Many young players struggle to score in the paint because they only have one finishing move.
It’s the right knee up, right-hand traditional layup we learned when we were kids. If that’s the only move in your finishing package, that’s a recipe for disaster.
If you want to take your finishing to the next level like Trae Young, you must have multiple moves to use in a variety of circumstances.
Trae has three specific finishes he’s mastered — and you’re going to learn them right now!
- Floater (1:04) – this might seem basic, but I assure you it’s significant and useful for smaller guards. (If you’re a bigger guard, make sure you check out our video Big Guard University.) The floater is used when you get 5-10 feet from the basket, feel the space around you is crowded, and see the defender’s chest in front of you with space in between. This move will help you avoid getting blocked or finding yourself in bad situation.
Trae is masterful at stopping quickly using, what I call, gallop footwork. When driving right, he gallops his feet with a right, left one two-step maintaining balance and control. When going left, Trae doesn’t use a gallop step, but rather a left- foot takeoff.
In addition, how you release the shot from your hand is key. Don’t follow through. Instead, imagine you’re giving your teammate a high five with a subtle push at the end. I call this the high-five push-shot. This allows you to get the shot off quicker against outstretched arms while maintaining a soft touch.
It’s a challenging shot to make at a high percentage. If you step into a game tomorrow and shoot a lot of floaters, you’re going to miss a ton. To master it like Trae, training is key.
- Veer Finish (2:32) – A simple, yet under-taught and underutilized move that clever players use on a consistent basis. Often, on the court, you have to beat a defender who’s on your hip or side with only a half-step advantage.
If you go in for a traditional layup, defenders will time the shot and block it. Instead, try this.
Use a two-step approach severing the angle and embracing contact.
Imagine driving from the right-wing toward the basket. Your two-step approach begins with a normal right foot-step, but the magic happens with your left foot-step.
Use that second step with your left to step in front of the defense cutting off the defender’s angle, keeping the defender on your hip or back, and bouncing off them to draw a foul potentially getting an “and one.”
- Wrong Foot Power (4:15) – A beautiful and underutilized move. Many of you have seen the classic Rondo, Sue Bird, or Steve Nash “wrong foot” layup. Instead of taking two steps, you take one step jumping off the right foot and finishing with the right hand. This finish is about cleverness, tricking the defense, and confusing shot blockers.
Trae has taken that same idea and built it for power. Similar to the veer finish, utilize this move when you’ve created a half-step advantage where the defense is on your hip or side. At the highest levels, you can’t go off one foot as much because defenders recover faster and are better shot blockers.
What Trae has done is taken a two-step approach, but he changes his feet and goes, what I call, awkward footwork. Instead of doing a traditional layup on the right-wing which is a right foot- left foot, he goes left foot-right foot. This anchors his body, allowing him to more effectively initiate contact with the defender and get an “and 1” finishing with power.
Many small guards use their size as an excuse. Trae doesn’t, and neither should you.
Use your size as an advantage.
The way to do that is to master these three finishes and work on them daily. If you do this, you’ll equip yourself with more skills and unshakeable confidence to become a player that is dominant around the rim.
Discover five techniques all unstoppable point guard use and hear a breakdown on how you can apply it to your game.
WNBA Legend Debbie Black and PGC Director Kyle Koszuta breakdown what a player needs to become a lockdown defender.
Are your basketball players “soft and lazy?” Every coach wants players who compete. Truth is, we believe players want to compete, but don’t always know what that means.
PGC Basketball provides intense, no-nonsense basketball training for players and coaches. Our basketball camps are designed to teach players of all positions to play smart basketball, be coaches on the court, and be leaders in practices, games and in everyday life.
We combine our unique PGC culture with a variety of teaching methods and learning environments to maximize the learning potential of those that attend our sessions. In addition to spending 6-7 hours on the court each day, lessons will be reinforced through classroom sessions and video analysis.
Our goal at PGC is to empower you with the tools to fulfill your basketball dreams, while also assisting you in experiencing the joy of the journey.