Quick Guide to Making Every Layup | Never Miss Again!

Make All Your Layups!

Layups are considered the easiest shot in basketball, however, there are a lot of factors, I would argue, that make it a difficult shot.

Luckily, our quick guide will have you making almost every layup. Follow our steps and practice and you’ll get this shot down.

I would contend that even though you are the closest to the basket, this shot has some added factors that make it difficult. Usually, big men lurk in the paint, so if you beat a guy on the perimeter, there will be someone even larger waiting there.

There is also the scenario of getting an open court steal and heading presumably alone towards the basket. I believe this adds pressure and an on-stage type of feeling.

There are more ways layups can be difficult, but you get the idea.

Let’s get better at making layups!

Knee and Elbow Harmony

The first part of making layups consistently is having the correct footwork. No matter which side of the basket you are approaching, your same side elbow should be “tied” to your knee.

As you take the ball up towards the basket, your elbow “pulls” the same side knee up.

This will encourage you to jump off of the correct foot each time.

It’s important to have this harmony and to practice it regularly. The reason we take off-balance shots is bad footwork. We want our bodies used to the idea of going up with the proper hand on the proper side.

So, you’re going to have to get used to using your off-hand and perfect layups using it. No excuses.

If you’re having trouble, double the practice time on your off-hand.

Once you have the elbow and knee working in unison, you’ll be ready for the next step.

The Square on the Backboard Is Everything

When you look up at the basket, you’ll see a white or red box painted or taped onto the backboard. Not simply decoration, this is a guide for making shots using the backboard.

make layups guide

In the case of layups, use the top corner every time. Every time.

It might seem easier to use the middle, or you may have been taught other things to look for, however, the corner of this box will lead to more made layups.

It will also lead to fewer shots being blocked.

Being a little higher on the glass gives you more air under the shot and will hopefully keep defenders from blocking the shot.

Practice making all of your layups using this corner, no matter the angle, no matter the situation.

Once you are familiar with hitting that spot, you’ll be ready for the next step.

Eyes Up!

Now that you have the basic form down and you are hitting the right spot on the backboard, you’re noticing that you need to get your eyes up to the goal when approaching. You have to see the spot, right?

Your eyes will always be up in basketball, and the best place to start learning that is by having them look where your target will be. The biggest error people make when trying to make layups is that they keep their heads down until they get to the basket.

This leads to not knowing where you are in relation to the basket and it leads to not having your footwork correct.

Not only should you practice dribbling with your head up, but you also have to finish at the rim that way too. Find the corner of the box on the backboard as soon as you can, this will lead to your body naturally finding the best way to get there.

It will become second nature with practice!

Coordination Is Key

The only way to consistently make layups is to develop the coordination necessary to make them consistently. Once you have mastered the techniques above, you’ll find your layups falling in regularly.

There are a lot of different types of layups that we will discuss in further posts, but they involve attacking the basket at different angles and with different arm positions. 

One of the most dominant and beautiful shots in all of basketball is the floater, a big-man killer that is devastating in the right hands. Stay tuned!

Battle Through Contact

If you’re heading into the paint, be prepared for contact. From constant swipes at the ball( and your arms) to going chest to chest with a center, you will face contact.

The key to making layups in the paint is to brace, wait, and score. Let me explain.


When attacking the paint, cover the ball up after picking up your dribble. Imagine you are a running back in football, hold the ball tight to your chest or abdomen, and expect players to swipe at the ball.

If you are in the air and expecting contact, keep both hands on the ball, and brace for the coming collision.


You aren’t going to make any layups if you try to shoot through the contact. Wait just a moment before releasing your shot. Especially in mid-air collisions where banging into another player may alter your trajectory.

Let the contact happen, readjust, and then get the shot up. This patience( and strength), will lead to more baskets and less frustration.


The higher levels of basketball get more and more physical, so it’s important to brace, wait, and then score. Try and get a training partner to push you around a bit as you try and get to the hoop. Practice like you would play in a real game-time situation.

Combine all of our other tips for making layups and you’re on your way to increasing your scoring average. 




I promised you a quick guide and these three steps will give you the upper hand in making all of your layups.

  • Footwork with elbow and knee “tied” together
  • Find the corner on the backboard
  • Eyes up!

Once you have these perfected you can move on to more advanced layups and moves.

It takes a serious amount of practice to overcome the hurdles of making layups regularly, but once you do, it will become the easiest shot!