Top 10 Tips to Becoming a Better Passer

Pistol Pete PassingPassing the basketball is an often overlooked aspect of the game. Passing ability is key against man to man defense, but especially in attacking a zone defense and in controlling the ball by freezing at the end of the game.

There are different passes for every play in the game. Passing requires good hands and like shooting a lot of backspin that come from snapping the wrist and following through. Passing is the most overlooked part of the game, but it also is a big reason for turnovers and sloppy play. Knowing when to make the pass and what kind of pass is what separates the average passer to the good passer.

We are going to learn how to become better passers and what steps must be taken to achieve this. No player wants to be one dimensional. A well rounded player is what everyone should strive for and a player who is adept at passing along with other skills is much harder to guard. Passing in today’s game has not evolved much. Part of the problem is the reliance on too much dribbling and not enough movement and passing. When a player has great “court vision” it means they see the whole floor and have great timing on their passes. These tips will improve your passing and also help you learn what pass is best for certain situations.

Passing In Today’s Game Compared to the Past

The days of the traditional point guard are becoming a distant memory. More and more point guards are now relied upon to score much more. Scoring point guards are the new normal in both college and the n.b.a. Ask any player what they would least like to work on and either passing or defense will be at the top of the list. Why? It’s simple. Practicing your passing is boring to players. You hardly ever see a great pass on the top 10 SportsCenter highlights because it doesn’t create the same interest a great dunk or shot does.

Assists and turnovers are usually the measuring stick of a point guard especially in the past. While these are still very important categories for a point guard, scoring is now looked upon as the number one thing for point guard play. No one ever asks after a game how many assists did you have? The reason is everyone is obsessed with scoring, but a great passer is a valuable asset and a great passing point guard is very hard to find. I’ve watched and played games at every level and basketball has become an individual game. It was never meant for that. In the old days there was a bigger premium put on passing and ball movement. Let’s learn what tips can help you become a better passer and add to your repetoire of skills. Here are tips to improve your passing ability:

Ten Tips to Better Passing

  1. Make Sure Pass Hits Target in Right Spot – a pass must be thrown not only in right spot, but at the right time. Timing is the difference between an assist and a turnover. If a shooter catches a pass by his ankles it will throw him out of rythym and lessen the chance of getting an assist and a basket. You always want the pass to hit between waist and chest area depending on if it’s a chest or bounce pass and where teammate calls for the ball.
  2. Observe the Defense – court vision can be improved. You never want to attempt a pass when a player is double teamed or there are defenders camping out in the lane. You should always pass away from the defense.
  3. Make the Easy Pass – An easy pass is the sure pass. The riskier the pass the greater chance of turning the ball over. If in doubt keep it simple. Bad passing turnovers are an easy way of getting a seat on the bench.
  4. Do Not Leave Your Feet to Pass – One of the cardinal sins of passing. Jump passes are too risky. Even if you have a great vertical you will only have split second to make the decision of where to go with ball. More often than not a jump pass results in a turnover. Even n.b.a. players attempt this regularly and a lot of times it ends up being an errant pass.
  5. Player Catching Pass Must Use Hands as Target – Having your hands up not only shows you are ready for pass, it improves your chance of catching the pass in the right spot and not stopping your momentum which is key.
  6. Learn the Four Basic Passes – chest pass, bounce pass, overhead pass and the one handed baseball pass. The bounce pass is good for feeding the post. The chest pass when facing a press or on the perimeter and the fast break. The overhead pass is great off a rebound and throwing an outlet pass. The one handed baseball pass is good for long passes down court.
  7. Make the Pass Catchable – If your teammate is five feet from you there’s no need to put a lot of speed on it. Be aware of where your passing and if teammate is ready to catch the pass.
  8. On Most Passes Use Both Hands – This will give you more control and like shooting the ball will allow more backspin on the ball.
  9. Follow Through – There’s a reason you follow through on your shot. You don’t want to shoot the ball short. Same with your pass. Snapping wrists and following through will make sure pass is more accurate.
  10. Step Into Your Pass – This will give you proper speed and allow more control. Lead with your dominant foot.

Passing is an important skill and often overlooked. A good, smart, sharp passer can thread the needle to players cutting to the basket. Too become a sure passer you must practice the fundamentals. Good passing puts demand on the fingers, hands, and wrists. Make sure you hold the ball firmly, but not tightly with your fingers spread and relaxed, wrists loose, and elbows at your side. Always have your eyes on the target. A great passer has the vision, patience, and control of the pass. If you want to become a better passer follow these tips and always try to practice with defenders if possible. You want to simulate game type situations and passes whenever possible. Remember passing is not only an important skill it can also be contagious with your teammates. Once you master the basic passes you can start with more advanced passes like behind the back and others. The game needs better passers. Your teammates and coaches will always love a good passer.

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