Drill: Star Passing

Passing, in any team-related sport, is a fundamental, yet very important skill to develop for young athletes. In basketball, being able to pass and catch the ball will lead to open players, which also opens to door to scoring easy lay-ups or uncontested three-point shots. An advantage of quick and accurate passes involves keeping the defense on their feet and making it harder for them to know where the ball is moving next.

Basketball is a team sport, meaning that all players must get involved in the play and the team must work together to accomplish a goal (i.e. scoring a basket). With that said, passing still remains the most under-valued and less taught skill in practices. It is important to teach young basketball players all the fundamentals needed to further excel in the game.

This drill helps improve the player’s passing and catching skills, while being able to move the ball quickly and with a sufficient level of accuracy. During the drill have players step into their pass and call out the names of the teammates they are passing to. I think it is necessary for coaches to focus on passing as it is important to develop this skill and encourage teamwork and communication.

In the video shown below, there is a variation to the passing drill that can be added to your practices. Instead of the player passing the ball and staying stationary, following your pass is an important concept as well. Movement and passing go hand-in-hand as you want to “pass and cut” to create space for the team, produce open shots, and keep the defense moving. This coach also decided to implement a lay-up in the drill, which can be used as a variation option; however, is not necessary.

DESCRIPTION Divide players into groups of 5 or 6 people. Have each group spread out in a circle (or star) with one basketball per group. Coach determines a pattern for the ball to work around the circle. Each player should pass and receive the ball before the pattern repeats
SKILL FOCUS Passing, receiving, coordination, speed, balance
AGE (STAGE) 6+ (FUNdamentals Stage)
EQUIPMENT  1 basketball per group
VARIATION: Star Passing Spread players apart so passes are further away

Practice each type of pass (bounce, chest, baseball throw, etc.)

Introduce more basketballs into the drill — challenging concentration levels

Reverse the pattern by flipping the direction

Introduce defenders to act as guided defense in an attempt to disrupt passes

With more players, allow the passers to follow their pass to the next line (as shown in video above)

Key Teaching Points Coach passers to step in to their pass, follow-through with their hands

Ensure catchers are providing the passers with a target – show the passers where to pass the ball

Teach players to communicate with each other (ex. calling the player’s name they are passing to)

Encourage passers to increase the speed of passing for an individual/team challenge

Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!

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