return to homepage
return to homepage

Passing the Ball:
The Fast Break Baseball Pass

Passing the ball upcourt on the fast break seems easy enough - fewer defensive players, lots of chaos. But a good baseball pass is a difficult pass to master - the longer the pass, the easier it is to muff it up. It could slide off the side of the passer's hand, the passer could throw it too short or too long or too high which will mean it takes longer to reach the receiver and the defense can catch up. All kinds of ways to make mistakes.

This basketball passing drill simulates a situation in which you have a player breaking away down the floor ahead of the defense. The player breaking needs to be able to control the pass given him and then score without traveling or bobbling the ball - not an easy feat when you are travelling at top speed. And the player passing the ball needs to drop the ball right where the cutter can handle it best - not an easy feat with a fast-moving target.

This drill provides practice to the passer as well as the receiver.

Passing the Ball: Instructions to Players

Here's what players need to focus on:

  • When passing the ball, you need to loft the ball with some arc - remember that in a game situation, there will be players between the passer and receiver; so the pass must make it safely over the defense.

  • The best pass will drop right in front of the receiver as he is heading in to the basket - in other words, we want the ball to arc up over the player and drop just in front of him, so that he runs right into the ball without having to break his stride
    • NOTE: not too much arc - we want the ball to rise above the defense, but we don't want it to hang up there so long that the defense has time to catch up

  • The receiver must catch the ball before it bounces - if the receiver waits for the bounce, there's no telling which direction the ball will bounce in. More often than not, the player will bobble the pass if he lets it bounce first.

  • The receiver needs to know where he is on the court - his distance to the hoop especially. If possible, he can catch the ball and take one last step to the layup; if needed, he'll have to put the ball on the floor for one dribble to gain the needed distance

Passing the Ball: How this Passing Drill Works

  • Players line up at one end, the first player - the receiver - a little ahead of the second; the second player - the passer - has the ball

  • On the coach's whistle, the receiver (#2) sprints up court

  • The passer (#1) throws a baseball pass, aiming to drop into the hands of the receiver just as he is reaching the far foul line

  • The receiver catches the ball before it lands and drives in to finish the layup

Passing the Ball - baseball pass

  • Immediately after throwing, the passer (#1) sprints up court diagonally to touch the far foul line on the opposite side

  • #1 then turns and sprints back down court to the basket

  • Meanwhile, #2 has made the layup, got his own rebound, and made his way to the opposite side of the court. He now throws a baseball pass to #1

  • #1 catches the pass before it lands and drives in to finish the layup

Passing the Ball - baseball pass 2

There is definitely an aspect of conditioning in this drill, but its focus is truly on solid passing and finishing the fast break at top speed.

Few players realize the difficulties in throwing a good baseball pass until they actually try to do so with consistent accuracy. And many players are so intent on getting up the floor before everyone else that they forget to focus on actually catching the ball and finishing the play. This basketball passing drill helps drive home the skills required for both ends of this play.

View more drills to help players passing the ball better

Go to the Better Basketball Coaching home page

"Everyone wants to win, but not everyone is willing to prepare to win."
- Bob Knight

Improve speed & quickness - fast!
Incredible program guaranteed to increase players' quickness on the court

truth about quickness

Get the Truth About Quickness!

Want something more visual?

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


Use this search box to quickly find what you're looking for.

Subscribe To This Site
Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines
Copyright Better Basketball Coaching© 2008-2013.
Click here to view our privacy policy.