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Basketball Passing Drills:
Fundamentals First

At the beginning of pre-season practices, basketball passing drills need to focus on the basics. As the pre-season progresses and players become more proficient with passing fundamentals, you can then move into more advanced drills like the three man weave or the half court 3 man weave, in which skills other than just basic fundamentals are taught. But at the beginning of every season, focus on basic passing skills.

To make muscles perform an action in a certain way automatically - muscle memory - requires conditioning. When players loft underhanded passes that sail high overhead, or soft, careless tosses to each other in practice, you can almost guarantee that that is how they will pass in the game. Because that is how they have conditioned their muscles to react, and in stress, our muscles will react in the way they have been conditioned.

Players need to practice proper fundamentals in all their skills. Use the following passing drills to help your players improve their fundamentals.

Basketball Passing Drills for Improving Fundamentals

Line Passing

This is a simple drill that should be done directly after teaching players the basic skills of passing.

  • Players line up in two lines, 10-15 feet apart, facing a partner

  • Each pair has a ball

  • With the partner, they practice basic passing techniques, changing passes when the coach calls them out

  • The coach walks down the line, making adjustments to passing fundamentals as needed
basketball passing drills - line passing

Marlin Drill

A basketball passing drill very similar to the Line Passing drill above, except this drill has players moving about, enforcing the need to react quickly and have good form engrained in their actions

basketball passing drills - marlin drill

  • Players line up in two lines single file, lines facing each other, 10-15 feet apart

  • The player at the front of line #1 has a ball

  • The first player in line #1 makes the designated pass (chest, lateral, bounce, or overhead) to first player in line #2

  • Then the passer sprints to the end of the opposite line (line #2)

  • The receiver then passes back to line #1, and sprints to the end of line #1

These are simple basketball passing drills, but at the beginning of pre-season practice, they are absolutely essential to run so that you can instruct and improve the passing skills of your players. Players will need to be able to execute all these passes in the blink of an eye, in the middle of a hectic game situation. But if they can't perform them in highly controlled practice sessions, they won't be able to perform them in games - good control and proper form won't magically appear.

So remember to always stress proper passing technique - if they consistently practice these drills properly, they'll see the transfer to the game and they will perform with good fundamentals - and improved results - when it comes to crunch time.

More Basketball Passing Drills here

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"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

Want something more visual?

Check out UMass Head Coach Derek Kellogg's video package of drills


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