Television focuses on watching the pros doing their one-on-one moves and slam dunks. Kids see this too. Team skills and delivering the perfectly timed and accurate pass aren’t as flashy. Basketball is a team game and, although the one scoring the points usually gets the limelight, the person assisting him/them is just as important!
In fact, a lot of the best players in basketball history were people who could pass the ball well, like Magic Johnson (10,141 assists during his career) or Steve Nash (10,335 assists until his retirement!). Like dribbling and shooting, passing the ball is a fundamental part of basketball that you must master in order to become better.
Yet, passing remains one of the most under-taught, under-emphasized, and under drilled skill in the game. The key to passing is finding the open player and choosing the appropriate type of pass.
The two most common passes in basketball are the chest and the bounce pass.
- Chest pass → The pass travels between players without hitting the floor.
- Bounce pass → The pass is thrown to the floor so that it bounces to the intended receiver.
During a match, these type of passes are often modified, with basic or advanced variations.
- Overhead pass → This is the most powerful pass. Bring the ball directly above your forehead with both hands on the side of the ball and follow through. This is often used for long passes, which need more strength.
- Wrap around pass → Step around the defense with your non-pivot foot. Pass the ball just with one hand. It can be used as an air or a bounce pass. You will often see the wrap-around, when the ball is passed to the post, or when there is a spectacular bounce assist.
- Baseball pass → It is a one-handed pass that uses the same motion as a baseball throw. This is almost always used to make long passes, to start a transition.
- Dribble pass → It is used to quickly pass the ball with one hand off of the dribble. This can be an air or bounce pass. Almost all the playmakers/guards usually do it.
- Behind-the-back pass → The most spectacular! It is used to avoid the defender when he is defending more the left or the right side; so, making a pass across the front of you would be risky.
I would recommend to use this pass after you have heavily practiced.
- Between-the-legs pass → This is more or less like the behind-the-back one. Well, there is not a precise time for this one. I recommend, again, to heavily practice before using, if you don’t want to sit on the bench near to your coach!