Drill: 2-Ball Partner Passing

Passing makes two people happy. Scoring only makes one person happy. – Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (via TJ McBride)

Well said, Nik. Well said.

You may have ever heard basketball folks say things like: The ball has energy. The ball was moving with energy. Move the ball and get more energy.

It’s often said that when you pass the ball, you are passing the energy that comes with it. So when Nikola Jokic says that passing the ball makes people happy, it’s not that hard to understand what he’s saying: by passing the ball, we get more players involved, and bring their energy into our team.

One of our favorite principles is the development of universal players, who are competent in all skills and can play all positions. Jokic is a perfect example of a universal player. This season he is averaging 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists. All as a 6’10 centre! (Stats accurate as of February 14, 2017.)

Those are incredible numbers, and Jokic’s ability to facilitate as a centre is a big reason why Denver, a team everyone had written off early in the season, is now in a playoff spot and recently knocked off the league-leading Golden State Warriors. By passing the ball Jokic is involving more teammates in the game, and raising the level of everyone’s energy as a result.

Try infusing energy into your practices with some of these great partner passing drills – receiving twice as many reps as compared to regular partner passing.

2-Ball Partner Passing

DESCRIPTION Break players into partners, spaced on either side of the key, and advance through the progressions below:

Bounce Pass & Chest Pass (x15), Right-Hand Push Pass (x15), Left-Hand Push Pass (x15), Right-Hand Bounce Pass (x15), Left-Hand Bounce Pass (x15)

SKILL FOCUS Passing, Receiving, Footwork
AGE (STAGE) 8+ (Learn-to-Train)
PLAYERS 2 per group
EQUIPMENT 1 basketball per player
  1. Increase the distance of the pass.
  2. Involve a third passer (form a triangle).
  3. Add a defender guarding the ball.
  4. Add a dribble before the pass.

We love to encourage sharing the ball and spreading energy. Share your favorite passing drills in the comments below!

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