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The hard truth about lay-ups

I have two questions for all of you:
– How many coaches complain about a lack of time on the court with their team? (Count me in, just like 100% of all committed and passionated coaches)
– How many coaches start EVERY SINGLE practice with doing 1on0 lay-ups as a warm-up?

Why do we do so? Because very likely once we were a player by ourselves and our coach made us do it? Being a coach in an ever evolving sports doesn’t allow us to copy those old habits from generation to generation… I think as a coach you should question what you’re doing very regularly. Regarding practice, the main question should be: Does it prepare my players in the best possible way to our games?

Well, to check it out, I made a compilation of all lay-ups situations in the Euroleague F4 game between Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow. ONE GAME.
Have a look here:

I counted ONE SINGLE ordinary lay-up (left-right with left finish without defense). Maybe we’re not all working on the EuroLeague level, but I dare you to count the number of open lay-ups without any defense or decision making at the level you’re coaching!

The game situations ask for a different SKILLSET and DECISION MAKING in finishing.
I see Eurosteps, floaters, runners, off-foot or off-hand finishes, hesitation steps, spin moves, scoop lay-ups, … all depending on what the defense gives up!
How many times in your playing career did your coach correct you for not finishing with the “correct” hand? In the video, you see Sergio Llull finishing a left lay-up with his right hand … because it is the right DECISION in that situation.

So why spending hours and hours (count all those drills in the beginning of each practice from being a child to being a senior player) on just the RIGHT-LEFT with RIGHT finish?
1) To get warmed-up? As if you cannot integrate decision making into your warm-up…
2) Because the players are not ready? First they need to score normal lay-ups at 100%? That’s like a student teacher can only start working when they NEVER make a spelling mistake? An accountant can start when he NEVER makes a miscalculation? …?

When I visited one of the best youth programs in the world, I saw a bunch of 10 year olds doing at least 10 different types of lay-ups, going from a EURO-step to a one-step lay-up over the backboard!


On a personal level I can tell you that my season with T71 Dudelange in Luxemburg has ended. And it has been one hell of a ride! Against all odds, we made it to the Finals in which we finally fell short 3-1 after two close losses in Game 3 and 4. Close, but no cigar! However, very proud on an amazing group of players and people! Have a look to the summary of our decisive Game 4 of the Finals in which our fans were simply great:

As I announced before, I decided to leave the club after this season. I will use the upcoming weeks to take a decision on my future. In the meantime I’ll be coach at some summer league events in Valencia, Las Vegas and Antwerp.

Keep an eye on your mailbox, I’ll be back in a couple of days with another piece of content!

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