• How to Pass a Basketball: 3 Key Basketball Passes Plus Passing Drills, Tips, Advice, and More

    how to pass a basketball plus basketball passing drills tips advice

    One look at the title of this post—How to Pass a Basketballand you’re probably thinking c’mon this stuff is easy. All you have to do is throw the ball to someone on your team, teammate catches it—passing, done.

    Well, here’s some NBA stats that may surprise you:

    • John Stockton: 15,806 AST
    • Jason Kidd: 12,091 AST
    • Steve Nash: 10,335 AST
    • Mark Jackson: 10,334 AST
    • Magic Johnson: 10,141 AST

    These are the leading NBA players in assists (AST).

    If you’d like to look at ESPN’s entire list, go here.

    In case you don’t know, an assist in basketball is a pass that leads to a shot and field goal. 

    To learn more about assists, check this out.

    Look back at the stats.

    Notice how all of the (former) NBA players leading in assists are either in the Basketball Hall of Fame (John Stockton and Magic Johnson), on their way to induction (Mark Jackson), or have a high probability of being inducted  (Jason Kidd and Steve Nash). 

    The point is: passing matters.

    That said, here’s 5 key passes plus passing drills, tips, advice, and more.

    1. Your basic basketball pass: The Chest Pass

    Ok, back to basics.

    The most fundamental of basketball passes, how to make a chest pass:

    Hold the basketball at chest level

    As you step towards the teammate your passing to, extend your arms and release the ball, snapping your wrists. 

    Make sure you apply enough force through your arms so the pass travels in a straight line, ending chest-level in your teammate's hands.

    To finish the pass, follow through with your palms facing outwards.

    Important Tip #1: Remember to spiral the ball when you pass it. This goes for all passes. This makes it faster for your teammate to adjust the ball into a shooting position, allowing more time to focus on his/her shot. Because of your spiral, you’re more likely to get an assist.

    Howcast has a great video on how to make a chest pass: 


    When to make this pass: This pass is best when you’re not surrounded by defenders. If you happen to be surrounded by defenders, a one-hand chest pass is a better approach.

     For more info about that, check out Stack’s post, How to Throw a Chest Pass Properly.

     For some chest pass drills, look here.

    2. Keep it simple with a bounce pass

     The bounce pass is another key pass in building your passing foundation.

     So, how do you make a bounce pass?

     With two hands around the basketball, aim for two-thirds of the distance between you and your teammate receiving the pass.

     To gain momentum step forward. Remember your toes and nose should be pointing towards your passing target—your teammate.

     Keep your elbows in for passing accuracy, extend your arms and, as with the chest pass, flick your wrists, releasing the ball.

     If done correctly, the ball should bounce at the two-thirds mark and arrive in your teammate’s hands at belly button level.

     For some more insightful info, check this out.

     Important Tip #2: This pass is perhaps one of the most underestimated passes. Cast aside as too simple, players may not practice it. Because of this, they risk interception when making a bounce pass during game time. Practice your bounce pass.This pass is perhaps one of the most underestimated passes. Cast aside as too simple, players may not practice it. Because of this, they risk interception when making a bounce pass during game time. Practice your bounce pass.


    Check out how Harlem Wizard players, Eric Jones and Dwayne Simpson make a bounce pass: 


     When to make this pass: Make a bounce pass when defenders are on you and you need to hand the ball off asap. This is also a great pass to use when your close to the net.

     Do these drills to enhance your bounce pass.

    3. Perfect the no look pass

     After building your passing foundation, you can add more advanced passing techniques to your repertoire.

     One of these is the no look pass, perfected by NBA legend, Magic Johnson. 

     How do you do a no look pass?

     Use your body language to confuse defenders.

     What we mean is look at the defenders, not at your teammate you want to pass to. Lean to one side. Tilt your head. Hesitate. Fake shoot it. What you want to do is convince the defender you’re about to pass to someone you’re actually not going to. 

     This is not a beginning level pass, but, with muscle memory and a lot of practice with your bounce and chest passes, you can achieve this.

     Dwayne Johnson and Eric Jones share their insight about the no look pass: 


     Important Tip #3: The no look pass is your reward for all of your passing practice. The more you practice core passing, such as the bounce pass and chest pass, the better your no look pass will be.

    If you have some questions, want to express an opinion, or share some insight about basketball, leave a comment or connect with Guarantee3.

    Related Posts:

    How to Dribble a Basketball: Get Mad Handles 

    The Ultimate Guide on How to Become a Clutch Free Throw Shooter 

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