the basics of how to pass a basketball

Do You Know How To Pass A Basketball Like A Professional? Complete Guide

All your favorite NBA stars are training for the new season in October. What about you? I will show you how to pass a basketball like a top athlete right now.

I have followed many basketball courses, and let me tell you: Your coaches will not teach you how to pass a basketball properly!

People often neglect the passing skill because it requires a lot more technical skills, mindset, and teamwork. However, one can never reach victory without learning various ways of passing. LeBron James believed that the pass is more than the dribble. If you want your team to win, you should thoroughly understand how to pass a basketball.

The Basics Of How To Pass A Basketball

the basics of how to pass a basketball


Passing the ball is the only skill that requires cooperation among teammates out of all other basketball moves such as dribbling, jump shots, and dunk. That’s why it is not an individual action. 

To make a valid pass, you have to set a direction for the ball and the target, that is one of your teammates. Moreover, you have to be careful with the opponent’s defense, don’t let them block your passing.

There is a misconception that you should only pass the ball when a defender is obstructing your lane, or you don’t have a chance to score. 

In fact, it depends a lot more on your teammates. If you locate your teammate is on your passing range, and there is no guard around him, you can make a pass. Otherwise, you toss the “golden egg” to your rapacious competitor.

How To Pass A Basketball

In particular, passing is divided into three main types according to dimensions, which also refer to as difficulty levels.

Passing In The Front

First, you have to learn the most basic passing technique: how to pass a basketball in the front. As its name already suggests, the ball is aimed at the person standing in front of you.

In the situation that you and your teammate are in a close distance, it is ideally suited for performing a chest pass: Hold the ball in front of your chest, extend your arms and push the ball towards your fellow. In contrast, if the opposite team hinders you two, put your hands over your head and throw it in a parabolic path. It is called an overhead pass, which is recommended in longer ranges.

Passing In The Front

Passing in the front is the easiest way to execute a pass as it represents a plain route of the ball. Correspondingly, not only amateurs but also professional basketball players prefer this way of passing. 

But every rose has its thorn. The simple direction makes it predictable. Thus, your rivals can effortlessly defend your passing ball. The most compelling evidence is that it accounts for merely 10% of all scoring passes.

Passing In A Cross Line

Conversely, a cross line pass demonstrates an excellent level of passing the ball. Hence, the techniques are much more complicated. Instead of throwing the ball right in front of your face, you pass it to your right or left side.

For example, in a shovel pass, you send the ball to your left or right side after making a few dribbles. Another critical point is that your head and shoulders have to face forward while handing the ball over using just one hand. 

What makes a successful shovel pass is speed and determination. You have to execute it so suddenly that the opposite team can’t react to the cross direction.

Another variant is hook pass: Extending your dominant hand and propel the ball to your teammates. This style was created to deal with opponents who were blocking and raising hands to prevent your overhead pass. The ball has to fly across the defense’s back and reach your teammate.


Passing In A Cross Line


It is a challenge for rookies. Nevertheless, cross line pass accounts for higher scoring, especially in transition. Any NBA star has to master passing the ball in this tricky way. It’s a powerful weapon to beat the defense of the adversary team.

Passing From The Sides

Have you finished upgrading your skills yet? Now, let’s look at the advanced level of passing in basketball: How to pass from the side. This skill illustrates coronal plane movements. 

For instance, the arm lateral pushes from the sides. Some people may mistake passing from the side with passing in a cross line, so let me shed light on this confusion. In a cross-line pass, the target is in the 2 or 10 o’clock position. Meanwhile, in a side pass, the aim is directly on the right or left side.

Passing From The Sides

Looking at a flick pass, you can see the basketball player raising one hand laterally and throw the ball from the side. The hardest skill must be passing behind the back as it destroys your rivals’ prediction about where the ball is going to be. 

You have to bring the ball behind your back and make a pass without even looking at its direction. Of course, you can’t just throw the ball in the air or pitch it out of court. 

To emphasize, spotting your teammate’s position in advance is crucial. Even though back passing brings you a higher chance to score, you are most likely to lose the ball to another team. So, considering your ability before executing such a risky move.

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More Tips On How To Pass A Basketball

It’s not only the proper form that makes a pass, but also many other factors. A professional basketball player has to draw a target and direction in the nick of time before passing the ball. 

It has to be on point and on time because the chance in the court will be missed out. Some big stars, namely Russell Westbrook and Jeremy Lin, exercise a pass in lighting speed. However, I would advise you to focus on your posture and technical form above everything. 

Every famous coach teaches their students not to make eye contact towards the direction of the ball while performing the pass. Look directly at your competitor or in the opposite direction of the pass. That’s a devious way to put your competitor in a trap.

Above all, passing a basketball is not your personal achievement. Smooth communication among teammates is vital. All the members have to work together like teeth on the gear.


You may not get your expected result right after reading my article. Please don’t feel down and remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Every successful NBA player has to train for at least 6 hours every day to stand in the hall of fame. Be patient, and believe in yourself! 

Let’s learn how to pass a basketball like a pro together!

Further Reading:

4 Passing Tips for Beginners – Basketball Tips

Basketball 101: Types of Passes | PRO TIPS

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