Top 5 Basketball Passing Drills
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about basketball passing drills.
Basketball is a perfect mix of individualism and teamwork.
More than in any other team sport, one player can have a huge impact on the game, but he can’t accomplish anything without a team.
There is one thing that connects a player with his teammates on the floor, and that one thing is passing.
Passing is a cornerstone of any team’s offense. Teams that nurture and practice passing have the ability to move the ball quick and precise, giving them a huge advantage over the defense.
Why is good passing so impactful and important?
The reason is simple – the ball travels faster than a player runs. When you make a pass from point A to point B, the ball gets there A LOT faster than it would by dribbling.
And more importantly, this also applies to defense; when you make a pass, the defense is moving, and thus is more vulnerable and exposed to mistakes.
Passing affects the team’s chemistry also. If a team moves the ball in a way that every player gets in touch with the ball during the offense, every player becomes more involved in the game and becomes more important to a team.
That way, the players are happy to play for that team. Passing is also a type of sharing, something very important for good team chemistry.
But not every pass is a good pass – it has to be accurate, and it has to be fast. You wouldn’t believe how big a difference there is between a good pass and a bad pass. That’s why every team, whether it’s some high-school team or an NBA champion, practices passing. Constantly.
For all these reasons, You, as a player, have to possess good passing ability. In this article, we want to help you to develop this important aspect of your game. For you, we prepared passing basketball drills, with a desire to help you improve and learn about the importance of good passing.
Introduction to passing drills – what matters?
As always, before heading to drills, we want to point out some important things you should know about passing. As we said, not every pass is a good pass, and our goal is to help you to make every pass a good pass.
To do that, you should be aware of some general rules for good passing. So first we’ll present you some points of emphasis that should be considered and performed consistently throughout your training and your game.
No matter which type of pass you’re performing, these are things you should have in mind when making any of them:
Basketball Passing Drills
Now that you’re aware of the importance of passing and have in mind things you have to pay attention to while performing any pass at any time, you’re ready for our passing drills!
By definition, a pass in something that includes at least two players, so we advise you to bring one of your friends or teammates to help when practicing passing drills.
While you could practice passing alone (with the wall as your target), we recommend you have someone as a partner, as eye contact and movement of your receiver is a major factor in passing accuracy.
And here we are – ready for passing drills.
For a start, we’ll break down every pass type and show you an example of them through a drill. Then we’ll move to one level up and introduce you to drills that include multiple passing options and get in more real-game like situations.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Types of passes
We can divide passing types into several categories. In this article, we’ll present you one division which includes all the main sorts.
First of all, all passes, no matter which type, can be performed in two ways – like air passes and like bounce passes.
Heading into the detailed division, we’ll show you every passing type through one simple drill.
Here’s how it goes .
Drill – middle man passing
Instructions: Have two partners help you. Place one of them in from of you, and the other one behind you. The ball is in your hands and the drill starts when you make a pass to the first partner. When he gets the ball back to you, pivot with the ball towards the other partner and make a pass to him. Repeat the process for a set amount of passes. Here’s how the drill works.
And here are types of passes you can practice while performing this drill:
This pass comes from the triple-threat It’s the most basic pass in the game and the one you should practice first.
Depending what side of the court you are on at the moment, simply step forward with the same leg as your strong arm is. The ball should come out of your hands simultaneously as your forward foot touches the ground.
Make all variations of a chest pass – with left and right hand, and like a bounce pass and air pass.
Second most common pass type during the game. Use the same basic drill to practice it.
Put the ball on the floor and make a few bounces. When you’re ready for the pass, simply catch the ball on its way up, and extend your arm and leg towards the passing target.
The pass has to be quick and accurate. Again, vary the hand and shift between air/bounce pass.
Whether you’re trying to get the ball over your defender to the post player or inbounding the ball in the game, the overhead pass is the safest way to place the ball where you want.
Hold the ball with both hands above your head and make a pass. When practicing this passing type, it would be desirable to have a defender on you. He should be active on trying to mirror your ball movement and be aggressive in trying to steal the ball from you.
This way you’ll get the real-game situation, as overhead passes are usually made when you’re facing heavy pressure from the defender. So be careful, protect the ball, and pass with confidence. As an example, look at how Ricky Rubio does this.
Similar to overhead pass, wraparound is also performed while facing heavy pressure from your defender. Usually, the difference between when you’ll use one of this two is the size of your defender.
Overhead passes are usually made when you’re defender is either smaller or at your height level. If your defender is a tall dude, there is a danger of him intercepting an overhead pass, and that’s when you go for wraparound.
Because this pass is released at low height point, it’s more difficult for taller defenders to steal it. You can do it two ways, depending on the situation.
The difference between the two ways is which leg you’re using to wrap over your defender. There are pros and cons to both scenarios.
If you extend a leg that’s closer to the defender, you get more protection for the ball, as the leg stands between your defender and you.
On the other hand, by doing that you lose some space and passing angles you’d get with stepping with further leg, and vice versa. So if you’re not feeling confident enough, try with the first scenario. It looks like this.
But if you want more angles and if you feel confident enough, you can try stepping with your further foot and perform some magic like Mr. Chris Paul did it here.
Behind the back pass
This one comes as a bonus. It’s not a conventional passing type, but if it’s performed in perfect timing and with perfect accuracy and speed, it becomes a real treat for every basketball fan.
Just take a look at this video and see how beautiful this pass can be when performed the right way.
The name speaks for itself. This pass is usually intended for long distance, when you’re teammate is alone on the fast break. It is desirable to perform it with your strong arm, as you need power and pinpoint accuracy to make an effective pass.
Touch Down Pass Drill – for a baseball pass you’ll need a special drill, so here’s what you should do.
Instructions: You’re with the ball in the paint. Your partner is on the perimeter. The drill starts when you throw the ball on the glass and grab a rebound. As soon as you throw the ball, your partner starts running towards the opposite basket. When you catch the ball, turn around and make baseball pass to your partner to finish at the rim.
Top 5 Passing Drills
Now that we covered all major passing types, and you spent enough time perfecting them, we’ll introduce to you a couple of useful drills that combine all passing types in real-game situations.
We picked a top 5 drills for this occasion, and without further ado, here they are.
1. Weave Passing Drill
We start the most basic passing drill. It’s performed full-court, and requires speed and synchronized movement from all players.
Instructions: Three players are placed on the baseline, one in the middle and other two on the sides. The player in the middle holds the ball and initiates the drill by making a pass on either side.
As the pass is made, a receiver of the pass simultaneously comes in the middle, while the initial passer runs behind his back on the side – players basically switch places. Now the player in the middle is passing the ball on the other side, while the receiver approaches the middle and passers takes his place sprinting behind him.
This is repeated throughout the court until players reach the opposite basket when the final receiver lays the ball in. The drill is just about passing and running, and players are not allowed to put the ball on the floor, but you are free to combine air and bounce passes along the way. Take a look at the drill in our animation.
2. Spurs passing series
It’s no coincidence that this drill has the “Spurs” name attached to it. For a while now, San Antonio Spurs have been the staple of ball and player movement. Their 2014 NBA title was a masterclass in passing.
But don’t think that came by accident. And don’t think that the fundamentals of passing and basketball are not the essence of that success. This a simple drill – but the way you perform it will determine how effective it will be.
Instructions: For this drill, you’ll need at least two of your partners alongside you. It’s better if you have three defenders also, but it’s no problem if you don’t. Place yourself and your teammates on the perimeter.
The drill is simple. With the ball in your hand, you make two dribbles towards the basket, and then make an outlet pass to one of the teammates on the perimeter. When you pass the ball, you sprint back on the perimeter, filling the empty space.
Receiver of the pass does the same thing and the ball keeps moving towards the basket and back on the perimeter. Make at least 5 passes each before finishing the drill, either by shooting the ball on a catch or driving to the basket.
Tips: Try to use all of the passing types for this drill, but keep in mind that accuracy and speed are the most important.
Here’s how it should look like.
3. Keeping off (stationary)
There’s no way that you haven’t played this game as a kid. It’s fun and simple – you have people in the circle trying to steal the ball and people around the circle that pass the ball to each other.
But this child’s game is an excellent passing drill! It combines passing with defensive pressure, and you have to react quickly and make the right passing decisions.
Instructions: Number of passers and defenders can vary – for a start, you can try with 1 or 2 more passers than defenders, and finish with an equal number of passers and defenders. The goal is clear – defense tries to steal the ball and offense is passing the ball around.
This is a perfect drill to practice every possible type of pass while facing some defensive pressure. Ideal for preparing for the game.
Tips: The drill can be performed stationary, with passers not allowed to move, and in motion. For better passing exercise, we recommend you stationary drill, where you can’t rely on your dribble but solely on your passing ability.
It looks like this.
4. Full-court 3 on 2 drill
This drill is a very useful for training your passing. As part of 3 on 2 fast breaks, passing is the most powerful tool you have to score.
Instructions: The drill is performed full-court. On each basket, there are two players, and playmakers are in the middle. The drill starts when one of the players makes an outlet pass to the playmaker, after which they start 3 on 2 fast breaks.
The offense has one player more than defense, so passing is the best way to exploit this advantage, so this drill is perfect for you to apply various passing types in order to score the basket. After the end of a possession (score or defensive rebound), two defenders make an outlet pass to a playmaker in the middle and develop a break on the other end.
Additional: You can practice 3 on 2, 4 on 3, or 5 on 4. The more players you add, the more passing becomes important, so it’s up to you to choose the number of players involved.
5. Pick&Roll passing drill
For the end we saved a special type of pass that is used a lot in the game today. In fact, modern basketball is based around pick&roll play and you as a player have to able to make a reliable pass out of pick&roll if you want to survive in the basketball
Pick&roll pass varied in its type depending on a situation. This video shows you a huge amount of different passes out of pick&roll. And for you to practice it, we prepared a simple drill for passing to perimeter and post player after pick&roll.
Instructions: You, as the passer are at the top with the ball. One player is on the free throw line ready for the set you a pick, another is on one of the wings, and the third is in on the opposite low post.
The drill starts when your big guy comes to set you a pick. You enter the pick, and as soon as you’re coming out, you make a pass to a player on that side of the floor – on the wing or in the post.
After you make a pass, you cut in the paint and sprint back on the top to receive the ball again. A new pick is then set, this time directed to the other side, and you make a pass to the third player this time.
Additional: You can repeat the process for a set amount of times before the drill finishes. Also, you can perform the drill with and without defensive players. Try first with offense only, and then bring in defenders for more in-game training experience.
Watch how it looks.
So there you have it, our latest passing basketball drills. We hope they will help you, but you have to perform them with concentration, minding the general guidelines we provided you with. Passing has become extremely valuable in today’s game, and if you want to be good at basketball, you need to pass the ball good enough.
Practice hard and enjoy the game, and as always, leave your comments and questions in the section below.
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