Basketball 101: Fundamentals of Passing

The chest pass is a basic skill to learn.

Basketball is a team game. By definition, that means all players are involved with the process of playing the game and should function as one. One of the primary skills created to accomplish this is passing. Yet, passing remains one of the most under-taught, under-emphasized, and under-drilled skills in the game.

Players assume the values that the coach places on each aspect of the game. When coaching the art of passing, it is important that the coach teach not only the skill, but the mentality as well. Too many players think of passing as something to do when they don't have a shot as opposed to an unselfish act that is designed to include other players.

When teaching younger players, be aware of their physical and mental limitations. Young players usually lack the strength necessary to make the plays that they believe can be successful (like the ones they see on television) and they are still developing their sense of space and time. In addition, their recognition skills can only be honed by experience. Passes that look open to them often are not because they do not have the experience to know how long it takes to get from point A to point B and bad passes are often a result of slow recognition. In either case, negative reinforcement of the attempted pass often results in a reluctance to make the next pass. The long-term effect could be a player who does not understand the value of passing and takes no joy in it.

Types of Passes

There are essentially two types of passes:

  • Air Pass - The pass travels between players without hitting the floor.
  • Bounce Passes - The pass is thrown to the floor so that it bounces to the intended receiver.

Each type of pass comes with its own variations.

Basic Variations:

  • Chest Pass
  • Bounce Pass
  • Overhead Pass
  • Wrap Around Pass

Advanced Variations:

  • Baseball Pass
  • Dribble Pass
  • Behind-the-Back Pass
  • Pick-and-Roll Pass
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