Passing is an area not as heavily addressed as we think it should be in youth basketball. I personally didn’t learn the value of passing until college, where we spent dedicated time each practice working on passing. The guys on my team were standout players in high school and future pros, but we were in practice doing things you might see kids at a summer camp do. If passing was that important to a college coach, shouldn’t it be important to youth basketball players? Passing is a skill that must be developed with practice, quality coaching and quality training, but here are some reasons that passing is important in the game of basketball. Maybe after reading you’ll ask your trainer to begin developing you as a passer, so you can develop into the best player you can possibly be.
The Importance of Passing in Basketball:
- Passing is the language of teamwork. The ball is the most precious thing in the game, so delivering that ball safely to teammates is very important. The delivery of the ball safely to teammates can be as precious as delivering a message to a loved one outside of the court. Passing is the way we connect to our teammates in basketball as spoken language is the way we connect with others in life. With good basketball communication (passing), a good team cannot stand. But with it, a team can thrive on the offensive end.
- Good passing leads to easy buckets. The easiest way for a team to score is not to have a player make the greatest dribble move or make an outstanding post move, although those things are great. Arguably the easiest way to score is for a player to find an open teammate with a pass. Now a teammate can get open when his defender helps on a drive or a post move, but a good pass can turn that sequence into two easy points via the assist.
- Passing makes offense easier. Teams that pass well, like the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA, have an advantage over defenses because of their passing ability. When the ball moves quickly and frequently, the defense has to move as well. When a team has 5 capable passers on the floor, the ball can move until an opening is found because the defense did not rotate well or quickly enough. The Spurs use their passing to eventually get open 3 point shots. Youth basketball teams can use team passing as an effective weapon against zone defenses.
- Passing can make up for deficiencies in other areas. Players who are great passers can stay on the floor because of this one quality alone. Former NBA player Mark Jackson was able to play professionally for 17 years because he had standout court vision and passing ability. He was not considered a great athlete by NBA standards. Current NBA players Steve Nash and Andre Miller are examples of players extending their careers because they possess elite passing ability. Remember that a basketball on the move is the fastest moving thing on the court – it is faster than any player. So if you can control it well with passing, you can make up for a lack of athletic quickness or speed.
- Without passing, basketball would be an individual sport. Passing is a big part of what allows for 5 players to play as a unit offensively and defeat a more individually talented opposition. Passing, along with screening and cutting, are the three tools that allow 5 players to play “bigger than the sum of their parts”. Teams that understand this give themselves a shot to win against anybody they’re up against.