One of the skills important for a player to learn before playing the actual game of basketball is passing the basketball. Passing is the act of the handing over the basketball to the player’s teammate. Communication between the team members is crucial in passing. You have to acknowledge the pass first, either verbally or nonverbally, before handing over the basketball to a player. Passing can be used as an escape route if the player is heavily guarded by the defenders in order to keep the ball in the team’s possession and later on shooting the basketball to the team’s basket. In basketball, passing skills are acknowledged by statistics, which are called an assists. Passing the basketball may be done in several ways.
The Chest Pass
This pass is thrown in a straight line with high velocity used on the court’s perimeter. When the recipient is moving, this pass is made ensuring that the player doesn’t over reach to catch the basketball. When the recipient is stationary, this pass is made ensuring that the player who will accept the basketball doesn’t have to move. This pass is received in a triple threat position wherein the feet are shoulder width apart, elbows and knees bent, the shooting hand at the top and the other hand on the side of the basketball. In passing the basketball, it must be held at the level of the sternum, then by pushing the back foot and taking a step with the front foot while extending the arms to make the pass.
The Bounce pass.
The accuracy of this pass is dictated by its trajectory and speed. The change of directions of this pass makes it difficult for the defender to judge where the basketball will go, therefore making it hard to steal. This pass is easier to handle than an overhead pass where the recipient is moving. This pass should be caught by the recipient with a stride when he is moving and shouldn’t force the recipient to move when stationary. This pass is also received in a triple threat position wherein the feet are shoulder width apart, elbows and knees bent, the shooting hand at the top and the other hand on the side of the basketball. When making the pass, the ball is held at waist level, altering the position from hip to hip depending on the location of the recipient. The spot where the basketball should go will be aimed three-quarters of the way between the recipient and the passer. Passing is done by pushing the back of the foot, taking a step with the front foot, while extending the arms downward to make the pass.
The Overhead Pass
This is a powerful pass but an easy pass to steal. This is done so that the basketball goes over the top of the defender and is received by the other member of the team at the back of the defender. This pass is also received in a triple threat position wherein the feet are shoulder width apart, elbows and knees bent, the shooting hand at the top and the other hand on the side of the basketball. The hands of the player are placed on both sides of the basketball. Using the player’s forearms, the ball is put behind the head, the back of the foot is then pushed off, the front foot takes a step, then the elbows are brought down and the arms are then extended to make the pass.
The Behind the Back Pass
This pass is done behind the back without looking where the ball is going to fool the defender. This is most effective when the player is in motion because the player can easily move in the opposite direction of where the ball will go. This pass needs a lot of patience and practice because it takes time to figure out the right moves to make this pass successful. If expertise in this pass isn’t mastered, it shouldn’t be done during a game. This is done by holding the basketball with both hands. The dominant hand’s shoulder is moved towards the back and the ball is cupped by the dominant hand with the wrist and fingers pointing in the direction of the shoulder’s movement. The ball is then carried behind the player’s back with the arms wrapped around behind the back and the basketball is then released.
Trust and timing is crucial for this pass to be successful. Practice should be done by the player to figure out the motion of this pass. A short, arching toss is the kind of action that is the easiest to receive by the other members of the team. The recipient should have the vertical leap to dunk or the basket should allow the adjustment of the rim’s height. The player should decide to do the alley-oop before making it to the three point arch. The player should establish eye contact with the other member of the team, who will do the hops. A short arching tossing motion is then delivered toward the basket with a shot like motion when the recipient is two or three steps away doing the jump. The spot should be aimed barely above the rim in the side where the recipient is coming from. The other member then receives the pass and makes a dunk, and shoots the basketball in the team’s basket.
Assisting the team to score through correct passing is just as essential as taking the shot. Good passing skills and communication among the team members is crucial to make the team’s game play a success. Practice makes perfect and good communication among team members will go along way in basketball when passing or assisting is concerned.