Basketball is a team sport, and passing an important fundamental. Passing is the action of moving the ball to create scoring opportunities and denying the defense of the ball. Passing calls for self-sacrifice for the greater good of the team. Some players become known for being unselfish with the ball by passing a lot and racking up many assists. A player is credited with giving an assist when he helps another teammate score. Passing is an important component of good offense. As in any aspect of basketball, correct technique is important in making a good pass. An effective pass is a combination of good timing, speed, and accuracy.
The following concepts apply for all passes:
- Dominant leg forwards.
- Target area is key.
- Snap your wrist and follow through.
- Power comes from the legs.
- Always step forward to increase accuracy by using your body weight.
The chest pass is a quick and accurate pass from the chest of the passer to the chest of the receiver. It is the most effective pass and fastest way to move the ball.
- Hold the ball in the triple-threat position (keep legs shoulder width apart, knees bent, shooting hand on top of ball, and other hand to side, elbows bent at 90-degree angles).
- Hold the ball level with your chest.
- Extend your arms in a quick motion to pass the ball with palms facing outwards and thumbs facing the player you passed to. This is called the follow through.
- Push off your back foot.
- The other receiver should receive the ball at chest level.
In a bounce pass, the ball is bounced from the floor before reaching the receiver of the pass. The ball should bounce about 1/2 to 3/4 way between the two players and end with a follow-through similar to the chest pass.
- Hold the ball in the triple-threat position.
- Hold the ball at waist level.
- Push off your back foot to land on your front foot.
- Extend arms in a quick motion to pass the ball with palms facing outwards and thumbs facing a spot 3/4 between the passer and the receiver.
- The ball should bounce from that spot to arrive at your receiver above the waist and below the shoulders. In other words, as the name “chest pass” implies, the ball should arrive at the receiver’s chest.
An overhead pass is a pass thrown with both hands from behind the head over your head. It is relatively easy to steal, but an effective way of initiating a fast-break.
- Assume the triple-threat position.
- Place your hands on both sides of the ball and bring the ball behind your head.
- Push off your front foot and step forward with your back foot.
- Use your upper body strength to make the pass and follow-through.
A baseball pass is best used for long distance passes. It sacrifices accuracy for the sake of distance and is especially useful during fast breaks and alley oops.
- Place the ball high above the side of your head with your passing hand behind it and the other under the ball.
- Follow through the ball with a quick snap of the wrist and overhand arm thrust.
The off-the-dribble pass is a dangerous weapon, as it is hard to predict. The technique is almost identical to a chest pass with one exception — it is done abruptly as you are dribbling. Instead of bouncing the ball again in a dribble, just chest-pass the ball to your teammate.
A behind-the-back pass can be used off the dribble or standing still and, when used at the right time, can be difficult for the defense to intercept.
- Cup the ball with your hand.
- Swing your arm behind your back, keeping your elbow bent, fingers pointed toward your lower back. Release the ball around you by slapping the small of your back.
- The ball should bounce halfway between the passer and the receiver and arrive at his or her chest.
Practice these passes and you are sure to become an offensive threat on the court. Passing also helps boost the morale of your team as a whole and allows all components of the team to come together seamlessly. Try to incorporate pass-fakes to deceive your opponents before you pass.