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Basketball Passing Drills for Beginners and Intermediate Players

Female High
Last Updated on: June 16, 2023

Female High

Basketball Passing Drills for Beginners will be crucial to developing a player’s ability to pass, which is one of the keys to a successful basketball team. A basketball team’s offense is the basis of its aptitude for passing the ball between each player effectively in order to create more abilities to shoot on the court. The drills included in this guide can be used by coaches and players during practice in order to see some major improvements on the court. Of course, these drills should be practiced with two or more people in order to perfect smooth passing skills.

 Perfecting Passing Techniques

If a player is unable to pass, then they’ll make it easy for the opposition to defend the ball and they’ll find it extremely complicated to get into a scoring position. This guide’s going to go over some great passing drills and tips that can have you on your game during a game. You can practice these drills at home, using a good wall-mounted hoop, or during team practice.

The list of drills can be used by both coaches and players and should be practiced consistently in order to achieve the desired results, boost a player’s confidence and skills on the court, and teach players passing fundamentals.

Chest Passes

The chest pass is a common and effective drill used in practice. Players form a circle, approximately 16 feet in diameter, with one player starting in the middle.

A player in the circle passes the ball to the player in the middle and moves to take their place. The player in the middle passes to the next player, following the ball to a new position.

Players should deliver crisp chest passes, actively catching and passing without dropping the ball. Quick passing and movement are required throughout the drill. We can set targets based on players’ abilities, like completing 30 consecutive passes. If the ball is dropped, the drill restarts.

This drill helps players develop quick ball movement and court awareness, crucial for a fast attack.

Goal of this Drill

The goal of this drill is not only to teach players how to stay in the moment and focus on the ball as they smoothly and quickly pass it from one player to the next, but it will also teach them how to firmly grasp the ball and pass while moving. During a game they’re not always going to be able to stop and pick up a ball.

This drill can also be done in pairs. Each pair will begin with one ball and should side step down the court and every 2 steps pass the ball across to their partner. A beginner may struggle to play an accurate pass since moving quickly and passing the ball smoothly can be a tough adjustment. However, with enough practice they will begin passing to moving targets easily as they move, which is vitally important in the heat of the game.

Both types of drills utilize the chest pass, which is a very important part of the game.


Mastering the bounce pass can be difficult for players of any skill level. The technique behind this pass is basically the same as the chest pass. A player will hold the ball in front of their chest, placing their fingers forward and pointing their thumbs down. The player needs to step into the throw. Pushing through to move the ball to the next player, just like in the chest pass. However, bouncing the ball off the floor into the hands of their teammates is the main objective. Making this pass slower than the chest pass. If you want to learn more about this pass and how to master it, you can click here to read my in-depth article.


Players can perform drills for the overhead pass in pairs. In this drill, the ball starts above the player’s head while keeping their arms back and fingers up. Similar to the chest pass, the player should step into the throw, propelling the ball over their head and into the hands of another player. Players commonly use the overhead pass for inbound passes and stationary positions, such as passing after a rebound. Players typically employ this pass while on the move, eliminating the need for them to follow a trail involving passing and moving.

Designated Shooter

This is a great drill that is designed to improve every aspect of offense including passing. For this drill, one of the players or the coach will designate a shooter.

The rules of the drill are very simple. The shooter is the player who is the only one able to shoot the ball. The shooter can execute back door passes, cuts, bounce passes, and will do everything they need to do in order to get open. Every other player on the team is designated to get the shooter open. These players can screen, pass, or anything else necessary. The goal here is to keep the identity of the shooter away from the defense until the shooter is able to take a shot.

Interleaving and Variable Passes

You can use a mix of interleaving and variable drills that do not utilize defenders. The term variable means the types, angles, and distances of the passes are constantly changing. Interleaving refers to working with multiple concepts or skills at the same time. The benefits of these types of drills include improved passing and they’re perfect for warming up before a game. These drills allow coaches to reinforce concepts, techniques, and skills, and they’re a good choice for intermediate players.

Decision Making on the Court

On a team, it’s very common for a coach to solely focus on technique when it comes to passing drills. Unfortunately, they tend to forget about training a player’s decision-making ability when it comes to sharing the ball on the court. A player is not going to improve their endgame passing technique by making several chest pass repetitions. Of course, technique drills do you have a place, yet they’re not as important as decision-making drills.

On a team a coach must allow players to learn how to make correct passing decisions by reading the defense. Drills such 32 advance are very effective for this.

32 Advance

On a team, players will form three lines that spread out evenly along the baseline. Two at the outside lines will begin with the ball. Two or three players can progress up the court by passing the ball back and forth to the middle player, finishing the drill with a couple of layups. As players move up the floor, the outside player will pass to the ball in the middle line. When the player and the middle catches the pass the person on the middle line will instantly pass the ball back to the same player. The middle person then turns and receives the pass when the other outside player passes back to them immediately. Each player on the outside line can take two dribbles in order to avoid traveling. The group will continue up the court until the players make their way to the opposite 3-point line. Once this happens, you’ll see outside players finishing with the layup. The group of three will then wait at the opposite end for other teams of three to finish before they head back in the opposite direction

Swing Pass

In the swing pass relay drill, the team forms four lines. A player initiates the drill by executing a one-handed pass to the player on their right, who starts running along the baseline. The passer then joins the end of the line they passed to. This drill aims to warm up the muscles and enhance passing skills while in motion. It helps players practice passing to moving targets and develop the ability to catch passes without dribbling.

The Basketball Passing Drills for Beginners involve the player with the ball passing to the player on their right while they start jogging towards the next line. The receiver catches the ball while on the move, as another player starts jogging and makes a pass ahead of them. After each pass, the passer joins the line they passed to. This drill continues in a similar manner, with players passing the ball in the same direction. The passing direction can be changed after a specific time period.

Bronze Passing

This drill will begin on the edges of the baseline. Players should pair up and pass the ball back and forth using different types of passes as they fly down the court to another baseline. Once they reach the other baseline, both players will slide back closer to the sidelines and return using different passes to the players in the middle court. This is a great warm-up drill that involves a variety of passes in a short amount of time. Each player should incorporate passes of different types and lengths for players to practice.

Net Ball

This drill involves a regular scrimmage with no dribbling allowed. Games can be played three-on-three up to five on five. The purpose of this drill is to not only improve passing, but it can also teach players how to move without the ball, with a focus on cutting, and spacing. This drill can result in fewer turnovers and less over-dribbling in games.

Passing Routines

While incorporating every single drill may not be necessary for every practice, it is crucial to include some passing drills in each session. If you are a player, you can easily practice these drills with friends or teammates outside of team practice, especially if you lack confidence in your passing skills. I recommend dedicating at least twenty minutes, five days a week, or even more depending on your playing frequency, to practicing these drills during your free time. It’s important to remember that many of these drills also serve as excellent warm-up exercises, preparing your muscles for action, whether you are playing on a team or engaging in friendly matches with players from your neighborhood.

Final Thoughts

These Basketball Passing Drills for Beginners will teach players how to smoothly pass the ball from one member of the team to another. Additionally, they will focus on teamwork, attention on the court, and decision-making. Many players fail to realize that they must make important decisions in the heat of the game, such as whether to take the shot themselves or pass it to a teammate. Consistent practice of these drills will result in players on the court developing a closer bond and being able to read both their teammates and the defense for signs of a pass. To achieve the best results, coaches should include passing drills in every practice session. It is important to note that some of these drills are not beginner friendly and are better suited for intermediate or more experienced players. Thankfully, most coaches can assess their team’s capabilities and select the appropriate drills accordingly.