how to finish at the rim

How to Finish at the Rim in Basketball (Make More Layups)

The Chase Layup Drill will help you finish at the rim better.

It was the winter of 2000. My team was up by 15 points and my coach let me play in garbage time.

I was defending the opposing team’s point guard and noticed that he left a big gap between his body and the ball as he dribbled.

So, I went in for a steal. I swiped the ball from him like that jerk Swiper from Dora and took off on a fastbreak.

I was high on adrenaline and just sprinted to the other side of the court. I went up for a layup, imagining that I was someone cool like Allen Iverson and… completely botched the shot.

I missed it horribly.

It hit the backboard too hard and bounced right into a trailing defender’s hands.

It was embarrassing. At the next time out, my teammates congratulated me on the impressive steal but made fun of me for missing the layup.

And this hurt my feelings. Okay, not really (well, maybe just a little).

Anywhoo, I just wasn’t used to being in that situation. I had never experienced running on a fastbreak after a big steal before.

And that’s one of the key issues why I, and I’m sure you, can’t finish at the rim consistently.

We’re inexperienced.

But don’t fret. You (and I) are in luck –there is a drill we can do that will solve this problem.

The drill is called the Chase Layup Drill.

What is the Chase Layup Drill?

This basketball drill is good for practising two main things: how to make layups under pressure and through traffic, and how to stop a player from making layups.

It will teach you how to score and how to defend (but we’re only going to focus on the offence for this article).

How to Do the Drill and Get Better At Finishing at the Rim

Watch the following video to learn how to do it. And don’t worry, it’s a pretty straightforward drill:

How To Do The Drill Chase Layup Drill:
  • Starting at the free-throw line (or 3-point line), the ball handler will drive the lane for a layup.
  • The following player will be the trailer. The trailer chases the ball handler, imitating a chasing defender looking to block the shot.

Key Notes:

  • If you’re older or have a decent amount of basketball experience, I suggest you move further away from the basket. Maybe the 3-point line or the half-court line. You can even extend it to the other side of the court, where you have to run the full length of the court (this is how my coach set it up).
  • Make sure you do the drill on both sides (finishing on the right side of the rim as well as the left side).
  • You can gamify the drill to make it more competitive. Just add a scoring system for baskets made and deflects/blocks achieved, for example.
  • Put in maximum effort on both defence and offence. This will help you improve your skills much quicker.
  • This drill is best done if there are a lot of players. You can do it with just two people, but it’s not as fun. If there are many participants, you can match up against wider a variety of players (different sizes, skillsets, and abilities), which will help you improve quicker. It’ll also be more competitive this way.
  • An alternative drill is the Ladder Layup Drill (or the A.I. Drill).

In addition to the Chase Layup Drill, you should also do the Mikan Drill.

Why You Should Also Do The Mikan Drill

The Mikan Drill, if you don’t know, is the ultimate close-range shooting exercise.

It helps you get familiar (the angles, form, and touch) with shooting near the basket (on both sides).

Anyway, when you combine the two drills together, you will learn how to be a supreme finisher at the rim.

You’ll practise how to finish layups, how to shoot them on fastbreaks, and how to finish them under pressure and through contact.

After you master the techniques (and get comfortable with them), no one will be able to stop you at the rim (unless they’re just superior to you in every single way, like they’re just bigger, stronger, faster, and more skilled than you).

Additionally, you’ll also get better at preventing opponents from scoring on fastbreaks.

Final Thoughts

The Chase-Down Layup Drill was one of my favourites to do. It’s fun and is effective.

So, give it a try and see how it improves your game.

Hopefully, it’ll prevent you from missing a wide-open layup after an epic steal (like I did).