player moves when jumping especially up to the basket down, not too forward.

4. Guide the ball up and push the trigger

In the take-off phase, the player guides the ball upwards with both hands on the right side of the body, close to the body. In doing so, he turns the ball onto his right hand, that is, the throwing hand: The right hand is now under the ball. The left hand functions as a support hand, so it is only slightly to the side of the ball.

The player extends his right arm further upwards while jumping. At the highest point of the jump, he extends his elbow, folds his wrist and throws the ball to the basket. The goal is the top right corner of the black square on the board.

You can see the sequence of movements of the lay-up from right and left in this video:

The Lay up with the left hand works exactly reversedThat means: you start with your left foot, jump off with your right leg and throw with your left arm.

Tip: It is best to train both sides; this increases your chances of hitting a basket.

The following Exercise sequence helps beginners to practice and internalize the lay-up:

Dominik Günther (Head of Junior Franken) shows in this video how he trains the lay-up with his kids:

Step 1: Bounce ball
Step 2: Basketball basic position (Triple Threat Position; German SPD position)
Step 3: Ball on right hip
Step 4: Step with your left foot to the right
Step 5: Dribble the ball with the foot down
Step 6: Take the ball again and immediately to the right shoulder
Step 7: Basket throw

The 4 different lay-up techniques

Over time, four different lay-up techniques emerged. The basic technique is simple and well suited for beginners. The other lay-up techniques are more demanding and are only used by experienced basketball players.

Pressure throw basket lay-up

The original and simplest variant of the lay-up is mainly for Children and beginners suitable.

The ball is thrown into the basket with one hand and by folding down the wrist. The lay-up can be done with or without a throw to the board.

Underhand layup

This layup variant is also Finger roll and is interesting for advanced basketball players.

The whole arm is stretched out when throwing. The hand is under the ball, during the throw the wrist snaps up. This causes the ball to roll over the fingertips, which causes a higher trajectory.

The underhand layup is:

  • easier to block,
  • for lay-ups from a long distance,
  • only possible with good jumping ability.
  • You can see what a finger roll can look like in the following video:

    Power move

    The only difference to the pressure throw basket lay-up with the power move is that the player jumps off with both legs. Above all, here is one good bounce asked.


    Up and under

    The most difficult lay-up variant is the up-and-under lay-up. In this variant, the lay-up is initially faked in order to bypass the opposing player.

    The player begins by jumping past the opponent, faking the throw and executing it shortly before landing. In action, the up-and-under lay-up looks like this:

    How do I train the lay-up?

    The layup is a very extensive throwing technique and can best be done in one methodical series be trained.

    That means: for the lay-up you first practice the individual steps and start with the easiest part (So ​​the sequence of steps is not practiced immediately in the correct sequence). If you can do all the steps correctly, gradually connect the steps in the correct order.

    Here's how you can build the methodical series:
    Step 1: Perfect your pressure throw on the board, later with lay-up.
    Step 2: Practice the two-contact rule: right - left - jump - pressure throw.
    Step 3: Complete step two with the last dribble before the lay-up: bouncing the ball while standing - two contact - take-off - pressure throw.
    Step 4: Start with a slow dribble followed by step three.
    Step 5: Practice the sequence of movements with your weaker hand.

    Typical mistakes with lay-ups

    Since the lay-up is very complex, one or the other mistake can creep in at the beginning. How to take action against the typical mistakes:

    Jump with the wrong leg or wrong step sequence

  • Go back one step in the methodical series to internalize all the steps again.
  • Have your trainer or a teammate announce the correct leg to you during the sequence of steps.
  • Missing arm extension when throwing a basket

  • Just practice standing throw for a while.
  • Jump height is too low

  • Actively pull up the non-ankle bone (swing leg use).
  • Train your jumping ability in a targeted manner.
  • Strength and jumping exercises for the lay-up

    A good bounce is extremely important for lay-ups. We'll show you how to train them.

    Important before the lay-up exercises:
    Warm up well to prepare your muscles and joints for the strain. In order to maintain a clean jumping technique, you should plan enough breaks. Take care of your body and do not overload it to prevent injury.

    Genetically, you can increase your jumping power by a maximum 10 to 20 percent increase. In addition to leg strength, this requires a stable core. With good body tension, you can catapult yourself upwards in a targeted manner, because the jumping power is passed on through a trained upper body and not slowed down.

    In addition to exercises for jumping power, core exercises are therefore important, for example:

  • Forearm support
  • pushup
  • Situps
  • For the jumping power itself, you can incorporate the following exercises into your workout.

    Jumping lunges

    The jumping lung trains your speed:

  • Place your legs hip-width apart.
  • Step far back with your right foot.
  • Align the knee just above the floor.
  • Jump off and switch legs.
  • Half squats

    Half squats train your jumping power from half height. This makes sense because typical basketball movements take place from half height and do not start from the ground.

  • Place your legs hip-width apart.
  • Bend slightly on your knees and keep your back straight.
  • Push up explosively.
  • Half-height deadlift

    As with the squats, you can do this exercise from half height. To do this, place your barbell on two boxes, for example.

    Note: Do not perform the exercise unless you have fully mastered the deadlift technique.

    Box jumps

    For the box jumps you need a box or bench that is stable and does not slip.

  • Stand upright and hip-width apart in front of the box.
  • Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Start to jump and take your arms up with you.
  • Land on the box as gently as possible and crouch down.
  • Jump gently back on the ground.
  • Catch the ball

    This exercise trains your reflexes as well as jumping power.

    To do this, throw the basketball against the board and try to hit it highest possible point again to to catch.

    Jump to the board with the ball

    Use the for this exercise Ball in both hands and keep up with him outstretched arms over the head. Then jump with both legs and try to hit the board with the ball.

    Even more ideas for your basketball training

    Are you looking for more tips for your training? The sports psychologist and performance trainer Dr. Sebastian Altfeld shows you how to effectively organize basketball training. Or take a look at further technical instructions and exercises on the subject of basketball:

  • Dunking in basketball
  • 8 basketball dribbling exercises
  • The jump shot
  • If you are still looking for a suitable training jersey, we recommend you take a look at our online shop. Or design your own personal jersey with our 3D configurator.


    Photo credits: Image 1: lechatnoir / Gettyimages / E +; Image 2: 4x6 / Gettyimages / E +; Image 3: miodrag ignjatovic / Gettyimages / E +