Passing Principles to Consider
by Rick Torbett
PASSING RULE AGAINST PLAYER-TO-PLAYER DEFENSE; ESPECIALLY IF YOUR OFFENSE IS USING A LOT OF OFF-THE-BALL SCREENING:
RULE: Corners pass fast; Wings pass medium; Anywhere Up-Top pass slow
WHY: Corner and Wing players are going to be using and setting the screens. When the ball is Up-Top, it can see the screening actions on the entire half-court. In this position there’s no ball-side or weak-side. In addition, if nothing is open, holding the ball Up-Top gives the team a chance to clear and “space” and get ready again.
PASSING RULE AGAINST ZONES: DO THE OPPOSITE OF ABOVE.
RULE: Corners pass slow; wings medium; Top fast
WHY: Against zones, your team should swing the ball fast from one side of the floor to the other. But when the ball slows down at the wing or corner, it gives your cutters, flashers and pin screeners time to do their work.
PASSING RULE AGAINST PACK-LINE PLAYER-TO-PLAYER:
RULE: Have a Pass-Pass-Hold rule (PPH) in contrast to Pass-Hold-Pass-Hold, etc rule.
WHY: The pack line allows the ball to be passed around the perimeter. Therefore a Pass-Pass-Hold rule will require defenders change their positions twice – and almost immediately. As an example, if you are guarding the ball and a “Pass-Pass-Hold” occurs, you’ve gone from guarding the ball to being two passes away almost immediately – being one-pass-away occurred so fast that you didn’t have time to make that adjustment.
CONCLUSION: “Pass-Pass-Hold” makes the defense jump two defensive positions at a time. This creates Close-Outs, which are technically difficult to perform; Close-Outs are scoring opportunities. PPH also creates Gaps into which the ball can be driven or passed. Even against good teams, look for “position breakdowns” after two or three PPH’s in a row.
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