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The Demise Of The Bounce Pass In Basketball

In every sport spectators have their favorite play. In baseball, it might be the squeeze play or the inside-the-park homer. In football, it might be a perfectly executed screen pass or draw play. In basketball, it might be the pick and roll or the dunk off an “ally oop” pass. My favorite in basketball has been the bounce pass, particularly on a fast break, either two-on-one or three-on-one. I’m not sure why, but I always loved seeing a bounce pass hit a player perfectly on target while the player is in stride. I also love watching the bounce pass in general. Former pro player, Oscar Robertson, who was a favorite of mine, had an outstanding bounce pass that always seemed to hit his target 100% of the time. Larry Bird was another favorite of mine. He was the master at throwing long bounce passes that always seemed to be inches away from the defender’s fingertips. More recently, Pete Carril’s “Princeton’s Offense” used the bounce pass to almost perfection in their offense.His offense consisted of a lot of motion with all five players. When one takes a sudden move to the basket, he receives a bounce pass and usually lays the ball in. This is somewhat simplified, but Pete Carril, a coach who won over 500 games without any scholarship players, predicated his offense around the bounce pass and lay up.

On the youth basketball level, many players will try to emulate older players and begin shooting three point shots. I remember watching a practice once where the coach wouldn’t allow his players to take the court until they practiced 50 chest passes and 50 bounce passes against a wall while trying to hit a target of masking tape. Youth basketball coaches should encourage players to practice all types of passes in a practice. Coaches can be creative and set up scrimmages that require three bounce passes before a shot or a scrimmage when only bounce passes are used.

Bounce passes are just one aspect of the game of basketball where practice and perfection will make better for fundamentals and better all around ball players. Coaches should spend time giving attention to this great skill in basketball.


Marty Schupak has coached youth sports for 18 years and is the creator of the videos "Driveway Basketball Drills" and “48 Championship Basketball Drills. He is also creator of “The 59 Minute Baseball Practice” and “Championship Soccer Drills” videos and is author of the best selling book “Youth Baseball. Drills”. He is President of the Basketball Coach One and the Youth Sports Club, a group dedicated to making sports practices and games more creative and enjoyable for kids.