Basketball Passing Techniques

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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When it comes to mastering basketball passing techniques, there isn't much to learn, but there's plenty to practice. There are three basic basketball passing techniques used throughout the game: the chest pass, the bounce pass, and the baseball pass. Over the years, as players have elevated the game to an art form, permutations on these three styles have evolved. Talk to any old-school coach, however, and you'll learn that only three essential passes exist.

The first and most common of these, the chest pass, is the most efficient way of getting the ball into a teammate's hands. The ball-handler starts the pass at chest-level (hence, the name) and extends his arms outward, pushing his thumbs toward his teammate. Ideally, the ball will land at a similar height on that teammate's body. If the recipient is stationary, this sets up a triple-threat position, the most dangerous in all of basketball, for it gives players the option of shooting, passing to yet another teammate, or dribbling.

Two More Basketball Passing Techniques

Technique two is the bounce pass, which may also start at the chest level. Some players, however, feel more comfortable beginning this pass lower down, closer to their waists. The ball is then skipped on the floor and bounced up into the awaiting hands of your teammate, who is usually on the move. One of the finer points of this particular technique is "leading," or passing slightly ahead of your teammate so that he and the ball arrive at the same location at the same time.

Last among these three basketball passing techniques is the baseball pass, reserved for one or two situations such as inbounding plays and fast breaks. Here, the inbounding player raises the ball above his shoulder or head and hurls it down court to a breaking teammate. The baseball pass is also the go-to in desperate last-second situations in which only one or two ticks remain on the clock and there's no time to dribble the ball up court.

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