Even as school begins, your child can use free time to work on basic basketball skills ahead of the next season of competition. This not only helps with building consistency and confidence, those small improvements might just get the coach’s attention as new teams are formed. Along with dribbling and shooting, passing the basketball is one of the most important skills for a young player to improve.
There are a variety of passes that young basketball players can learn and perfect. The Overhead Pass allows a player to keep the ball up high and out of reach, and to pass the ball much farther, even to a teammate on the opposite side of the court. It’s also the standard pass that is used for a throw-in from out of bounds. The Bounce Pass is best used to move the ball low past a defender that is blocking with their arms held high.
Your child should become equally proficient at passing to the left and to the right, regardless of their natural tendency to go to one side. A one-handed bounce pass, sent from either the right or left hand, is an effective offensive weapon. The one-handed Baseball Pass is best for a long throw down the court when the other team is pressing after a basket.
Most passes should be aimed toward a teammate’s outside hand so the basketball can be caught easily. Teach young players to pass to where their teammate is headed in motion, rather than a fixed spot on the court. When making bounce passes, they should aim for the ball to hit the court just past half-way to the teammate and arrive about waist high.
Coaches also want players to learn to fake at least one pass before they pass to a teammate. To pass the ball right away could lead to an immediate steal and the other team scoring. Ball fakes must be strong and deliberate to be effective. It can be fun to practice being unpredictable, faking passes to keep the other team guessing.