Types of Passes in Basketball: Fundamentals of Passing

As been said in basketball, “Pass it better, set it higher, hit it harder, give it at you’ve got.” Passing in basketball is the foremost action in bringing a conclusion to the game. Primarily, the ball is motioned around on the court via ‘passing’ by the players until reaches the relevant team player to score the shot in the hoop at the perfect time. “Passing” is thence essential to execute for driving the ball where it is to be destined. Go down and get 10 types of passes in basketball.

Types of Passes in Basketball

Needless to say, “passing” is the key pillar in the basketball game and a must-played action. However, the execution of the right “pass move” at the right time, is essential to learn prior. Numerous passing moves have been introduced since the inception of the game and the list kept on increasing as per the need. Till now, there are considered basic advanced “types of passes in basketball” executed by the players when needed. Let’s look below, what are the different types of passing in basketball?

Basic Passing Types in the Basketball

Essentially, there are two fundamental passing types.

Air Pass: The pass is accomplished by traveling in the air from the passer to the intended receiver. 

Bounce Passes: The pass involves hitting the ball to the floor outcoming a bounce to get to the receiver. 

Each type of pass comes with its own variations.

Recommended to read: Basketball Shooting Guard

10 Types of Passes in Basketball

The types of passing are varied and divided into basic to advance categories on the base of difficulty level. Below is a detailed list of all types of passing in basketball.

Passing Types in the Basketball

1. Chest Pass

Named of the fact as mainly the pass originated rightly from the front of the player’s chest. The ball is held by the passer-by grabbing it by placing and spreading the four fingers evenly on either side of the ball while both the thumbs behind the ball are in the downwards position, backing it. The passer is then supposed to extend the arm until it reaches the point, of the wrist being snapped. Thus, the forming position facilitates the ideal rotation of the ball while passing the throw making it unchallenging for the receiver to catch.

At the climax of the ball being thrown, the fingers ultimately rotate in the position behind the ball, and the thumbs are turned down. After the resulting throw is made, the back of the hands faces one another with the thumbs straightly down. The formed posture is considered ideal for the exemplary backspin. 

Optimally, the receiving point is the receiver’s chest. It is expected to beeline the ball towards the receiver’s chest which can be achieved by throwing the ball undeviatingly and hard. However, the pass may sometimes arrive at the receiver at a bit off, of his chest. Which is adequate as long as it’s simply graspable. The precise head-on shot can also be achieved by stepping toward the intended receiver while shooting the pass.

Quick Pass: This is the variation of the chest pass, executed in situations where a quick throw is need to be made against the defense. When a quick chest pass is played, the defense is mostly left with little or no time to react. Likely, the chest pass, the quick pass is stemmed from the chest and is fired using a quick flick of the hands/wrists. Often sported in, out-of-bounds plays or the post feed. 

Lob Pass: This is the kind of chest pass,  attempted by originating it from the chest which crosses over the defender’s head forming the slightest arc contrasting the traditional chest pass. Often, it’s played for post feeds, off of pick and rolls, and for alley-oops.

The chest pass is the most reliable, most efficient, and probably the most-played pass in basketball.

2. Bounce Pass

The three basic steps involved, “ball thrown by the passer, bouncing on the floor, and receiving by the intended receiver” make it a bounce pass.

Ideally, the passer hits the ball on the floor to the 3/4 of the way to the receiver, which then ultimately bounces up equally up to the waist-high/between the knees & waist of the receiver. This position is considered the absolute position for catching up the ball smoothly and effortlessly bu the receiver. However, there is no defined spot to make the ball bounce. Thus can be discovered by experimenting with how far to throw it so it bounces to the receiver properly.

The bounce pass is thrown likely to the ‘motion’ implied in the chest pass, yet only differs by projecting the ball at the floor prior. The ordinary distance of the projection can be varied for different players, however, the consistent backspin on the pass makes it easier to estimate the distance.

A bounce pass is contemplated as the most time-consuming pass of all. The comparatively steady speed of the pass leads it to be easily deflected and intercepted by the defense. Withal, this situational pass is practiced usually for the post entry, back-door cuts, and fast breaks.

3. Overhead Pass

An overhead pass in the basketball is commenced by positioning the ball over the head while holding it with both hands with fingers spread over the ball at either side and releasing the ball out front.

The overhead pass also referred to as the skip pass, is often used as an outlet pass. A perfect overhead pass throw is achieved by holding the ball over the head, releasing it with a quick snap of your wrists, and aiming (the ideal spot) at the receiver’s chin.

The overhead passes are played by the players usually when surrounded by the defenders and intend to make a pass. Since the overhead pass shot is a bit higher and forms an arc in the air, it nearly gets strenuous for the defenders to intercept or deviate the pass. They are also executed in situations when the passer desires to pass the ball far down the court such as breakaways or inbounding situations. Further, it requires more strength to attain the pass to its destined receiver in comparison to the chest pass or bounce pass.

The overhead pass is the most efficient when players intend to strike the pass crosscourt. However, is discouraged by the coaches as may get stolen in the way. Besides, the players are also not recommended to position the ball much rear the head. Or else may get snatched by the behind-standing players. Also, may takes a split-second longer to throw the pass.

4. Behind the Back Pass

True to its name, the ball is motioned by the passer behind his back by turning either arm back while holding the ball in the same hand and is thrown to the intended player by flicking the wrist in the direction the ball should travel or where the receiver is present.

Similar to the underhand pass, this pass is considered tricky to execute. Because of the “Behind the back” phenomenon of the pass, it’s also alternatively termed a wrap-around pass.

5. Baseball Pass

The baseball pass in basketball is played, when deliberated by the player to pass the ball from one end of the court to another far corner to the teammate.

Players initially hold the ball with both hands to tighten the grip. Once set, they perform the shot by bringing the ball up nearly to the ear of the throwing shoulder and shooting the pass to the receiver’s end with full strength and precision. The timing of shooting the pass is a salient factor too. At the climax posture for throwing a baseball pass, it’s the same as throwing a screwball in baseball.

Worthy to mention, it isn’t recommended to give the ball much side spin. Therefore, the wrist should be straight or even slightly counterclockwise to avoid excessive spin. Elsewise it may consequence in the ball interception by the defenders or an out-of-bounds turnover.

6. Push Pass

The basketball push pass is played at times when usually the passer is closely guarded by the defender. Basically, it’s carried out more from the elbow instead of the hand.

In push pass, the passer holds the ball in one hand and typically fakes the movement of the pass high while suddenly shots the ball from the low to the receiver (nearly to his waist height). The pass can be achieved by applying the strategy of chest pass or bounce pass. However, the pass may get deflected or blocked as a consequence of implementing a chest pass while nearly guarded by the defensive player. Henceforth, the passer should try to bounce the ball roughly 2/3 way to the receiver while passing.

7. Lob Pass

Lob passes are commonly known to complete a basketball sequence known as an alley-oop. In a lob pass, the ball is driven from passer to receiver forming a high arc in the air.

On the court, when the ball passer finds the teammate closer to the rim, perfect in the position to efficiently drive the ball to the bucket, he lofts the ball in the air towards the receiver. The receiver notices the lob pass has been initiated and prepares himself for the jump with the peak height of the ball, to catch it as soon as it reaches the range. The receiver being closely guarded by any defender pushes him with the ‘right hand’ while vertically setting up his left arm in the upward direction to grab the ball with the ‘left hand’. Once caught, the receiver slams it successfully through the hoop for a highlight-reel score (slam dunk).

The higher-arc motion of the ball in the lob pass guarantees the unpoked and unsteal strike of the pass.

8. Pick and Roll Pass

When the defensive players double-team or switch on the pick and roll, this pass is practiced by the dribbler. Usually, if the dribbling is being performed at the right, the target is present at the left. And thus the player brings the ball up from to right side to the targetted position. Overhead to the screener who has either rolled to the basket or popped to the perimeter. Often, it is attempted in a “hook shot” manner, with the prime purpose to protect the ball from the opponent at all times.

9. Entry Pass

Entry passes in basketball are played when inbounding the ball (to the court). The passer stands out of bounds and throws the ball to the teammate present on the other side of the boundary line/sideline. In the inbounding process, the ball-handler is not supposed to receive or throw the pass stepping over the line. Until the pass has been completely made.

Entry passes are most often played as a penalty of fouls, or violations, or as the reward of a turnover.

10. Inbound Pass

An inbound pass is a type of pass, that is executed by the player to inbound the ball to restart the play. The ball is typically given by the referee to the player and is allotted a total of 5 seconds to inbound the ball to the court. Inbounding can be done from either boundary line i.e the baseline or the sideline.

Inbounding the pass from the baseline, the inbounder is privileged to run side to side along the out-of-bounds line. On the contrary, if the inbounder is inbounding from the sideline. They are limited to motion within the 3-foot radius relative to their original position. Yet have favored jumping too to throw the pass if want.

How Many Types of Passes Are There in the Basketball?

The below video sums up numerous variations of basketball passes that are carried out in accordance with their demand and usability on the court.

Wrapping Up

Needless to say, “Passing” is the pillar element in basketball and hence needs to be proficiently practiced and adopted by the teams, to open up the offensive zone for them, assuring leading to the potential win.

Considerable types of passes have emerged yet, each with its own usage, utilization, and convention. All should be learned by the players, when and where to implement to make them more profitable.

As Ronai says. “That knowledge will make you a more comfortable and effective basketball player.”

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