Passing & Receiving Ideas
from Don Meyer
- There aren’t many great passers anymore. Most perimeter players are able to dribble, and some can shoot, but not many can pass. It is quickly becoming a lost art.
- Great passing teams are happy teams.
- Players must understand who they are passing to and the current situation. It does no good to throw a pass to a great 3-point shooter inside the 3-point arc, and it does no good to pass to a post man that can’t dribble on the break when he will have to put the ball on the floor to get to the rim.
- The bounce pass is used in tight quarters (penetrating guard using the bounce pass to the post) and can be used on cuts to the rim (example: back cut on the wing). We don’t want any bounce passes on the perimeter, and a general rule of thumb is no bounce passes anytime the player is moving away from the basket.
- We like to use the chest pass in the open court (transition) or when our guards are spaced on the perimeter (much quicker than the one-handed flick pass). The legs must be used for velocity.
- We tell our players that if they can’t successfully make solid, catchable passes to the post, they can’t play. We work on post feeds a lot. On the baseline post feed, we want our players to dribble down to get the proper angle, and then we teach our players to step across with the inside foot to shield the pass from their defender (one of the only times we violate our concept of permanent pivot foot)
- On all bounce passes (including post feeds), we want the ball to hit 2/3 of the distance from the passer to the receiver. We also want the passer to turn the wrist from inwards to outwards so that the ball digs into the floor and spins into the receiver.
- On all catches, we want the following: “Ball in the Air, Feet in the Air” so that we can catch with two feet and then use our permanent pivot foot.
- On all catches, we want the receiver to meet the ball (shorten the pass). Most passes are intercepted when the receiver doesn’t shorten the pass, allowing the defense to shoot through the passing lane.
- “Every pass is a shot” Perimeters must believe that their pass will lead to the success or failure of the shot. A good pass in the shooting pocket will lead to a rhythm shot, whereas a pass too low or too high will get the shooter out of his rhythm, and may take the shot opportunity away (defense has time to react).
Transition Game Ideas
- In the primary 2v1 break, we teach our ballhandling guard that they must attack the defense with the intent to score. They only make the pass to the receiver when the defense fully commits to their penetration.
- In the 2v1 break, we want our offensive players to split the floor into 1/3’s, approximately one yard outside of the free throw lane. As they get closer to the hoop, they will progressively get closer to each other. We want the ball in the inside hand of the ball-handler (better angle to make the bounce pass to the finisher).
- In the 3v2 break, we want our ball-handler to go towards our best shooter and away from our best finisher at the rim (ball-handler must immediately recognize the strength of his teammates). The ball-handler must attack the first line of defense and occupy that defender. At that point in time, the defense must make a decision to guard the hoop or cheat to guard the best shooter. If the bottom defender protects the hoop, the shooter will have an open look, and if the bottom defender cheats to guard the shooter, the finisher will have an open look at the rim. The key is to occupy the top defender and be able to make a quick read on the bottom defender (requires a point guard with a high skill level).
- We want our point guard to receive the outlet as deep as safely possible. On the catch, we want his body opened up to the middle of the floor, or if he has to catch facing the opposing basket, we want him to pivoand turn to the middle of the floor. We prefer the catch to be wide (near the sidelines) so that the angle is good to make the pitch-ahead pass to the near-side wing, or the point-to-post “lob” pass to a post running the rim. If the guard catches in the middle of the floor, there is typically a lot of traffic and passing angles diminish.
- We want our wings (2s and 3a) to run the wings as wide as possible. In fact, in practice, we have them run near the sideline or even run out of bounds to emphasize running wide. Once the rebound is secured, they must immediately begin to sprint the lane.
- Point guards are looking to pitch ahead to the near side wing, go point-to-post to the streaking post man (typically must pass before the ball gets to the half court line), or look for the diagonal pass to the opposite wing (aim the pass to the far corner).
- Point guards can also “cross main street” by using the 4 man who is trailing as a moving screen. This is a great way to get a quick ball reversal, which forces the defense to rotate.
- If the point guard has no options to pass the ball ahead to a teammate, we want our point guards to look to penetrate in secondary transition. We tell our point guards to “crack the shell” of the defense. It is crucial that the near side wing is wide & low enough, and that the trailer stays well behind the 3-point line to space the floor and discourage help-side defense. On the penetration, the low-post must drop into an alley near or behind the hoop to give the guard room to get to the rim or passing angles on any post help.
- If the point guard is a great shooter, we work on the pull-up 3 in transition, especially in a 2v1 or 3v2 setting. This shot is very difficult to make, but it is almost impossible to defend, without giving up an easy lay-up (especially in 2v1).