The game of basketball is a team sports and it requires all five members playing on the court to act accordingly in order to assist or support a team member who in the moment has the capacity to score or shoot.  Simply put, the role of every team member playing on court is to assist or be assisted and this is done mainly for one reason – to win.

Basketball PassingBasketball is not just all about shooting, dribbling, and rebounding, but also of passing.  Passing is the fastest way to move the ball around the court making it a great means of setting up good offensive possibilities.  If a team cannot successfully pass the ball to an open team member, possibly due to lack of passing skills, then the team inevitably risks losing potential points that can be garnered through such.  Passing is a very important skill in basketball.  The problem often time is, players hardly practice any basketball passing fundamentals, making them very poor at it.  It can be safe to say that despite passing being an important skill in basketball, it is also by far the least taught or practiced.

The problem with most players is that they think they already know how to perform passes after doing it several times and that they only need to make a pass when they don’t have a shot.  They fail to recognize the relevant importance of passing as an offensive strategy.  Sometimes, even if they do decide to pass, due to lack of practice, what seems to them like an open pass is easily interceptable because they fail to recognize (or haven’t experienced) how long it takes to pass from point A to point B.  Due to this lack of training, their passes sometimes or even often results in bad passes.  This is the very reason why passing should be practiced so that they don’t result in bad or intercepted passes.

There are basically two types of passes – the air passes and the bounce passes.  Air passes are passes that travels from the ball handler to the receiver without hitting the floor.  Bounce passes on the other hand are passes from the ball handler that are made to bounce off the floor to the intended receiver. The list below shows the kinds of basketball passes from basic to advanced.

Basic Passes:

  • Chest Pass – this type of pass is considered the most accurate type of pass you can use.  This is done by holding the ball with both hands in front of the chest and releasing the basketball by extending both arms forward to make the pass.  Depending on the strength of the passer (or strength applied), the ball usually travels straight and parallel to the floor.  This type of pass requires a lot of arm strength as it is a high velocity pass.
  • Bounce Pass – this type of pass is highly useful when under heavy defense.  This pass can be executed either when holding or dribbling the ball.  To execute the pass, the ball handler assesses the distance between him and the recipient and judges how much strength, angle and ball deflection is needed for the pass.  The trajectory of the ball can also be changed though the application of ball spin. Although the pass is quite tricky, with enough and frequent practice, the action needed to make the pass becomes instinctive.
  • Overhead Pass – this type of pass becomes very useful when you are being guarded tightly, or when you are taller than your defender, you can use this pass without any worries.  The main problem with this pass when used wrongly or timed wrongly can easily be intercepted. To execute the pass, hold the ball with both hands behind your head then extend your arms forward and bring down your elbows to make the pass.

Advanced Passes:

  • Behind the Back Pass – this pass is used to misdirect the defender from the ball.  To execute the pass, cup the ball with your palm and fingers and sling it from your back to your intended recipient.
  • Dribble Pass – this is intended to be a quick pass using one hand and coming out of a dribble.  To execute the pass, as soon as the ball bounces back into your hands, you sling it with your dribbling hand towards your intended recipient, either through an air pass or a bounce pass.
  • Baseball Pass – this ball is made using one hand and similar to a baseball pitcher, you propel the ball at high speeds to make long passes.
  • Alley-oop Pass – this is a type of pass that usually ends up with a dunk shot – sort of like an exhibition stunt.  The pass is often orchestrated secretly between knowing players, usually through eye contact, to recognize their intent.  Once the recipient is at optimum position, the ball handler tosses a high pass near the basket wherein the recipient jumps up to receive the pass and, more often that no, slams the ball to the hoop.  The difficulty of this pass is very high as you need very good timing to make it successful, particularly during games.

Tips to Improve Your Passing

1. Understand Spacing – if the recipient is far from you, then you should know that making a long pass gives defenders time and space to intercept the ball.  If you are able to shorten the pass through dribble, you are able to shorten the distance and thus improve on your spacing.

2. Don’t Attempt to Impress – knowing the many types of passes do not mean you need to do them when you can do a simple pass.  A simple pass is much easier to do and easier to execute.  You won’t impress anyone if you what was supposed to be a simple pass into a difficult one only to get it intercepted.

3. Play a Game without Dribbles – playing a game with your teammates with absolutely no dribbles is actually very difficult and confusing at first.  However, since each team needs to run to get opening for passes and shots, they eventually learn in making effective passes even while their intended recipients are running for position.