Basketball Offense: The Reverse Layup

Layups are a fundamental shot in basketball. Mastering the reverse layup can help you become a more well-rounded player on the court.

February 20, 2019

The layup is one of the first shots a basketball player learns. It is a fundamental offensive skill and a move that players at every level can use in their game.

There are several varieties of layups players can learn to achieve success on the court, no matter their skill level.

Layups are an extremely high-percentage shot,” former collegiate player Kristin Ronai says. “A skilled player will have the ability to finish layups in a variety of ways. One of these ways is the reverse layup.”

The main reason you would perform a reverse layup instead of a regular layup would be to help protect the ball from your defender. A reverse layup uses your body and the rim to protect the ball as you go up for a shot.


To execute a reverse layup:

  • Approach the basket from one side. You will finish on the opposite side.
  • Come from the left side of the lane and dribble with your outside hand (left hand).
  • As you approach the lane line, shuffle your feet so your baseline foot (left foot) is planted in the middle of the lane.
  • Finish the move by chinning the ball to protect it from your defender as you square your shoulders to the backboard.
  • Your momentum should carry you across the lane as you shoot the ball with your right hand, off the backboard and through the hoop.
  • The same steps apply when you are coming from the right side of the basket; simply reverse your hands and feet.


The Mikan Drill can help you work on your reverse layup technique.

  • Start in the middle of the lane, facing the basket, just a few feet in front of the rim.
  • With the ball in your hands, take one step with your left foot to move to the right side of the rim and closer to the basket. Finish with a layup using your right hand.
  • As the ball comes through the basket, catch the ball and take a step with your right foot to cross the lane to the left side of the rim. Finish with a layup using your left hand.
  • Follow your momentum back and forth across the lane.
  • You should always plant your inside foot in the middle of the lane while finishing with your outside hand.
  • Keep the ball high throughout the drill. Catch the ball above your shoulders/head and go straight up with another layup.
  • Start with 8-10 repetitions and progress at your own pace.

“A reverse layup is an effective move that must be mastered in order to be a skilled scorer around the rim,” Ronai says.

Want to work even more on your layup skills? Give the X-Out Layup Drill a try. This drill has several skill levels that can help you improve your chances of finishing underneath the hoop with a bucket.