How to Pass Better in Basketball

Passing is the most important part of the game as far as your whole team is concerned and learning to pass better will help you and your basketball team be more successful.

Keep your pass simple, whether it’s a straightforward pass, or a bounce pass, the more you throw it around your body or bounce it between your legs, the more of a chance you have that you will lose control of the ball.

Most important, your teammate has to be able to catch your pass. That means, making sure the pass gets to your teammate, and it isn’t thrown so hard he or she cannot catch the ball.

Look up and toward your goal and step toward your partner when passing. When catching, step toward the pass. Try to put a backspin on the ball by following through with your arm on every pass.

“Coaches need to focus more on passing than they usually do, because it is such an important part of the game,” says Wayne Wharton, who is signed up as a coach on Sportamix and played basketball a few years himself.

Learn some of the basic passes and learn how to do them leading with your right and left foot, and also with different lead arms. Practice varying your passes with a partner, and using a different stance and different speeds.

Basic Passes

Chest Pass. That’s a strong pass without a bounce that comes from your chest and lands to your opponent’s chest. You grip the ball with both hands with the thumbs down and the fingers directly behind the ball. There is no bounce, and it’s sometimes called an “air pass.”

Bounce Pass. This pass has a bounce, and the ball should hit the ground at about three-fourths of the distance between you and your partner. You don’t want the bounce to end up too short, or too close to the recipient.

Overhead Pass. A strong pass coming from over your head, much like you would throw a ball in a soccer game. The ball should start directly above your forehead, and not from way back over your head, and aim for the recipient’s chin.

Baseball Pass. This pass is like flinging the basketball with one arm like a baseball offering a strong hard pass, with good accuracy. But, the pass is sometimes awkward and can throw your body off balance because one arm is usually swings far back. It’s used for long passes.

Wrap-Around Pass. Shifting your weight from your lead foot to your other foot to avoid an opponent. Pass the ball with your outside hand and throw the ball around the opponent.

Some Basic Passing Drills

Try facing an opponent, each with a ball and moving sideways, shuffling your feet and each simultaneously throwing the ball to the other. The object is to keep aware of your footwork, and keep the balls from colliding.

Learn what the best space is to pass to an opponent. What is the farthest distance you can pass with accuracy. That will help you make passing decisions when pressured during the game.

Have your teammates develop a hand signal when they want the ball. If there’s no hand signal, they won’t get a pass. Keep the hand signals away from the body, and use believable fake passes. Always pass away from the defense and catch the ball with two hands.

“Good passing is the best way to keep a cohesive team,” says Wharton.