Reverse Layup

What is a Reverse Layup in Basketball?

The reverse layup is a widely admired and skillful basketball move that has gained popularity through the years with the help of legendary players such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Stephen Curry. It is a technique used by offensive players when they are in possession of the basketball near the rim, aiming to score by shooting the ball underhand into the basket from the opposite side of the backboard’s inner rectangle. When executed correctly, a reverse layup can be virtually unblockable and allows players to shoot in tight spaces with ease.

Mastering the art of the reverse layup requires precise footwork, timing, and practice. Players often utilize this move when driving to the basket, facing strong defense that can block a regular layup. By switching to the other side of the backboard and using it as protection from defenders, players can increase their chances of scoring.

In order to perfect the reverse layup, aspiring basketball players should pay close attention to the mechanics involved and practice diligently. The ability to effectively use this move can provide a significant advantage on the court and greatly enhance a player’s offensive repertoire.

Fundamentals of a Reverse Layup

Definition and Purpose

A reverse layup is an offensive basketball move that enables the player to score in a way that protects the ball from being blocked by a defender. The primary purpose of this technique is to use the rim and the player’s body as a barrier, making it challenging for the defender to attempt a block.

Basic Steps

  1. Approaching the Basket: Begin by dribbling towards the basket from one side, typically with your outside hand. For instance, if you approach from the left side, use your left hand to dribble.
  2. Jumping off the Foot: As you reach the basket, jump off the foot opposite to the hand you’re holding the ball with. For a left-handed layup, jump off your right foot and vice versa.
  3. Switching Hands: While in mid-air, switch the ball to your inside hand (the hand closest to the basket). This helps with both ball control and protecting the ball from a potential block.
  4. Finishing the Layup: Complete the layup by extending your inside arm and laying the ball off the backboard on the opposite side of the rim. It’s essential to maintain body control and use the correct angles to maximize the success of the reverse layup.

In summary, a reverse layup is an effective technique in basketball that helps players protect the ball from defenders while attempting to score. Mastering the approach, jump, hand-switch, and finishing angle significantly increases the chances of executing a successful reverse layup.

Executing a Reverse Layup


When executing a reverse layup, proper footwork is essential for success. Approach the basket from one side (e.g., from the left) and plant your inside foot (right foot) first, followed by your outside foot (left foot) in a smooth, timed motion. This sequential footwork will help you maintain balance, power, and control throughout the shot.

Body Positioning

Body positioning is critical in protecting the ball and increasing your chances of success. As you approach the basket, jump off your inside foot, and spin your body towards the backboard. Your body should be positioned between the defender and the ball, effectively using it as a shield. At the same time, extend your opposite arm to protect the ball further.

Ball Handling

To perform a reverse layup, the ball should be held in your outside hand (left hand if driving from the left side). As you jump and spin, transfer the ball to your inside hand (right hand) while going up for the shot. Aim to lightly release the ball off your fingertips, applying a gentle backspin to guide it towards the basket.

Common Mistakes

  1. Avoid telegraphing the move: To prevent defenders from anticipating your reverse layup, avoid staring at the basket or making exaggerated motions.

  2. Poor footwork: Inconsistent or incorrect footwork can lead to traveling violations, off-balance shots, or missed opportunities.

  3. Holding the ball too long: Releasing the ball too late may cause it to hit the bottom of the backboard or result in a blocked shot.

  4. Ignoring body positioning: Proper body positioning is crucial for protecting the ball from defenders. Failing to maintain the correct positioning can lead to turnovers or forced shots.

By focusing on your footwork, body positioning, ball handling, and avoiding common mistakes, you can effectively execute a reverse layup and become a more versatile basketball player.