Skill Category: passing

What to Teach


Fun Activities to Teach

Chest Pass
(two hands)

This is a 2 handed pass. Hold the ball on the sides, with thumbs behind the ball, pointing at each other. Step forward and push your arms forward. Your thumbs should point to the ground after the ball is released and fingers should point to the target. The ball is released as the stepping foot hits the ground. Players should be able to do this stepping with either foot.

“Pass Tag”

Push Pass
(one hand)

The passing hand is behind the ball with the elbow tucked in. The other hand is on the side of the ball (this is the same grip as for shooting).

Step forward and push the ball. Your other hand also extends to help protect the ball. Pass with the right hand when passing to the right hand side, and with the left hand when passing to the left hand side.

“Moving Pairs Passing”

Bounce Pass

A bounce pass is simply one that hits the ground on the way to the receiver.
It should bounce up to waist level.

“Partisan Lay-up Drill”

Head Pass

This is a two handed pass, often used after rebounding or from a post position. The ball is held on the sides above the passer’s forehead (they should be able to see it though). Step forward and throw both arms forward. The most common mistake with this pass is stretching the arms behind the passer’s head.

“Circle Keep Away”

Passing Lane

The passing lane is simply the path between two team mates, one that has the ball and one that doesn’t.

“Passing Lane – Driving Lane”

Pass Fakes

Often, to be able to make a pass the player needs to get the defender to move (out of passing lane) or to move their hands (defender’s hands high – pass low). This can be achieved through pass fakes.

Triangle Passing

Key Teaching Points for Passing

• Step forward as you pass, which helps to give the pass strength

• Pivot and move the ball to avoid defensive pressure. Keep knees bent when pivoting.

• Practice passing both standing still and on the move

Tips for Success

• “Fake a pass to make a pass”

• When passing to a post player – pass away from the defender’s head

• Practice passing with either hand

Activities to Teach Passing - Pass Tag

Nominate 3 to 5 “taggers”. “Taggers” must pass the ball to each other and try to tag other players with the ball. “Taggers” cannot travel when they have the ball, but they should pivot in an attempt to tag opponents.

To tag a player, the ball must remain in the hands of the tagger – they are not throwing the ball at their opponent. When tagged, players leave the playing area and jog continuously around the outside of the court until everyone has been tagged.

Triangle Pass 2 Ball Drill

  • Players are in pairs, offence has a ball. There are two coaches, and one has a ball.
  • Offence passes to coach, and then leads to receive a pass from the other coach, using change of direction. After catching the ball, the players should face the basket. They may need to pivot to pass back to the coach.
  • After receiving the pass, they return it to the coach, and lead to receive from the other coach.
  • Defence initially have a good position, but do not try to intercept. Progress to making activity contested 1v1.

Circle Keep Away

Players 1-5 form a circle and must pass the ball to each other but cannot pass to the person either side of them. Two defenders (6 and 7) stand inside the circle.

If a defending player touches the ball they becomes a passing player and whoever made the pass become a defending player.

You can designate the type of pass to be used (e.g. Overhead Pass) or leave it up to the passer.

Partisan Lay-up Drill

This is a full court lay-up activity, which will require some explanation. However, once players are proficient at it, it combines accurate passing, sprinting to position and shooting lay-ups!

4 rebounds and outlet passes to 1. 4 then sprints the floor receiving a pass for a lay-up at the other end.

1 passes to 2 and moves to foul-line extended at the other end. 2 passes to 3 and moves across court. 3 passes to 4 for lay-up and moves to foul-line extended at the other end.

Partisan Lay-up Drill CONT...

4 rebounds own shot and outlet passes to 1. Again, 4 sprints the floor and receives a bounce pass for lay-up.

1 passes to 2 and moves to passing line at half way. 2 passes to 3 and moves to 3rd passing line. 3 passes to 4 for lay-up, and then rebounds shot (before it hits the floor). 3 then starts the drill again.

After shooting, 4 moves to the first outlet position. Optimally, you would have a 5th player already at the position.

Two teams can race each other to reach a certain score, or score the most points in a certain time.

The groups can do the activity on the same court, however this is easiest if they are in different coloured uniforms.

In a competitive activity, players can select which shot to shoot (lay-up, 2pts or 3pts), although they only get one shot.

Passing Lane – Driving Lane

This is a simple 2v1 activity. The player that starts with the ball attacks the basket.

If the defender commits to guarding them (i.e. steps into the driving lane), the dribbler passes to their team mate.

The dribbler must read when to pass and which hand to pass with. If the defender never commits then the dribbler shoots a lay-up. Often to make a pass, the player will need to change hands. For example, as shown, 1 would dribble with the left hand, but pass to 2 with their right hand.

Triangle Passing

Two players stand at the elbow and a defender stands slightly in front of them.

Passer tries to pass to either receiver and the receivers cannot move.

The passer should use pass fakes (and bounce passes!).

The defender should have active hands and hedge to try to deflect the pass.

Chest Pass
Bounce Pass
Overhead Pass
Push Pass
Pass Fakes
Push Pass off Dribble
Dribble Chicken
Partizan Layup
Driving Lane Passing Lane