2-Player Basketball Passing Drills

basketball passing

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Basketball passing tends to be one of the most under-emphasized and neglected parts of the game. Don't let that be the case on your team.

Effective offenses depend on players who can move the ball sharply with purpose around the court. And players who can deliver the ball consistently and accurately to open teammates are invaluable.

Improve your youth players' basketball passing and catching skills with these challenging practice drills for two people. These drills don't even require access to a gym. All that's needed is a ball and a buddy.

Partner Basketball Passing Drills
1. Partner Passing Series

This is a great drill for combining a whole bunch of basketball skills. Once players get the hang of it, they can move continuously throughout the entire series without stopping and get an excellent passing workout. Work on each type of pass at every step in the series.

Step back

Start about 5 feet apart with a chest pass and gradually move farther back until players aren't able to make a good chest pass anymore. Repeat with different passes.

Rapid fire

Pass as quickly as possible back and forth for 30 seconds. Adjust the time and passing distance to make it more challenging.

Jump stop

Meet the ball each time with a jump stop. Catch it, square up to partner, get on balance, and pass it back.

Square up

After each catch, jump stop and square up to an imaginary basket. Rotate the imaginary basket to different locations to work on squaring up with different pivot feet.

Ball fake

Before making a pass, give at least one pass fake and/or shot fake. Pretend to pass in one direction and make the pass in another. Pretend to take a shot and make the pass instead.

Shooting form

After catching the ball, bring it into the shooting pocket, square up to the basket, and shoot the ball with good arc and shooting form so that it lands about 3-5 feet away. Chase down the ball and pass it back to partner.

This drill works on catching the ball in preparation to shoot, getting balanced, and performing good shooting technique.

Bad pass

Passer intentionally throws a bad pass to partner. It can be too hard, too high, too low, or off to one side so the receiver has to chase it down. Catch the ball, get set, and throw a bad pass back.

This drill helps develop good hands and teaches players the need to always be ready to move for the ball.

Target hand

Receiver holds up a target hand, and the passer tries to hit it. The target can be the right hand, left hand, or both. Always catch the ball with two hands.

This gets catchers in the habit of getting their hands up and ready and letting their passers know where they want the ball. It also helps the passers work on their accuracy.

Dribble

Take a couple dribbles in any direction, jump stop, and make a pass. Alternate dribbling to the right and left to work on both hands.

High Low Sweep

Before passing the ball, move it around as if being guarded by a defender trying to take away the passing lanes. Aggressively move it above the head for an overhead pass and then sweep it down just below the knees as if about to dribble. Then pass it.

Pivot

When catching the pass, jump stop and establish a pivot foot. Rotate a few times as if being closely guarded and then deliver the pass. Alternate pivot foot each time. 

Turn around

The receiver starts with his back to his partner. As the passer releases the ball, he yells, "Ball!" and the receiver turns around quickly to catch it.

This is a great drill for working on reaction time and locating the ball quickly. For a fun challenge, the passer can throw a bad pass that the catcher has to chase down after he turns around.


Partner Basketball Passing Drills 
2. Partner Passing with a Dummy Defender

If you have a third person who can play defense in the middle that's good, but you can also use an object like a trash can, traffic cone, lawn chair, or anything you find that can serve as an obstacle.

Each player needs an obstacle in front of her. Work on each type of pass, but before throwing it, players have to use a ball fake and/or step around the "defender."

To catch the pass, the receivers needs to move from behind the "defender," showing a target hand so the passer can throw a leading pass.

Partner Basketball Passing Drills 
3. Partner Passing on the Move

With a partner and a ball, stand facing each other about 5 feet apart. Pass and slide down the court. Make quick passes and lead the receiver so she catches the ball at her chest. Take short, lateral slides without crossing the feet.

Try to make it to the end of the court without dropping a pass. Then come back in the other direction. Work on the different types of passes.

  • Go faster - Speed up the feet and the passes while staying in control without traveling.
  • Throw harder passes - Work on strengthening the hands and improving reaction time by passing the ball harder while still making accurate passes.
  • Adjust distance - Move closer or farther apart as necessary. The closer players are, the quicker the passes will be, which works on reaction time and good hands. The farther apart requires greater strength and works on passing accuracy.
  • Jog - Stand side by side about 5 feet apart facing the opposite end of the court. Jog to the other end while making good passes back and forth. Start slowly to get the hang of it. Catch it under control with two hands every time and pass it back before taking any steps. Stop and regain control if necessary before passing. This drill is great for teaching players how to get the ball down the floor during the fast break.

Partner Basketball Passing Drills
4. Passing with Pressure

Set up targets around the playing area. Use chairs, trash cans, marks on the wall, or whatever else you find.

The passer tries to hit each target with a different type of pass while his partner applies defensive pressure to try to block the pass.

Passer: Use pivots and ball fakes to get around the defender's hands.

Defender: Don't touch the passer. If it's too difficult for the passer, back off a little and play more dummy-type defense only giving about half effort.

Partner Basketball Passing Drills
5. Partner Passing with 2 Balls

To spice up basketball passing practice, this drill adds a little more difficulty and also works on player communication. Players have a lot of fun with this drill, and it requires a lot of concentration.

Each player starts with a ball. They pass them at the same time in various passing combinations. It's important that each player perform the correct pass or else the balls will collide in the middle.

  • One high, one low - One player passes a chest pass while the other makes a bounce pass. Reverse roles.
  • One-hand push pass - Both players make a right hand push pass. Then pass with the left hand.
  • One overhead, one bounce - One player makes an overhead pass while the other makes a bounce pass. Reverse roles.
  • One-hand bounce with right hand, turn around - Each player makes a one-hand bounce pass with the right hand and turns around quickly before receiving the pass. Try it with the left hand.

Related articles

20 Fundamentals of a Good Pass

12 Tips for Catching a Pass

6 Types of Basketball Passes

1-Player Basketball Passing Drills


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