How to Do Reverse Mikan Drill

In the world of basketball, mastering close-range scoring is a fundamental skill that can separate great players from the rest. Among the many drills designed to enhance this critical ability, the “Reverse Mikan Drill” stands out as a versatile and essential exercise. 

In this article, we will take you through the step-by-step process of how to perform the Reverse Mikan Drill effectively. Whether you’re a novice looking to build a solid foundation or an experienced player seeking to refine your close-range scoring, this article has you covered.

What Is a Reverse Mikan Drill?

A Reverse Mikan Drill is a basketball training exercise designed to enhance a player’s close-range scoring abilities, particularly with reverse layups and off-hand finishes. Named after the legendary George Mikan, this drill is a variation of the traditional Mikan Drill, which focuses on developing close-range shooting and rebounding skills. In a Reverse Mikan Drill, the player starts beneath the basket, facing away from it, and practices taking reverse layup shots using their non-dominant hand. 

This drill helps basketball players improve their dexterity, balance, and confidence when finishing at the rim in challenging, real-game scenarios. It’s a fundamental skill-building exercise that contributes to a player’s overall scoring versatility and effectiveness near the basket.

How to Do Reverse Mikan Drill

The Reverse Mikan Drill is a fundamental basketball exercise designed to improve close-range scoring and versatility near the basket. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to master this essential skill.

  1. Position Yourself Correctly: To execute this drill effectively, you must begin by standing on one side of the basket, facing the baseline. Ensure your back is turned to the hoop, and maintain a distance of a few feet from the basket. This positioning closely mirrors in-game scenarios, allowing you to work on your close-range skills under realistic conditions.
  1. Start with the Ball: Commence the drill with the basketball securely in your hands, holding it at waist level. This initial stance is crucial for a proper start, enabling you to transition smoothly into the subsequent steps of the exercise.
  1. Pivot and Square Up: Next, pivot on your inside foot, which is the one nearest to the basket. Simultaneously, raise your non-dominant hand (for instance, your left hand if you’re right-handed) to shield the ball from potential defenders. This movement is pivotal as it positions you to face the hoop directly, ensuring that you are prepared for the reverse layup while safeguarding the ball from opponents.
  1. Take a Controlled Dribble: Employ a controlled dribble with your non-dominant hand as you begin your drive toward the hoop. Dribble the ball once or twice, ensuring it remains under control. This dribble is essential for maintaining balance and control during your approach to the basket.
  1. Execute the Reverse Layup: As you approach the basket, spring off your inside foot to gain elevation, simultaneously extending your non-dominant arm to execute the reverse layup. Precision is crucial here. Focus on releasing the ball high off the backboard to reduce the chances of shot-blocking by defenders.
  1. Rebound and Reset: Following the shot, promptly retrieve the rebound. This phase is vital to develop your ability to secure your own misses and reset for another attempt. Concentrate on maintaining sound footwork and balance throughout this sequence.
  1. Alternate Sides: Once you have honed your skills on one side, challenge yourself by switching to the other side of the basket. Practice the drill using your dominant hand, ensuring that you develop proficiency with both hands. This balance in training will make you a more versatile and unpredictable player near the basket.

Drills and Variations to Enhance Reverse Mikan Skill

To further enhance your Reverse Mikan skills, consider incorporating these drills and variations into your training regimen:

  1. Two-Ball Reverse Mikan: This advanced variation involves using two basketballs simultaneously during the drill. It challenges players to develop exceptional coordination and ambidexterity. By executing reverse layups with both hands simultaneously, you enhance your ability to finish with precision, which can be a valuable asset in real-game situations. Practicing this variation can significantly improve your overall scoring versatility around the basket.
  1. Defender Simulation: Elevate the intensity of your Reverse Mikan Drill by incorporating defender simulation. Have a teammate or coach mimic a defender’s movements and actions while you attempt the reverse layup. This adds a game-like element to your practice, helping you learn to read defenders, adapt to defensive strategies, and create separation for successful shots.
  1. Speed and Agility: To boost your footwork and agility, combine the drill with speed and agility exercises recommended by the United States Basketball Association (USBA). Integrate ladder drills or cone drills into your training routine alongside the drill. This combination enhances your ability to maneuver swiftly and efficiently around the court, making you a more agile and effective player near the basket.
  1. Shot Fake and Finish: Incorporating a shot fake before executing the reverse layup is an excellent way to simulate real-game scenarios. This variation teaches you to read defenders, use deception, and create separation before finishing with finesse. Developing this skill can make you a more unpredictable and successful scorer near the hoop, as defenders won’t know whether you’re going for the shot or a fake.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the purpose of the Reverse Mikan Drill in basketball training?

This drill is designed to improve a player’s close-range scoring abilities, especially with reverse layups and off-hand finishes. It helps enhance dexterity, balance, and confidence in finishing at the rim, making players more versatile near the basket.

  • Is the Reverse Mikan Drill suitable for players of all skill levels?

Yes, this drill can benefit players of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced athletes. It provides a fundamental foundation for close-range scoring that can be developed and customized to suit individual player needs.

  • Does the Reverse Mikan Drill require expensive equipment or facilities?

Not at all. This drill can be performed with minimal equipment—just a basketball and access to a hoop. It doesn’t require specialized facilities or expensive gear. It’s a cost-effective way for players to work on their skills and can be done on most basketball courts or even at home with a portable hoop.

  • Is the Reverse Mikan Drill only for advanced basketball players?

No, this drill is not exclusively for advanced players. It can be adapted to accommodate various skill levels. Beginners can start with basic footwork and layup techniques, gradually progressing to more advanced variations as they improve.


The Reverse Mikan Drill is an invaluable tool for any basketball player looking to enhance their close-range scoring abilities. Its step-by-step approach allows players of all levels to build a strong foundation and progress at their own pace. By incorporating variations and consistently practicing this drill, players can become more versatile and confident scorers near the basket, ultimately elevating their overall performance on the court. 

At Revolution Basketball Training, we offer training programs tailored to your skill level and goals. Elevate your game and boost your scoring abilities. Contact us today to get started!

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