Passing is one of the most important basketball skills. A player can have a lot of credits by just passing alone. The basketball statistic called assist percentage is used to measure the effectiveness of a pass. It gives credit to shot points that comes from such passes.

The fundamentals of passing are not difficult to execute, but you have to be physically and mentally prepared well. Let’s have a look at the fundamentals of passing in order to improve yourself in this area.

Balance and Stance
Balance is the utmost foundation in playing the sport of basketball. Whether you run, shoot, defend, or pass the ball, you must be able to establish a proper sense of balance. In order to do this, always remember to split your feet apart at about shoulder width from each other. When you do this, you are creating a more solid support for your body weight and enables you to control your balance, thereby, preventing you from easily slipping down.

Your form in establishing your balance is considered as part of the stance in playing basketball. The stance in passing may not be necessarily the same with dribbling the ball or going for a defensive play, wherein you flex your legs with your thighs at an angle almost parallel to the ground while maintaining an erect posture of the back. In passing the ball, you can stand straight, hold the ball with your hands on both sides of it, place the ball in front of you, and face on the direction where you would want to pass the ball. This is just the basic stance of passing the ball. Sometimes, very talented players do not face the direction where they would pass the ball. This is one way of deceiving an opponent so that your pass cannot be read and intercepted. This is what they call as a “no look pass”.

Position of Hands on the ball
Your hands are the major parts of your body involved when passing the ball. It is fairly impossible to pass a ball with your feet. Otherwise, you would get a kick ball call by the referee. So, how do you position your hands then? You do it by simply placing your hands on both sides of the ball. It looks something like this: facing the ball, the left hand on the left side of the ball, and the right hand on the right side of the ball.

Now, this is very important because you might be misguided by the term hands. In holding a basketball, you make use of your fingers, most especially your fingertips. Do not use your palms. Your fingertips will enable you to hold the ball securely. In addition to that, your fingertips are the ones which would create the control of your push when you throw that ball off from your hands.

Movement of arms
The arms also play a significant role in passing the ball. In general, the movement of the arm when you pass is from inward to outward. You hold the ball close to your chest, or body, where your arms are flexed inwards. At this point, you are like generating a certain amount of power with your arms and hands. And then you straighten your arms, pushing the ball away from you. This is the basic movement of the arms when you pass the ball.

At times the position of your arms may vary depending upon the distance, angle, or area you would want to pass the ball. For example, you are holding the ball and you are close to the basket. Suddenly, your teammate creates a cut and runs near you. At this time, you can hold the ball in a much lower position, perhaps in line with your stomach or below, to create a pass to a cutting teammate. Moreover, you can also make a pass with the ball above your head. In this case, you are in a position where your arms form a shape similar to a diamond.

Position of feet
Aside from placing the feet from side to side, you can also have one foot forward, and the other foot backward, when you pass the ball. The position of the foot depends on the dominant hand of the player. Usually, the dominant hand is followed by the movement of the dominant feet. For a right handed, the right foot is placed around 12 inches, or more, forward with the left foot on the back. It can go the opposite for a lefty. However, in instances where players try to pass at a long distance with one hand it may look a little different. If you have notice, if you are right handed, you would make a long distance, single handed pass with your right foot backward, and your left foot forward. The idea here is that when you pass the ball, you put in greater weight to your dominant side, because this would provide additional support and push when you make the pass.

Snapping/Twisting motion of wrists
The same with shooting, passing also involves wrist movement. The moment you straighten up your arm for a pass, you release the ball from your hands with your wrist moving inward to outward. It should be in a snapping motion. This wrist motion will enable the ball to be release with greater force, firmness, and quickness.

Physical Conditioning and Strenghtening: Arms and Legs
This is a vital key to the fundamentals of passing. You should continuously engage in physical exercises that will strengthen your arms and legs. The arms are crucial for you to be able to pass the ball, while the legs provide the additional support. Weight lifting and jogging are two of the most common suggested strengthening and conditioning exercises.

Heightened Senses
The art of passing is not just merely throwing the ball to another player. You must be very keen and sensitive enough to distinguish where your teammates are moving so that you can create nice passes for a possible offensive attack. The key to this is increasing your visual acuity and widening your visual field. Heightened senses can aid you in anticipating the movements of your teammates, and allow you to make brilliant passes.

Decision Making
This is very important. Passing can be done when you decide to let go of the ball. The challenge here is when to pass the ball. You must develop your decision making ability when it comes to passing the ball. It is wise to know when you should have to make the pass or go for the shot yourself.

Quickness is a major plus in the sport of basketball, not only when passing the ball. Oftentimes, quick and accurate passes break an opponent’s defense. This skill does not just include making quick passes as literally understood, but also quick decision making on when to pass the ball.

Passing is very important in a great number of situations, either to avoid an opponent from stealing the ball or to get the ball to an open teammate. In addition, it can also develop players to involve all their teammates to establish what they call as teamwork.

[info_box]Picture credit: compujerameyCreative Commons Attribution[/info_box]
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