Today we’re going to take a look at some highly effective finishing drills off the drive so you can learn how to become an elite finisher in games! In short, we’ll reveal the secrets to stop missing layups. Plus, we’ll share a few tips to improve your finishing that can be applied to any drill. You’ll discover a bunch of ways to add more in-game options to your bag by developing your creativity. Let’s get after it!
Here are four finishing drills you can try at your next practice session. Learn how to manipulate the ball with your weak hand, finish off one or two feet, develop your hang time, and more. Grab your best outdoor or indoor basketball and hit the court. (If you need a new ball, we recommend the Evolution – size 7 for men, 6 for women, 5 for kids.)
To begin you’re going to do a reverse inside hand finish. So starting from the right side of the lane, you’ll dribble to the left side of the basket, and reverse lay it in underhand using your right arm. It’s probably most comfortable to push off your right leg but you can use either. Then do the same thing from the left side going to the right. Try to get 3 makes on each side. Then switch it up to include the power dribble hop (also called the pro hop). It’s the same move but instead of a one legged layup, instead you’re taking a dribble, jump stopping, and them jumping off both feet at the same time. You’re still finishing with your inside arm. Get 3 makes on each side. Watch coach Maggie demonstrate here.
Wide open speed layups rarely happen in a game. Use something soft like a 2 foot tall pad and place it a few feet from the basket. Then approach the pad starting from the three-point line to the left, middle and right of the court. The goal is to jump over the pad and get the finish. Jumping over the pad will force you to be creative and make a finishing decision in the air. Watch how here. Try to get 3 makes from each of the 3 starting spots.
For this drill you need three people, including yourself. The drill is all about using a time constraint to make you drive quickly or patiently. For the first level, it’s just the offense and the counter. One person has the ball and freestyle dribbles at the three line. The counter decides whether to count down from five, four, three, or two seconds. When the counter begins counting the player has to react and get to the bucket with the goal of scoring exactly when the counter reaches “one”. Once you’ve got 3 makes, add in defense, and repeat. Play make it take it with your defender up to 3 points (each basket is a point). Watch coach Camille demonstrate here.
This one might feel real wild at first, but basically try super tough finishes with your weak hand. Things you might not feel equipped to do yet – extended finishes, spins, etc. Try to get 3 makes. Watch coach Coleman demonstrate here. Then move on to weak hand fluidity drills, basically stand in place and try to manipulate the ball with your off hand – moving it up, down, to the left, and to the right in unpredictable patterns for a few minutes. You’re not really dribbling but you’re learn how to use your whole weak arm. This will teach you how to move fluidly with your shoulders, coordinate your joints altogether and get comfortable moving the ball. Finally, try 3 minutes of a a weak hand freestyle where you can only use your weak hand. Moving your feet is great and will make it a bit tougher.
Now that you have a few helpful drills, here are some simple ways to improve your finishing consistently.
Remember Luka Dončić gets buckets, and he takes his time with them. You don’t need to fly into the hoop that fast. Slow down to control your body and your defenders. Seek out the contact to establish your position.
There are hundreds of ways to finish around the rim. Most finishes simply involve reading a defender and reacting while in the air. So your practices and training should reflect that. You don’t need to finish right next to your body every time. Learn how to do the extended finish, euro step, floaters, slide by, and more. Check out a quick demo of four options here.
The Rondo shot fake is a classic and keeps you on balance, making it easy to pivot and get an open look. Rajon Rondo made this move popular in his Boston Celtic days but a lot of players use it now to be unpredictable around the rim. Basically you slam on the breaks, ball fake, and then pivot back the other way to shoot. Just end your drive with your feet planted, and extend the ball out with one arm as if you’re going to lay it in, but then pivot around and the knock down the open bucket. Check it out here. You can also do a simple pump fake.
The more options you have, the harder you are to predict and guard. Be sure to work on both your left and right hands equally. Here are some drills for developing your weak hand.
Keep practicing and get ready for all sorts of high pressure situations! Up next, learn how to do the speed stop.