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Passing Under Pressure: Drills To Hit Your Mark

  • Author:
    By Michael Lee
  • Date:
    Jun 14, 2011

Basketball passing has to be made under pressure, when the lanes are barely open and long-armed defenders are trying their hardest to get a piece of the basketball.

Ganon Baker Basketball offers these practice drills that will work on your passing in a number of high-pressure situations, so you will be able to cut down on turnovers, boost your assist totals and help your team win crucial basketball games.

Here are seven great passing drills that will improve your game.

Chicago Bulls Passing: Nash Series

In the Nash Series we focus on throwing passes off the dribble. In a game you don't always have time to get two hands on the ball and throw a two-handed pass. When you see an opening you need to be able to drop the dime on time. You can perform this series with a partner while you are throwing passes simultaneously or use a wall. If you are using a wall make sure you pick out a target or better yet, tape one on the wall so you have an area to focus on.

  1. Right Hand-Left Hand Alternate in the Air. (No Dribbles)
  2. Right Hand-Left Hand Alternate off the Pound Dribble
  3. Right Hand Pound-Right To Left Cross-Pass
  4. Left Hand Pound-Left to Right Cross-Pass
  5. Right Hand Pound-Right to Left Between Legs-Pass
  6. Left Hand Pound-Left to Right Between Legs-Pass
  7. Right Hand Pound-Right to Left Behind the Back-Pass
  8. Left Hand Pound-Left to Right Behind the Back-Pass
  9. Right Hand Pound-Righty Behind the Back Air Pass and Bounce Pass
  10. Left Hand Pound-Lefty Behind the Back Air Pass and Bounce Pass

Chicago Bulls Passing: Ball Wrap Series

In the ball wrap series we start out just as you would performing a stationary ball wrap and then turning it into an underhand flip pass.

  1. Left hand to Right, Through Inside of Right Leg, Right Flip
  2. Right Hand to Left, Through Inside Left Leg, Lefty Flip
  3. Alternate: Left Leg Wrap Lefty Flip, Right Leg Wrap Righty Flip
  4. Figure 8 to Flip Pass: Right Leg, Left Leg, Lefty Flip and vice versa
  5. Player 1: Bounce Pass. Player 2: Chest Pass and vice versa
  6. Alternate Bounce and Chest Passes
  7. Righty Behind the Back: Air Pass and Bounce Pass
  8. Lefty Behind the Back: Air Pass and Bounce Pass

Pivot Passing: Passing Under Pressure Teaching Points

  • Pivot Before you Pass under pressure, No straight line passes.
  • Fake a Pass, Make a Pass
  • Practice Pivoting on both feet. You don't want to get caught crippled in a pressure situation where you are only comfortable pivoting on your dominant foot.
  1. Strong Side Step -- Wrap Around Pass (Extend Arm, Lock Elbow, Snap Wrist)
  2. Crossover Step (Rip Pivot) -- Pass
  3. Crossover Step (Rip Pivot) -- Front Pivot -- Pass
  4. Nash Pivot (Square on outside foot) -- Front Pivot Back to Opposite Side

How to Drill:

1-on-1 Passing

  • Use one or two dribbles, come to a stride stop and make a pivot pass
  • Work on one of the four "Pivot Passes" and make a pass to your partner
  • Your partner goes one or two hard dribbles, comes to stride stop and makes a pivot pass
  • Go 1 Minute Sets

1-on-2 Passing

  • Focus of this drill is passing under pressure out of a double team.
  • Start with two offensive players spaced about 15 feet apart with two defensive players in between them. One of the defensive players has a basketball. The defensive player with the basketball throws the ball to one of the offensive players and both defensive players close out and double team the offensive player.
  • The offensive player has to wait until the defense reaches them and then beat the double team. He cannot pass the ball out of the double team as soon as he catches it.
  • Offensive player has a maximum of two dribbles to beat the double team
  • The second offensive player receiving the pass cannot move to catch the pass
  • After the pass is made the two defensive players sprint to double team the second offensive player.

1-on-1-on-1 Passing

  • Start three players in a line about five feet each away from each other. The middle player has a basketball, throws a pass and closes out on one of the other players.
  • The player who receives the basketball has to wait until the defensive player touches him and then it is live. Vary the drill giving the offensive player zero, one or two dribbles. His goal is to complete a pass to the other offensive player.
  • After he makes his pass he follows the ball and closes out to play defense.
  • The original defensive player becomes the offensive player.
  • Go for one minute and see which player can get the most touches or deflections.

2-Ball 1-on-1-on-1 Passing

  • Follow the same rotations as above
  • Defensive player in the middle starts with 2 ball stationary and throws 2 passes off the dribble to one of the offensive players.
  • He then closes out and plays defense trying to get a deflection while the offensive player dribbles 2 balls and is trying to throw the 1st ball off the dribble to the other offensive player. He can then use both hands to throw the 2nd ball or he has to throw both off the dribble.
  • Passer then closes out on the offensive player and becomes the defender. The 1st defender becomes the offensive player who will receive the pass.

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