Developing young players' passing abilities is one of the keys to successful basketball coaching. The basis of any basketball team's offense is their aptitude for passing the ball between each other effectively to create the shooting opportunities.
If players cannot pass then they will make it easy for the opposition to defend and they will find it extremely difficult to get into scoring positions. Here we will look at a few basketball tips and drills that can be put into practice to get your players moving the ball between each other quickly and under control.
Drill No. 1 -- Chest Pass
A simple and effective drill when coaching young players is to set them up in a circle of around five meters in diameter and have one player start off in the middle of the circle.
One of the players making up the circle starts with the ball and begins the drill by passing it to the player in the middle. They then follow their pass and move to the middle and as they do this, the middle player with the ball passes it to the next player in the circle and follows the ball again to take up their new position.
The passes must be chest passes delivered crisply to each other and they should look to catch the ball and pass it on without dropping it. Your players must continue to quickly pass and move in this manner for the entire drill and you can set different targets depending on the ability of your players. For example, you may ask for 50 passes to be completed before the ball touches the ground and if it is dropped before they have to start over.
This passing drill will get players used to quickly moving the ball on to each other and then moving which they will need to do in fast attacks.
Drill No. 2 –- Chest Pass
Another skill they need to be able to grasp is passing the ball while moving as they will not always be able to stop and pick out a pass during games.
One way to get your players passing and moving is to get them into pairs and have one partner from each form a line on the sideline with the other partners lining up opposite them with around a fifteen foot separation.
Each pair should start with one ball and they should side step down the court and every couple of steps pass the ball across to their partner. Young players may struggle to play an accurate pass to their partner with them both moving at first but through practice they will start passing to a moving target while they are moving which will become vitally important during games.
These two drills both utilize the chest pass and it is also an important part of basketball coaching to get your players used to distributing the ball using the bounce pass and the overhead pass as well so they can find a pass in all situations during games.
Drill No. 3 -– Bounce Pass
The technique for the bounce pass is basically the same as the chest pass. The player holds the ball in front of their chest with their thumbs pointing up and their fingers forward. Like the chest pass they will step into the throw and push through the ball, however the bounce pass is a slower pass than the chest pass and they are of course looking to bounce the ball off the ground into their teammate's hands.
An easy way to practice the bounce pass is to get your players into pairs and stand them a few feet apart and tell them to aim for a spot about a quarter of the distance away from their partner. Through practice they will start to get a feel for where to bounce the ball and at what speed so that it is easy to receive and working in pairs will help them become comfortable with the skill before moving onto more complex drills.
Drill No. 4 -– Overhead Pass
Practicing the overhead pass can be done in this way as well by pairing players up and going over the technique with them until they are comfortable with it. This time the ball starts above the player's head and they should keep their fingers up and thumbs back. As with the chest pass they should step into the throw and push through the ball aiming for their teammate's chest.
The overhead pass is used in games from stationary positions primarily such as in an inbound pass, passing after a rebound or an outlet pass. It is not used on the run so players need not practice moving and passing with the overhead pass.
Improving your player's passing skills is vital to the success of your team and it is especially important to develop passing ability within young players as they need to be able to do the basics on the court if they want to become better players. Getting your players used to quick and accurate passing and moving will make your offense much more potent and cause problems for defenses each game.