reverse layup

Your Best Reverse Layup – Here’s How to do it

The reverse layup is a very easy way to score in basketball. It’s also one of the most impressive-looking shots you can make.

The reverse layup requires a high level of athleticism, so it’s common to see only skilled players make this shot.

You may have been at a game where the reverse layup was used as a trick play at the end of the game. Generally, this is just done to impress the crowd with an easy score.

When doing reverse layups in practice, be careful to not overdo it. This shouldn’t be your main shot – even though it looks flashy and impressive. You should be focusing on other shots also.

The Reverse Layup

1. Start your layup outside the key on either side

A reverse layup can be done from a closer distance, but it’s more difficult. To fully understand how this shot works, you should start outside the key.

There are many ways to initiate the reverse layup, but the traditional ones drive from one side of the free-throw line and then to the other side of the basket.

This is a skill that beginners can learn. The keyhole shape is made by the paint on the free-throw line and a semicircle that is at the top of that line is on the court.

2. Make a buffer between you and the defender so you can cut inside

To stop you from cutting inside (toward the basket) and crossing to the other side of the hoop, the defender might try to stop you. This is called “blocking.” Allow enough space between you and the defender to make sure you can get to the baseline.

It’s that line that runs right next to the basket on both sides of the court.

If the defender is getting in your way, juke to the outside (away from the basket) to deflect them. Then cut quickly to the opposite side of the basket.

3. Drive to the baseline

Then drive to the baseline on the other side of the basket. You’ve now made enough space for your approach. Two steps away from the other side of the rim, take hold of the basketball and get ready to shoot.

You might have to change your defense while you shoot this. This might mean that you start your reverse layup jump a step or two earlier or later and make adjustments as needed.

4. Exit the rim on the other side

Make a diagonal cut across the free-throw line and back to the baseline. As you do this, one leg should be facing in and the other should be facing out (away from the basket, toward the court). Jump to the other side of the rim with your inside leg.

People can make a back layup from either side of the free-throw line. Jump off your inside leg, no matter which way you start.

During a high jump, it’s normal to look down or at the ball. If you don’t see the basket, your shot will be off. Keep the basket in sight by tilting your head a little forward as you jump.

5. Reverse layup pickup delayed before shot

Take the basketball and shoot it as soon as you start your jump. When you pick up the basketball, a little delay in your pick up so that you can hold the basketball high in the arc of its bounce. Before taking the shot, the basketball should be about chest level.

6. Make the shot

You should have one hand facing inside (toward the basket) and the other facing outside (toward the court). Hold the basketball in your outside hand as you jump, then swing your arm out and flip the basketball into the hoop.

As with most long-range shots, you don’t have to shoot from the knees when you do a reverse layup. In place of that, work on making your shooting motion strong, consistent, and clean instead. The video below explains in detail. 


Video: The reverse layup from beginner to advanced


Improving Your Reverse Layup Technique

Shoot closer to the baseline to save shots

The backboard protects your shot from potential blocks the more closer you shoot by the baseline. Your shooting angle will decrease as you approach the baseline. This can make for a more difficult shot.

The defense often dictates how close you can get to the basket. It’s not always possible to get that lay up close to the baseline.

A taller, more aggressive defense may necessitate reverse layups close to the rim.

Add spin to your shot for better backboard action

Spin your basketball, and it will hold onto the backboard. Practice this often.  This will let you use more of the backboard when you make your shot. As you let go of the ball, move your wrist a little to add spin to the shot.

To find the way that works best for yourself, you should try out different ways to move your wrist and how hard you flick.

Drill your reverse layups

To be able to do this shot in a split second on the court, you’ll need to make it a habit. This means you’ll have to practice it over and over again until you can do it without thinking about how to do it.


A reverse layup is a two-handed, reverse shot made by jumping off of the inside leg towards the basket. It’s most commonly done on an approach from either side of the free-throw lane to score at a closer distance. 

Hopefully, this article has shed light on the reverse layup. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do it right away — you’ll have ample opportunities to practice reverse layups during your regular playing time. Practice and it will come.