Basketball passing is the most enjoyable part of playing basketball. Court awareness is essential in becoming an effective basketball passer. You must see the whole court and know where your teammates are at all times. Your mind has to register where everyone is, where they are heading on the court and who they are. Great basketball passers know who their teammates are. They know who has good hands and who has bad ones.
There are players that can catch just about any pass you throw at them, while others can only catch a perfect pass. If you throw a shoulder-high pass to a teammate who can only catch a chest-high pass, and he drops the ball, it’s your fault. Knowing this, it’s important not to put players in awkward positions.
You don’t want to throw a fast-break pass out to the wing to someone who can’t dribble. When he or she catches the ball, more often than not they will lose it when they try to dribble. That, too, is your fault, for putting them in that position. By communicating with your teammates as well as watching them, you learn who likes the ball where. Then the passer becomes another pair of eyes for the receiver.
The passer can see the defense behind the receiver. Is the defense playing the receiver to the right or left, or directly behind? Maybe it’s just too crowded to throw the pass. By seeing these things and communicating, the receiver will know that if the pass is thrown to the left hand, that is the direction to go to get away from the defense.
With these ideas in the back of your mind, there are a few guidelines on how to pass a basketball that could save you a lot of frustration and turnovers.
It’s important not to leave your feet to pass a basketball. If you leave your feet with the idea of making a pass and someone gets in the way of the receiver, you’re stuck in the air with nowhere to go. On the other hand, if you go up to shoot the ball and see someone who is wide open, then throw the pass. In most cases, leave your feet only if you’re going to shoot the ball.
Pass the basketball with two hands. For the same reason as above, if the receiver is suddenly covered, you won’t be able to stop the pass. Sometimes, as in the baseball pass or off the dribble pass, you have to throw it with one hand. But try to keep both hands on the ball.
A pass should improve the shot or situation. If you have a three-foot shot and are capable of making it, it doesn’t do you much good to pass it to someone for a two-foot shot and risk the possibility of a turnover. Take the shot. If you make your shots, it will open up the passing lanes for you.
Never telegraph your passes. Don’t let everyone know where the pass is going. Fake with the ball, look away or do something to throw off the defense. But don’t always look one way and throw the other. The defense will catch on, react the way opposite to where you look and steal the pass.
Learn all the passes. Like being a good shooter, you have to practice different basketball passes to be good at them. Even the behind-the-back pass should be practiced. You never know when you will need it. If it’s the best possible pass, and the only way to get your teammate the ball, you should know how to do it. Remember this: if you try it and it doesn’t work, most coaches will be more than happy to let you sit next to them on the bench to think about it for awhile. So only throw a behind-the-back pass if it is necessary (not because it looks good) and you’re able to do it.
Every pass you throw is your responsibility. You put your teammates in certain situations, good and bad. Try to avoid the bad, but admit your mistakes. Ever have someone throw you a nice pass for an easy layup and you fumble the pass and drop the ball? After that, the last thing you need is for the passer to get on your back telling you that you messed up. You already feel terrible. You know you blew it, and so does everyone watching.
Now, after a play like that, would it be that hard for the passer to say “my fault”? Everyone knows it’s not, but by the passer saying “my fault,” the person who fumbled the pass might feel a little less pressure. He or she may relax and catch the next one. But if you jump all over your teammates, they might not catch another one. That’s what passing is all about, helping each other out.
One final thought: if someone in the park is picking a team, and he or she knows you shoot the ball every time you touch it, do you think you’ll get picked? But if your teammates know that when you have the ball, they will get some good passes, they will want the ball in your hands. As a result, you will end up getting all the shots you want anyway.