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Coaching Youth Basketball 101

A lay-up is the most basic way to score in the game of basketball. At the younger levels (K – Grade 3), focusing on using the correct footwork can be frustrating and futile. Very few developing players can use the correct footwork when attempting a lay-up.

So what lay-up fundamentals can you teach to younger players?

First, teach the players the correct aiming point for making a lay-up.

Use the backboard and aim for the top corner of the square: If players can understand the importance of identifying the correct aiming point when taking a lay-up, that is a great starting point. Ask your team what they should aim for when taking a lay-up. Have a little fun with the answers by following the advice of the players.

Below are the typical responses:

“THE BACKBOARD”: This is the best one. Shoot the ball all over the backboard and miss. Look at the player who gave your target and say “I hit the backboard, what is wrong. I am doing what you told me to do. I hit the backboard! Why isn’t it going in?”

“THE SQUARE”: With this response the players are getting closer, but you can still can have some fun by hitting the square, yet still missing the shot. Shoot the ball all over “the square” and intentionally miss. Look at the player who gave your target and say “I hit the square, what is wrong. I am doing what you told me to do. Why isn’t it going in? What is wrong?”

“THE TOP CORNER OF THE SQUARE”: Bingo! This is the correct response and the response EACH player should give to you the rest of the season and their playing career.
Once the players understand where to aim the basketball, the next step in the lay-up process is applying their knowledge to the shot.
Check our coaching youth basketball page for more resources, drills, and ideas.
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