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The Importance of Throwing Hard, Crisp Passes

September 4, 2017



I was watching a tape of my old high school days and I was fortunate enough to play varsity basketball as a sophomore. This was a challenge for me because I was pretty scrawny. Skilled, but very scrawny. I couldn't bench press my own weight. Not even close.


Anyway, as I watched the tape I was cringing at some of the mistakes that I was making that my coach didn't get on me about. The mistake I was making was throwing the slowest passes possible. It was amazing. You see it all the time today. Players making slow passes that give the defense time to react.


I would have a player open and my pass would leave my hand and by the time it got there the defense had made a full recovery. Don't be afraid to make a crisp solid pass. Put some heat on it. My senior year I had an excellent coach that worked with me for hours and it paid huge dividends.

He used a product called The Heavy Basketball. Get one if you have this problem, because not only does it help with your shooting distance, but you'll notice immediate results with your passing.

By making crisp passes the defense can't adjust as quickly. You'll notice they won't attempt to make steals on your passes because they've seen how you zip them.


A fundamental that I see lacking so many times is someone passing the ball as if they are shooting the ball. This just isn't effective if you want to throw a solid crisp pass. Get both hands on the ball and throw it so that your thumbs go down. This creates backspin and you'll notice it will feel better. Your teammates will also notice.


I've had teammates who liked to catch passes with no spin on them. This is done by involving your thumbs in the action. You take your non dominant hand, in my case my left, and place it higher on the ball with both elbows out. Instead of pushing with both hands and arms you push with your right hand (dominant hand) and use your thumb on your left hand. Your thumb should keep the ball from spinning. If it doesn't work every time then practice and soon you'll see it works. This isn't something that is absolutely necessary, but many shooters like to get the ball with no spin.

Bounce passes need to be done the same way, throw them crisply and low to the ground. Make sure that a pass only gives your team a chance to get the ball. There is no worse pass in basketball than a slow bounce pass. It just gives the defense so much time to make up ground and adjust.


My favorite tool that I ever used was a toss-back. Many of you know what this is. It is the thing that whatever you throw at it bounces back to you. I wore that thing out in high school. I could use it to practice my passing or my shooting. But I spent hours throwing balls into that thing, especially hard passes that hit the mark every time.


Remember, anyone can throw a pass to someone else, but it needs to be a good pass. If you throw a low bounce pass in the key to a 7 footer then mark the turnover for you and get ready to go sit down next to your coach. If you are passing to a shooter, get it to him where he can do something with it. Don't hit him with a high pass, hit him in rhythm.


My favorite point guard in the NBA is Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets. I'm a huge Illinois fan as it is, but Deron Williams will hit players with passes that are right where they need them to stay in rhythm.


I strongly recommend the heavy ball and a toss-back to practice with and I also encourage catching every game you can and just watching the little things like the crisp passing, the angles of the passes and where they are delivered. You'll start to understand what makes these pros or division I athletes or simply great city league or youth players. The little things make the difference.

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