Fundamentals of a Good Basketball Pass

Great teams know the secret...

Hitting the open shooter with a perfect basketball pass is the secret behind high-scoring offenses.

Remember, basketball is a team game.

The best players know that five players working the ball around the court will open up a lot more scoring opportunities than each player trying to do it on his own.

Anyone who knows how to play basketball realizes that when you've got the ball in your hands...

...you're holding the most prized possession on the court.

It’s really important that you know what to do with it.

Shooting is certainly one option.

Dribbling is another.

If you've got a wide open shot within your range or an open drive to the bucket, by all means take it.

But, before you try to force something on your own, how about looking for a pass to an open teammate?

Here are some simple basketball tips guaranteed to improve your basketball pass.

20 Basketball Passing Tips

1. Square up to the basket before you do anything - To make a good decision, you have to see what is happening on the floor. 

2. Keep your head up and see the rim - By looking at the basket, you can use your peripheral vision to see everyone on the floor.

3. Think "Pass-Shot-Drive" - Look for an open teammate first, an open shot next, or an open dribble last.

4. Passing is the quickest way to move the ball down the floor

basketball pass

Passing to an open teammate down court is a lot better than trying to dribble it.

5. Take about 2 seconds to make a decision - Hold the ball for a couple seconds while you decide whether you will pass, shoot, or dribble. This should be long enough make a good decision.

6. Don't throw the pass unless you can see the player you are passing to - Don't assume a player is ready for the ball.

7. When passing the ball up the floor in transition, keep passes out of the center of the court - Since most of the traffic is running down the middle lane of the court, it's really hard to make a good basketball pass without it being deflected or mishandled.

8. When in doubt, don't throw it Trust your instincts. If you're not sure the pass will get there, don't take a chance. There will be plenty of other opportunities for a good basketball pass.

9. Don't telegraph your pass

basketball pass

Don't look directly at the person you want to pass to because that alerts the defender the ball is coming.

Use your peripheral vision to see your teammate while looking away.

10. Use ball fakes - In addition to looking away, ball fakes help you deceive the defense. By pretending to throw the ball in one direction, it causes the defender to jump that way and opens up a passing lane in another direction.

11. Aim for your teammate's target hand

basketball pass

Your receiver should be holding one or two hands up to show you where she wants to receive the pass.

Do your best to get it there.

12. Always pass away from the defensive man - If the receiver is being guarded on one side, make sure to throw your pass to the other side out of the reach of the defender.

13. Save your dribble - Beginners have a bad habit of putting the ball on the floor as soon as they touch it and then panic when they can't get rid of it. Dribbling should be your last resort.

14. Use your pivot foot when facing defensive pressure - Pivot away from pressure while protecting the ball close to your body. Pivoting not only relieves pressure, it allows you to see other areas of the floor and find open teammates.

15. Don't panic - The ball is not a hot potato, so don't feel like you have to get rid of it as soon as you touch it. Relax and take a few seconds to see your options. You have 5 seconds to do something with the ball, and that is plenty of time.

16. Know your teammates' strengths and weaknesses -Don't lead a teammate into trouble by passing him the ball when he's not in a position to do anything with it. 

17. Pass and move - Never pass and stand still because that will shut your offense down. Motion is what creates open opportunities. By moving to a new place, you are putting yourself in a position to get the pass back.

18. Make passes sharp and accurate - There is no place in basketball for slow, soft passes. They will be intercepted most of the time.

19. Judge the force of your pass - Recognize how far away you are from your receiver. Throwing a baseball pass or chest pass down court will require a lot more force than passing to a player 10 feet away. Be able to throw a sharp pass to a close player without knocking her head off.

20. Attack and be aggressive - Take it to the defense. If your defender is sagging off of you and you are out of shooting range, put the ball on the floor and take it to him. If he stops you, it could open up passing lanes.


One final comment:

If it’s a bad basketball pass, most of the time it's the passer's fault. The passer is the one who can best see if a teammate is open, and it's her responsibility to deliver the ball where it needs to go.

Basketball Passing Drills

12 Tips for Catching a Pass

6 Types of Passes


Home > Basketball Passing Drills > Fundamentals of a Good Pass