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Pair Passing


Players are paired up and face one another about 8 feet apart. They then pass back and forth, making sure that they step toward their partner to pass and step to the ball to receive. Coach calls the type of pass to be thrown. Gradually, partners move further apart as they are comfortable and accurate.

After a few minutes, progress to the next step.

Using the same setup as above, players shuffle from baseline to baseline, passing the ball back and forth. Speed of their movement and distance of the pass is determined by each player's ability. This is not a race and the objective is for players to learn to pass on the move. The coach can determine which type of pass is used.

Points of Emphasis

  • Step to pass.
  • Follow through so the backs of your hands are together with the thumbs pointing down.
  • Step to catch.
  • Catch with your hands extended and guide the ball into your body to secure it into triple threat position.

More passing drills: 21 Basketball Passing Drills - For Coaches

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please post them below...

jssocials alternate:


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

cohoc says:
11/26/2007 at 12:19:19 PM

Please send to passing drills to my e-mail adress


Brandon says:
1/9/2008 at 10:54:50 AM

what is meant by the step to catch when receiving a pass?


Joe (Co-founder of Breakthrough Basketball) says:
1/9/2008 at 11:14:23 AM

Hi Brandon,

The player who is going to receive the pass should step towards the ball while it is in the air to get to the ball before the defender does. If the offensive player just waits for the ball to get to him, the defender will often step in front of the ball and steal it. Stepping into the pass will reduce turnovers on stolen passes.



Brenda says:
1/10/2008 at 8:33:11 AM

We are a homeschool group teaching elementary grades 1-3 basketball. When passing the ball in the above practice, do they bounce the ball half way to their partner, or is it a complet in air pass? Is there a practice where they bounce the ball halfway to their partner rather than 100% in the air pass?

I have learned a lot reading all your material and wanted to say a big thank you.

Brenda in Florida


Joe (Co-founder of Breakthrough Basketball) says:
1/10/2008 at 8:41:57 AM

Hi Brenda,

You can incorporate either the "bounce" pass or the "air" pass with this drill. I would highly advise you switch between the two. Either practice to practice or halfway through the drill.



cohac says:
1/14/2008 at 3:50:28 AM



RONNY says:
3/10/2009 at 3:59:35 AM

all this drills,really great.My guy''''s start shooting now.Thanks



shatit says:
10/7/2009 at 3:21:10 AM

what is meant by players shuffle from baseline to baseline? when do they shuffle?


Jeff says:
10/7/2009 at 7:20:07 PM

It's basically a defensive slide. The slide/shuffle as they are passing. It really doesn't matter. They key is just to start moving down the court so you have to pass while moving.


brittany says:
10/30/2009 at 12:45:03 PM

what if you throw a chest pass and your teammate catches the ball with 2 hands and then start 2 dribble?


Jeff says:
10/31/2009 at 10:40:42 AM

Brittany - In a game that is legal. However dribbling is not part of this particular drill.


Paul says:
11/29/2009 at 4:11:34 AM

Can you run down court while passing or only slide shuffle?


Joe Haefner says:
12/9/2009 at 8:54:24 AM

Paul, you can it's fine to do whatever you want. I have done both shuffle and run. I like to use this as a warmup drill.


hashim says:
9/24/2010 at 5:19:08 PM

Please send to passing drills to my e-mail adress


hashim says:
9/24/2010 at 5:23:36 PM

thank you


carlin is too scux says:
9/19/2011 at 12:30:30 AM

this is a great site and was a great help.


Coach Hart says:
5/21/2013 at 2:13:01 AM

Are you talking about teaching a two handed chest pass? I would not teach a chest pass any more. I cant even think of a situation where it would be necessary. That is old school. I teach a twist pass from a power position. We will run a drill called race track. we go down one side of the basketball court. I have my players jump stop peek up the floor and twist pass back to partner. Then we come back down the other side of floor. It might not be for everyone but its work for us.


Ken says:
5/24/2013 at 8:14:08 AM

Coach Hart - IF you find something that works for you, go for it. But I used something similar to this in my youth camps. You have to teach young kids the basics before you can move on to something a little more difficult. At times we as coaches think that passing is a lost art.... kids today don''t worry about passing, its about dunking and the 3 ball. On another part of this site, there was a 14 year old point guard that wanted to dunk... that is the last thing that I would worry about my point guard doing. Chest pass Bounce pass Step out and reach around pass Crossover and reach around pass Baseball pass Over the head pass ( which I hated because we were typically undersized ) I called this the I T pass.... INSTANT TURNOVER.


Joe Haefner says:
5/24/2013 at 8:14:29 AM

Thanks, Coach Hart! Most of the passes we execute in a half-court setting is a push pass. That is where you have one hand behind the ball and one hand on the side of the ball. The hand is almost positioned as if you were going to shoot the ball. If you are passing to your right, your right hand is behind the ball. Passing to your left, your left hand is behind the ball. This helps keep the ball away from your defender. I do still teach a chest pass for direct passes and transition passes. Are there any videos I can reference of the twist pass?


Juice says:
6/13/2013 at 3:01:54 PM

LoL. What's an air pass.


Curious says:
11/11/2013 at 3:42:31 AM

I have a group of 50 fifth grade boys and girls all with various ability levels and only a few play league ball (not many exceptionally skillful). My current unit is throwing and catching. I introduced the unit and the standards. I started the lesson with a few questions about basketball. I showed a 2 minute video clip about the chest pass and then a 2 minute video clip about catching. The students then performed a few warm-up exercises and then my assistant and I demonstrated the skills once again before the students tried it. This was the first day of the lesson. The students practiced; I stopped them on several occasions to reiterate spreading the fingers on the sides of the ball, thumbs behind the ball and in front of the chest, the back of the hands towards each other with the thumbs down on the follow through, stepping towards their partner to pass, stepping towards their partner to catch, "no chicken wings" = no elbows flying out to the side, elbows in at sides and extend forward towards the partner, flexed knees, keep your eyes on the ball to catch...I moved throughout the class monitoring, correcting skills, also addressing a very silly girl who was showing how immature she could be in front of a new male student attempting to get his attention, all while being observed by the principal. The principal felt like more could have taken place during the class period. What would you suggest that could have been done differently? What should I have added? Keep in mind 45 of them will probably not touch a basketball until they return for their second day of P.E. I think because of the grade level, he was expecting more.


Ken Sartini says:
11/11/2013 at 10:37:19 AM

The principal probably thought that you could have introduced at least one more type of pass.. like the bounce pass? Maybe towards the end having 2 lines walking or running slowly up and down the floor passing the ball.

You never know, a few of them might surprise you as they get older. I had several kids that never played for their 7th & 8th grade teams that played Varsity ball for me, some becoming all conference. Everyone develops at a different age.

Do the best you can with that many kids and try to increase their skills as you go further in the unit. Hopefully you will be able to teach them a lot of skills and invite the Principal back in to take a look, just to see how far they have come.

Good luck


Ali says:
11/18/2013 at 2:23:11 AM

I use this drill during the first practice of the season (and the first few practices). I have the girls call out the receivers first name every time the ball is passed. I do this so they'll learn each other's names.


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