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Tips for Individual Offensive Play - Passing and Receiving

"COACHES CORNER" with John Heard

FOCUS: "Passing and Receiving"

1. Use the point of the chest as the target for all passes.

2. Passes should usually be practised at four and a half metre distances.

3. Use head fakes and ball fakes. Do not telegraph passes. Faking should be done only for a purpose. Useless faking is only good for exercise.

4. Make the passes quickly and accurately, but not too hard. Crisp is the word.

5. Time all passes. Do not pass wildly.

6. Lead all cutters (i.e. pass out in front).

7. Receive and pass in one motion.

8. Step to meet a pass when receiving.

9. Relax when receiving; don’t fight the ball.

10. Keep your eyes on the ball all the way when receiving. “Look” the ball all the way into the hands.

11. Keep both hands up as a target for the pass.

12. When a pass is thrown, every effort must be made to get the ball wherever it goes.

13. The offensive man should be close, preferably about a metre from the opponent he is trying to pass the ball by. By being close he decreases the distance the ball has to travel before reaching the defender, and by decreasing the distance, then he decreases the amount of time the opponent has to react and to deflect or intercept the ball. It is almost impossible to pass through a defender who has sagged off.

14. Use wrist snap; do not use a follow through. Contrary to common belief, follow through is for shooting, not passing. Why? Follow through is a give away move which tells the opponent where and when the ball is coming, again offering him a chance to deflect or intercept the ball. (Follow through is a must in shooting where the basket offers a small target ten feet in the air and where the ball must travel in two planes, vertical and horizontal). Passing is done in an horizontal plane, on the passers own level and the target can often be three or four times larger than the basket, and the pass will still be successful.

15. See but don’t look at the receiver. When a player looks at a receiver he turns his face, often his shoulders and sometimes his entire body toward the intended receiver. The offensive player must see the team mate to whom he is passing, out of the corner of his eye, using split (or peripheral) vision, but never turn and look at him. Actually, the passer need not be concerned with any great details of the person to whom he intends to pass; all he needs to know is whether he is a team mate and in what position his defender is playing him. Therefore, the passer should see but not look at the intended receiver.

16. Use a fake when necessary. Vertical fakes are generally best, as the defender’s arms can be faked up and down easier than left or right. Usually, the best place to pass is directly over the defender’s head. This type of pass will cause the opponent to blink, a reflex action he cannot control, and consequently it affords an advantage to the passer. Passing is the most important phase of basketball. 75% of missed shots are missed because of a bad pass.




A good passing team is difficult to defeat.

A bad pass is the most costly error in basketball.


If you'd like me to come out to your training sessions and run you through more of my training then please contact the association through email.

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