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Mastering the Basketball Bounce Pass

Professional players
Last Updated on: June 16, 2023

Professional players

Mastering the basketball bounce pass is crucial especially when you’re up against a challenging opponent. Focusing on practicing bounce passes is a great way for a point guard to work on their passing skills. The reason a player would use this type of pass is if another player on the team pops open or a player back cuts. But with this pass, you won’t be able to pick up and take your time on the pass which leaves the best option of making a one hand push pass off the dribble.

Why You Need to Master This Move

When you’re practicing at home or at the gym, the go-to training tool is the basketball return system, but these devices are often used for players who practice alone and want to maximize their time when practicing shooting skills. Passing is a whole new ball game, so you’ll need to change the way you practice. Passing is all about working with your team members on the court, so when you practice this type of move, you’ll need to do so with a friend, family member, or teammate.

Learning how to make this pass will take a lot of practice and dedication. Unfortunately, if you don’t use this pass the right way, you’ll increase your risk of turnovers, or if you use it without first mastering it, then you may as well just hand the ball over to the opposing team.

Basketball is a game that is heavily based on team effort. This means that a player should put their best foot forward during a game and ensure that their moves are synced and well-coordinated with their teammates. They will also need to learn the basketball court layout and find the sweet spots on the court that are easier for them to take and make a shot. Mastering bounce passes and variations of this pass will be the key to winning a game.

Passing Practice Techniques

The bounce pass is one of the basic moves every player should focus on mastering. This pass can be thrown with both hands or, just one, depending on how you are being guarded. One-handed passes are the most common and will allow you to have one side free and you’ll be less restricted in terms of movement and you’ll have the ability to pass the ball more creatively. One-handed passes can be used to hit a backdoor cutter, swing the ball, or feed a post. The majority of the time a player will use this move in order to shield defenders from the ball, using their opposite hand to throw the pass.

List of techniques

  • When you use a bounce pass, you want the ball to hit the floor around three-quarters of the way between your target and you, allowing the ball to rise to your teammate’s chest.
  • For a two-handed pass, you’ll want to start the ball at chest level, take a step toward a teammate, then push the ball to your teammate.
  • When you’re throwing a bounce pass there are a few things you want to remember: you must move toward the intended target allowing the ball to follow where your feet move. You will also need to use both your feet to get around a defender when they’re between you and your target.
  • If you’re good at passing then you can throw some crisp passes. This will be important for a two-handed pass. When you flick your wrist, your thumb should be pointing toward the floor.
  • When you throw a lofted soft pass, a lot of turnovers are committed because this gives the defender more time to intercept the ball. You’ll want the ball to get to your target as fast as possible unless you’re throwing a pass to a low-post player.

Bounce Pass Fake Outs

If you consider yourself a great passer then you must fake out the defense with your eyes to avoid committing turnovers. Taking a defender out with your eyes is important if your teammate’s wide open. However, if you’re dealing with a closely guarded player, then you’ll throw a ball using your eyes to make the defense think you’re passing to another player. If done correctly, this move works every time.

Variations of the Bounce Pass & Different Types of Passes

The bounce pass is one of two important passes that the player must master. With the bounce pass, the ball is thrown to the floor, causing it to bounce to the intended teammate. The other type of pass is called the air pass. This type of pass travels between two players without touching the floor.

When learning passes, the points of emphasis should include making a good pass that a teammate can catch. Additionally, all players should learn to step toward the receiver when they’re passing, and when catching step toward the pass. The ball should have some backspin to it like when shooting. This can be accomplished by simply following through on a pass.

Chest-Standard Pass

This pass earned its name because it originates from the chest. The ball is thrown by holding the sides of the ball with the thumbs placed directly behind the ball. When you throw the ball, the fingers rotate behind it, with the thumbs turned down. The follow-through for this pass involves the back of the hands facing each other, with the thumbs placed straight down. This pass gives the ball some great backspin.

When you throw this type of pass, you should throw it to your teammate’s chest. Make sure you shoot this pass low to high since a high to low pass is tricky to catch.


This pass is typically used as an outlet pass. To execute, the ball should be thrown directly above the forehead. Both hands should be placed on each side of the ball. Instead of aiming for your teammate’s chest, you’ll aim for the chin. Some players advise against bringing the ball behind the head since it can easily get stolen. Additionally, passing the ball in this manner also makes it take longer to pass.

Wraparound-Bounce Variation

Using your non-pivot foot, step around the defense. The ball should be passed using one hand. It can be used as a bounce pass or an air pass. You’ll usually see this pass as an air pass on the wraparound and the perimeter. It’s typically used as a bounce pass to make an entry to the post.


This is a one-handed pass that relies on the same motion used to throw a baseball. This pass is often used to make a longer pass.


If you want to quickly pass the ball, then, you’ll use this pass with one hand off the dribble. This can be used as a bounce pass or air pass.

Behind the Back

This type of pass involves wrapping the ball around the back in order to throw it. It’s often used in order to avoid an opposing playing when making a pass across the front can be a big risk. Do not attempt to use this type of pass until you’ve mastered it since using poor technique can easily result in a turnover.

Bounce Pick and Roll

You can use this pass when you’re double-teamed. If you’re dribbling to the left, your right side is facing the target, so bring up the ball from the left side and throw it overhead to the screener who has popped to the perimeter or rolled to the basket. Rely on this pass to shield the ball from a defender. It’s often thrown in the class hook shot style. More experienced players can usually use the pick and roll pass when they’re fading away slightly from the defender.

Best Passing Tips

Once you master the traditional bounce pass and air pass, then you can advance to the more challenging passes, such as wraparounds. Additionally, there are many drills you can use to help you master these passes. Passing drills allow you to focus on how to smoothly pass the ball to your teammate, and what you can do to reduce turnovers.

Below, you’ll find some great tips that you can incorporate into your usual practice sessions.

  • Try training using two balls simultaneously. This drill will require a couple of players and helps to improve accuracy. This drill focuses on improving passing speed.
  • When passing, the space that’s between players is very important. With the wrong distance, a player’s throw can easily become intercepted.
  • Reducing the passing length is somewhat connected to learning how to eyeball the spacing between you and another player. A player should try to minimize the distance as much as possible before they attempt to pass the ball.

Mistakes to Avoid

  • A beginner will often miss the target when they use too much force. A player knows their commanding and weak hand and should apply force accordingly.
  • Practicing often will help improve your passing accuracy. A player should train with a focus on throwing more accurately, not just throwing faster.
  • Does the ball usually get stolen when you pass? This probably doesn’t do much for your confidence and can even cause you to hang onto the ball longer than you should. Practice your overhead and bounce passes and avoid using other types of advanced passes.

Reducing Turnovers

Learning how to reduce turnovers is crucial. During practice, focus on overload drills which are designed to build strength and speed. Using a two-ball pass drill, such as middle-man passing or machinegun passing, practice with a friend for twenty minutes a day. Use drills that will force you to make one-handed passes, such as pound passing. Make sure you use your weak hand for these passes since these drills will help to build strength.

  • Try scrimmaging without dribbling. This will help you focus on making effective passes, passing angles, and can teach you more about spacing. While this can seem frustrating in the beginning, it will really do wonders for your performance.
  • A player who isn’t willing to pass isn’t fun to play with and is someone who needs to focus more on their teamwork. Make sure that you’re a willing passer. Make sure you focus on passing the ball to your teammates that are open, instead of hogging the ball. Be a player that’s fun to play with and one that shares the ball often.
  • Even if your teammates can’t catch your passes, keep throwing the ball. While they may not be able to catch your passes today, they’ll eventually grow as players and be able to catch those passes. You may get frustrated with players on your team who often drop a pass or miss a layup. Try paying more attention to who you pass to and adjust your velocity or delivery, just don’t stop passing to them.

List of Bonus techniques

  • Always try to pass the ball in the opposite direction it came from. If you get a pass from a player on your left, the correct pass should be your teammate on the right. Why? because the defense needs to adjust when the ball is reversed. The more you make the defense adjust and move, the more likely your team will find a smooth opportunity to take a shot.
  • Pass the ball at different angles. Pass using either hand, across your body, above your head, or from down by your knee. The more angles and places you pass from, the more challenging you’ll be as a passer. If possible, find a teammate that’s willing to play catch and you can try out passing using different release points and angles.
  • Avoid jumping in the air when you pass. When you jump in the air with the ball in your hands, only do so if you’re going to shoot. If you jump with passing in mind and the passing lane is shut off, adjusting to take a shot will be difficult. Stay on your feet to pass.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to pass can pose a real challenge, especially if you struggle with the basics. However, committing to practice and finding a teammate dedicated to practicing these moves with you can make learning straight bounce passes and advanced passes simple. Mastering the basketball bounce pass goes beyond winning; it is a crucial passing skill for building a team. Players must understand that winning a game is not possible alone. Without hours of practice and team effort, a game can easily slip away. Passing a ball is a vital skill that every player should focus on mastering, including variations of the bounce pass and air pass. If you are new to the game, now is the time to start practicing in order to experience significant improvements in your performance before the basketball season begins.