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There are essentially two types of passes:

  • Air Pass - The pass travels between players without hitting the floor.
  • Bounce Passes - The pass is thrown to the floor so that it bounces to the intended receiver

Each type of pass comes with its own variations.

Basic Variations:

    - Chest Pass
    - Bounce Pass
    - Overhead Pass
    - Wrap Around Pass

Advanced Variations:

    - Baseball Pass
    - Dribble Pass
    - Behind-the-Back Pass
    - Pick and Roll Pass



When teaching passing, points of emphasis should be:
  • A good pass is a pass a teammate can catch
  • When passing, step toward your receiver.
  • When catching, step toward the pass
  • Like shooting, the ball should have a backspin to it. This is accomplished by following through on every pass.

Basic Passes


The chest pass is named so because the pass originates from the chest. It is thrown by gripping the ball on the sides with the thumbs directly behind the ball. When the pass is thrown, the fingers are rotated behind the ball and the thumbs are turned down. The resulting follow through has the back of the hands facing one another with the thumbs straight down. The ball should have a nice backspin.

When throwing a chest pass, the players should strive to throw it to the receiver's chest level. Passes that go low to high or high to low are difficult to catch.

  chest-pass1 (9K)

chest-pass2 (10K)


The bounce pass is thrown with the same motion however it is aimed at the floor. It should be thrown far enough out that the ball bounces waist high to the receiver. Some say try to throw it 3/4 of the way to the receiver, and that may be a good reference point to start, but each player has to experiment how far to throw it so it bounces to the receiver properly. Putting a proper and consistent backspin on the pass will make the distance easier to judge.


The overhead pass is often used as an outlet pass. Bring the ball directly above your forehead with both hands on the side of the ball and follow through. Aim for the teammate's chin. Some coaches advise not bring the ball behind your head, because it can get stolen and it takes a split-second longer to throw the pass.

Advanced Passes


A baseball pass is a one-handed pass that uses the same motion as a baseball throw. This is often used to make long passes.  Be careful with young kids. You don't want them throw their arms out. 


The dribble pass is used to quickly pass the ball with one hand off of the dribble. This can be an air or bounce pass. You'll see Steve Nash do this all of the time. 


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