Drill: Mikan Lay-Ups

Today we present the Mikan Drill. It’s such a classic that it hardly requires an introduction at all. It’s not just that this drill has been around forever, that it’s beneficial for both guards and bigs, or that it develops perfect footwork. Or even that it’s named after the original “big man”.

For those who are unfamiliar, George Mikan is a basketball legend. Playing in the original NBL/NBA in the 1940s, Mikan won 7 championships and averaged 22.6 points and 13.4 rebounds in his career. He was the impetus for numerous rule changes. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame. He was named the best player of the first half of the 20th century. He literally earned the nickname ‘Mr Basketball’.

But of all the facets of his looming legacy, the Mikan Lay-Ups drill is perhaps the best known.

Mikan Lay-Ups

DESCRIPTION Begin on one side of the basket with a ball. Execute left and right hand lay-ups, alternating sides with each shot. Use the left hand on the left side, and vice versa on the right side. Drive your knee up with each shot (imagine a string tied from the elbow to the same-side knee) to elevate and extend your arm so finish high off the backboard, and keep the ball high – don’t bring it down on the rebound. Don’t forget to practice from both sides!
SKILL FOCUS  Lay-Ups, Footwork, Shooting
AGE (STAGE)  8+ (Learn-to-Train)
EQUIPMENT  1 basketball
VARIATION:
COMPETITION
Make it competitive! Have players compete individually within the group, or against a partner. Competition can be done by time (i.e. most makes in 60-seconds) or by success rate (i.e. most makes out of 20 attempts). And consider other wrinkles, like only alternating sides on a made shot or not letting the ball hit the ground between shots.

How do you make the most of Mikan Lay-Ups with your athletes? Share your variations in the comments below!

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