Basketball 101: Types of Passes

Basketball isn’t a one-player game. Working on your passing can help you boost your team’s performance on the court.

A team’s success on the hardwoodan boil down to how well the players work together. And that usually starts with their ability to pass the ball.

Great passers understand when to use the different types of passes that exist in the game of basketball,” collegiate basketball coach Jason Ronai says. “The most commonly used passes are the chest pass, push pass, bounce pass and overhead pass.”


To complete a chest pass:

  • Pass the ball from your chest area using two hands.
  • Aim for your teammate’s chest.
  • Chest passes can be used when you’re not guarded heavily.


The push pass is used most often when closely guarded. This pass is similar to the chest pass, except you push with one hand while taking a step to create space from your defender.

To complete a push pass:

  • Push the ball with one hand toward your teammate’s chest area or shooting pocket.
  • Use the hand farthest from the defender to pass the ball. This will typically be your right hand when passing right and left hand when passing left.


The bounce pass is frequently used when your on-ball defender has their hands high and you still need to make a pass. The bounce pass to a teammate regularly occurs when making a post-entry pass or a pass from the post back out to a teammate if the post player is double teamed.

  • Bounce the ball with strength, so that the ball bounces off the floor to the chest height of your teammate.


You can use the overhead pass (also known as a skip pass) to move the ball from one side of the court to the other. This can be an effective way to reverse the ball to the opposite end of the court when other passes aren’t open so a teammate can receive it with enough time to take a quality shot.

  • Raise the ball above your head.
  • Use both hands to make a hard, accurate throw to a teammate across the court.
  • Aim for your teammate’s chest, head or above their head, depending on how closely they are guarded.

“As you watch basketball games on TV, try to identify the various types of passes and when they are most often used,” Ronai says. “That knowledge will make you a more comfortable and effective basketball player.”

Passing is an essential part to a team’s success on offense. Working on your team’s post-to-post passing is a good way to help open up the offensive zone.