Basketball Passing

Basketball Pass

Passing in basketball is a way for players to move the ball on the court between teammates. Passing is a two-step process that requires a minimum of two players on the same team to be effective. The passer must be accurate and must put the correct amount of velocity on the pass in order to reach their teammate in a timely fashion and in the right location.

In order to pass the ball, a player must throw or move the ball to a teammate and the teammate must catch the ball. Passing is the fastest way to move the ball on the court large distances since teammates can catch passes from anywhere,except if they are in the backcourt and their teammate passes to them from the frontcourt; this is a backcourt violation and a loss of possession.

Basketball Passing Rules

Basketball Passing

There are rules in basketball that describe how a player can pass the ball. Here is a list of passing rules in basketball:

  • Players can pass from anywhere on the court as long as they stay inbounds.
  • You can use one or two hands to pass the ball
  • You can pass the ball using an overhand or underhand motion
  • There is no limit on how hard a player can throw the ball
  • You cannot pass the ball to yourself
  • Players can not pass from the frontcourt to the backcourt
  • Players cannot take more than two steps without dribbling in order to complete a pass

Basketball Overhead Pass

Passing can be done with an overhead motion or underhand motion. Throwing overhead will help a player throw the ball with more force and accuracy at longer distances. Throwing underhand is great for quick passes that are short distances or to create diversions in order to get players open. Basketball players often use overhead passes when inbounding the ball as it is the most effective way to not turn the ball over.

Why Pass In Basketball?

Here are some of the reasons why players should choose to pass the ball on the court:

  • To create openings for players to take shots
  • To maintain control of the ball
  • To use time on the game clock
  • To test the defense and see what they are running
  • To keep the ball away from the defense
  • To move the defense

Basketball Openings

An opening or gap is an area on the court that is not being guarded by the defense. Passing allows the offense to find openings on the court for easy shots to be taken. Players can also cut in order to get open for passes or to have lead passes that lead to immediate baskets.

Basketball Game Clock

Basketball Game Clock

The game clock keeps track of time in each quarter. Teams should choose to pass the ball if they want to let the game clock tick. This can be an effective method of controlling time late in the 4th quarter. This is a technique that is specifically used with the lead. When trailing it is important to make sure you manage the clock in order to give yourself enough time to get back in the game.

Basketball Coverage

Basketball positions

Passing helps the offense control the ball and find weaknesses in the defense early in the game. As a coach, if you're playing a new team, passing will help you discover what type of defense the other team is playing, like zone or man to man coverage. It can also help to understand which players they are most worried about defensively and whether they are double-teaming them or not. Good passing can take strong defenses off of their normal gameplan.


What are the pass types in basketball?

Passing in the game of basketball is one of the most basic skills of the game along with dribbling and shooting. The most basic types of passes include:

These can be broken up into even more basic groups that include:

  1. Bounce passes
  2. Chest passes
  3. Overhead passes

Any pass type that the ball bounces before reaching the intended player can be considered a bounce pass while any pass that does not touch the court before reaching the intended target can be considered a chest pass. Each pass type is used in a different scenario and this all has to do with what is happening on the defensive side of the ball as well as how the offense is set up too. A bounce pass might be best to use to pass the ball into the post area around the basket while this may not be the best type of pass to use to move the ball down most of the court at the same time.

What are the 3 types of passes in basketball?

The three main types of passes in the game of basketball are:

  1. Bounce passes
  2. Chest passes
  3. Overhead passes

These three passes makeup almost all of the passes that are used across all levels of basketball. There are only a very small number of situations in which none of these passes would work the best.

The bounce pass is when the ball hits the floor before it reaches its target. It is used universally across basketball and in many different types of situations. The key to using a bounce pass is how far away from the teammate receiving the pass the ball is bounced. If it is too far away the ball won't get to them and if it is too close the pass will be hard to handle.

The chest pass is when the ball does not hit the floor before it reaches its target. It is also used in many different types of situations on offense across all levels of basketball. The key to using a chest pass is hitting the teammate receiving the pass in the hands around their chest area. Throwing it too high or low will make the offense slow down and increases the chance of a turnover.

The overhead pass is used in more select situations when a pass needs to go a long distance like in the full court or when a skip pass across the offensive half needs to occur. The key to using an overhead pass is very similar to a chest pass as the pass must be easy to handle on the other end or it becomes almost useless.

What is a pass in basketball?

A pass in basketball is one of the most basic and fundamental skills needed to play the game. It is when a player moves the ball to another teammate through the air without being right next to each other. A pass advances the ball anywhere around the court anytime a player is not dribbling it around with them. Passing is heavily involved in the type of offense that a team will use and is key to having success scoring the basketball, the main goal of the game. The main key to success for example in the motion offense is players moving without the basketball and getting themselves open to easily catch passes and get better scoring opportunities.

How do you get a pass in basketball?

Equally as important to passing the basketball is the ability to receive a pass from a teammate. Without this, passing does not work and the offense of a team will be stuck. The key to getting a pass in basketball is the ability to get open and away from the defense enough to have room to catch the pass then continue the offensive possession. Any use of a cut, screen, or movement off the ball is essential to creating this space and getting a pass. Another key to catching a pass is moving toward the ball so the defender has less time to steal it in the air. Also, creating a good angle that leaves room to receive a pass is a big part of pass receiving too.