Types of Passes

Chest Pass:  This is the most common, and probably the most efficient pass used in basketball.  It can be used in most situations and from anywhere on the court.  Place each hand on either side of the ball and spread the fingers evenly. Fully extend your passing arm as you push the ball out from your chest (or slightly to either side depending on which hand you are passing with).   As your passing arm reaches extension make sure your wrist snaps (similar to how it snaps on a jump shot).  This will give the ball rotation, making it easier to handle for the receiver.  If the situations allow, try to step towards your target when you make this pass.  Be sure the pass is thrown crisply so the ball travels straight and hard.  Ideally, you would want the pass to arrive to its recipient at chest height, being a little off is ok, as long as the pass is catchable.

Variation – the Quick Pass:  This pass is used when a very quick pass is needed so the defense has little or no time to react.  This is done by holding the ball at your chest, and firing a quick crisp pass using only a quick flick of the wrists/hands.  This is good for out-of-bounds plays or occasionally, a post feed.

Variation – the Lob Pass: This is a chest pass that is thrown softer and with more arc than a traditional chest pass.  The lob is meant to go over a defenders head.  This is often used for post feeds, off of pick and rolls, and for alley-oops.

Bounce Pass: Often used for post entry, back-door cuts, and fast breaks, the bounce pass is a situational pass.  The bounce pass is slower than a chest pass, which gives defenders more time to make a play on it, so be sure to keep this in mind when making passes within your offense, on out of bounds plays or other situations requiring a crisp pass.  Use the same grip and passing motion with this pass as you did with the chest pass. The ball should hit the floor about two-thirds of the way to the receiver.   If the situation allows, you should step toward your teammate as you throw the pass.  Ideally, you want to hit your teammate between the knees and waist.

Two-handed Overhead Pass:  The use of this should be limited to out of bounds plays, and passes to the point guard to start fast breaks.  The reason for this is…it puts the player in a weak position where they are not a threat to do anything but pass.  Position your hands on the sides of the ball with your fingers spread, and your thumbs on the back of the ball.  Bring the ball up above your head.  When passing, step toward your intended target, and release the ball with a quick snap of your wrists.

Behind the Back Pass: Despite what some people say, the behind the back pass is a fundamental pass that should definitely be used in some situations.  Throwing a behind the back pass is similar to throwing an underhand pass.  You put the ball behind your back just like you were doing around the waist ball handling drills, except once you get to the other side; you flick your wrist in the direction the ball should travel. This pass is deceptive and is a great way to build your passing skills. It is however important to learn when it is a good time to throw it, and when it is unnecessary. 

Baseball pass: This should be used only in very rare situations such as a length of the court pass in an attempt at a buzzer beating shot.  The ball is held with both hands on the ball, and moved up near the ear of your throwing shoulder.  At this point, throwing this pass is just like throwing a screw ball in baseball.  The hand must be BEHIND the ball so the pass doesn’t have too much side spin, and your wrist should follow through should be straight or even slightly counter clockwise to avoid excessive spin.