Oddly enough, I've found that very few basketball coaches use this extremely effective tactic. In fact, I didn't use this tactic for many years myself, until I had one of those "LIGHT BULB" moments.
Here's how it works...
I actually had the "light bulb" moment a year or so after listening to Bo Ryan, one of the best college coaches in basketball. So, ultimately, I have to give him credit for the concept. His idea was right on, but it just didn't hit home with me for several years.
In order to cut down on those bad passes and turnovers, you need to get your players on the same page, right?
Do you ever have players cut to the basket just when the ball is passed to them? And the ball flies out of bounds?
If you're like most coaches, you probably just grit your teeth and think to yourself, "Oh well, that's just one of those things, and there's not much you can do about it!"
Well, now you can do something about it...
You simply establish some team rules and drill the following concepts in ALL your practices:
Rule 1 - If you want the ball, give a hand target. If you are going to change direction, drop the hand target and give a new target.
Rule 2 - No hand target, no pass!!
It's as simple as that. This is a subtle way to establish non-verbal cues with your basketball team.
If you drill these rules long enough, you'll find that players make more accurate passes and reduce turnovers.
To take thing a step further, I also suggest emphasizing a couple of other related passing concepts:
Your hand targets should be away from the body.
Always pass away from the defense.
Use pass fakes, and make them believable!
Always catch the ball with two hands.
Every time you catch the ball in the front court, chin the ball and get in triple threat position.
i am a b-ball fun and player from kenya,thanks for the great tips esp about reducing turn overs anyway wish you could send me visual tips on ball handling,dribbling and shooting.i play center or big man as we call it back here.
The target hand is something I've focused on with my teams for the past 20+ years, and it works! I've used it with girls and boys of all ages and skill levels. Not only does it become habit, it focuses on teamwork quite a bit as well!
Thanks for the tip. I will try it out with my 13 year olds and see how it works. The other passing rule I am enforcing is to use bounce passes for maximum security. I find chest passes get intercepted too frequently. Bounce passes are much safer. (Melbourne, Australia)
Coach i am a freshman and i made JV this year and i have good ball handling but i am a shorter guard and when i pass my passes get blocked by my defender what is a way i can improve my passing on defenders that are bigger than me
I am a young 22 year old coach, coaching JV girls basketball. Our biggest issue has been turnovers and I hope these tactics will become of good use. This is one area that needs to become of point of emphasis and these seem to be some good tips. I have a team of athletes so they should be able to catch on quickly. Thanks for the tips.
Does anyone know of a drill(s) to teach youths (9-10 yr olds) how to move without the ball to locations where they can receive a pass? I see alot of youths not in places to receive a pass (in reference to where is the ball and the defense) and the result is a lot of "one-on-one" by the dribbler, most of the time resulting in a turnover.
Im really liking this and I will probably emphasize it. If you cut and want the ball, let them know where you want it. If they dont let you know, dont throw the ball. Nice, Bo Ryan is a great coach and thank you also Jeff!
hey great tips on team passing,am sure it will work for my teams that i play for. am requesting for cash in kind support of b-balls from well wishers of balls and sport shoes for my team at Donholm catholic church Nairobi thanks for the tips keep them coming cheers every b-ball fans keep the fire burning.
hi. i coach 2nd to 6th grades basketball in israel. i loved this tip, we use it in our club as a major rule. for the younger ages we recommend to applay those rules (2-3 grades) doring the "games" but use a "joker" in the offence game (the coach), which helps the kids to understand the meaning of moving around the court well.
keep-up with the good work.
another thing, if i've something to suggest (drills or plays), how can i offer it?
Interesting. I'm going to try this out. I am coaching two age levels 7-9 and 10-12, so I will try it on both levels. It could also be a good way for them to work on making cuts to the basket and signaling for the ball.
Great tip. I was taught this in high school many moons ago and have tried to pass it down to the kids but they don't grasp the concept and it is not done regularly. Setting the "rules" is a great concept and i'm putting it in practice tonight.
I always stress the importance of communication amoung players. I teach post moves and require all players to do post drills. First rule, show a target. I do however teach a one handed catch when appropriate.
It is good tip that i was taught many years ago, i now use it when coaching my group of 50 recriut soldiers. they are keen and fit, it just requires some basic tips and drills to get a large inprovement. Many thanks
Great drill. I have 10 year olds who wait too long to throw the pass. They don't lead the player they're throwing to, resulting in an interception. Do you have any drills for this? We just were destroyed by a team playing aggressive deny defense. We couldn't even get a shot off in the first half! Help!
Passing can be difficult, especially for younger players... it is something that has to be worked on constantly.
There are some great tips here, I would just add one thing ..... pass the ball to the person on his way to the spot, not 2-3 seconds afterwards - IF you wait to long, the defender has a chance to recover. I see this in a lot of youth games. That could be from a few things -- not being able to handle the ball very well without looking at it -- lack of strength to make that pass -- lack of confidence.
Scott, break down your offense and the first step could be the entry pass... do it shell at first.... have the passer make that pass when the other player is on the way to his spot... showing a hand target.. then add a soft defense, from there you can go full speed.
One tip I got from Jeff Bzdelik, head coach at Wake Forest... how do you know when the person with the ball is going to pass? "When he brings his other hand up to the ball" - that can help the person receiving the pass - and of course, the hand target letting the passer know he is ready to receive it.