When teaching the lay-up shot to young basketball players, many coaches find themselves in a tough spot. Whether your athletes end up traveling or they lack the coordination or power to properly perform the shot, this is one of the most fundamental but frustrating basketball techniques to teach.
However, there are a few ways you can get around the difficult process. With a little patience and by using a building-block strategy when introducing this concept, your young athletes will have the lay-up down in no time.
One method is to take the basketball equipment out of the equation at the beginning, and work simply with the motions of the technique. Ambitious kids will often put a big emphasis on making the basket instead of learning the proper technique. Have your players drill the basic steps of the lay-up without the ball. This works regardless of whether you're practicing a left- or right-side shot. Put your players in proper shooting position – right angle at both the elbow and the wrist, hand cupped – and have them take one step forward on with their shooting side (right hand, right foot). On the next step, they jump off, bringing their leg up as their shooting arm rises.
Another tactic is to introduce the concept gradually by using a stop-jump lay-up, in which the player jumps from two feet instead of one to make the shot. This is a great technique for youngsters who may lack the ability to jump and land on one leg. They can get down the shooting technique of the lay-up without risking an injury from a fall. The jump-stop also is a great tool for players having difficulty learning the dribble to lay-up transition.
Whatever strategy you use with your team, remember to be patient and supportive of your players, and soon enough they'll be laying up baskets with the best of them.