Do your teammates call you a "ball hog"? Do you take an average of 50 shots per game? Is turnovers the only statistic you lead the team in? Maybe you should learn to pass the basketball. Passing is one of the fundamental elements of the game. An offense cannot function without players who know how to pass the basketball. And besides, its rude not to share. All good basketball players should know how to perform the three basic types of passes: overhead, bounce, and chest. More advanced players can practice no-look and behind the back passes.
How to pass a basketball:
- Think before you pass. This seems obvious but it is something that even great players forget. Many aggressive players have a bad habit of driving into the lane, jumping, and then looking around frantically for someone to pass to. Or, a guard picks up his dribble with out a clear plan of what they want to do with the ball. Both of these scenarios tend to result in turnovers or broken plays. It is not enough to think about where to pass the ball, It is also important to think about what type of player you are passing to. Is it a guard with good hands? Or is it a forward posting up on the block? Is the player on the move? The answers to these and other questions will determine what type of pass you throw. A guard with good hands can probably handle a crisp chest or overhead pass. The post player will need a higher, softer pass. And you should always pass the ball a little ahead of a player on the move.
- Use ball fakes. One technique to ensure a clear passing angle is to fake a pass in the opposite direction or a shot. By looking at a teammate that you do not intend to pass to and making a convincing pass fake, you will be able to make the defense shift and create an opening to throw your real pass. You can also fake a shot to freeze the defenders. This is only effective if you are in shooting range and some coaches are wary of it because players have a tendency to travel when performing a shot fake. A good way to guarantee that you do not travel is to keep your knees bent when faking a shot or a pass.
- Don't telegraph your pass. It may seem a little contradictory, but you do not want to look right at the person you are passing to. Be aware of who you are passing to and their position, but do not stare at them. Your pass will be stolen.
- Snap your wrist. You don't have to be exceptionally strong to throw a hard, crisp pass. Regardless of the type of pass you are throwing, overhead, chest or bounce, a quick snap of the wrist as you release the ball will ensure proper back-spin and will allow the ball to carry.
- Throw a pass that can be caught. A pass that cannot be caught is worthless. Throw the ball away from the receiver's defender so that it does not get tipped or stolen. You typically want a pass to be caught in the lower chest/upper abdominal region. Many coaches refer to this as aiming at "the numbers," or where a player's number is shown on their basketball jersey. This allows your teammate to either shoot, pass, or dribble the ball immediately upon receiving the pass.
Follow these tips on how to pass a basketball and you will not only become a better player but a better teammate as well.