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 Basketball Skills: How to teach a lay-up to children

By:  Gary Stocker

Do you remember learning the multiplication tables in math class? Your teachers started off with single digit multiplication facts and then moved forward from there.

I have had success in teaching lay-ups with a similar building block approach. Listed below is a text description of my method and a free link to a video clip that shows my teaching method at

In the teaching process outlined below, I always break down the drills into the same four parts.

Part 1: The lay-up component without a ball.
Part 2: The lay-up component with a ball – but no dribbling. (The players run with the ball.)
Part 3: The lay-up component with a ball and dribbling – but with no shot.
Part 4: The lay-up component with ball, dribbling, and the lay-up shot.

This four-part break down of the lay-up serves as a building block for each of the basic skills. It also lets the child focus on one skill at a time. Once he or she masters one skill set they can move on to the next.

Step 1: Have your player stand on the right side of the free throw lane on the first big free throw block. This is about 5 feet from the backboard. The rest of the players get in a line behind the first player.

Step 2: Instruct each player to approach the starting spot (that block on the free throw land) and to put both of their feet together.

NOTE: At this point, put some kind of “X”mark on the court surface (use tape or chalk.) This is where you want the players left foot to land (called ‘left foot marker’) as they shoot the lay-up. This will serve as a visual reminder to help them jump off of their left foot. This mark will be placed about 3-4 feet in front of the backboard and about 2-3 feet right of the side of the basket rim.


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To see some short, on-line video clips of the drills we do for baseball and basketball, go to our website at Click on the ‘Sample Video’ link to see a representative sample.

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