The chest pass is the most common pass in basketball and will be used most frequently in games. To teach the chest pass, have the passer hold a ball at chest level with both hands, knees slightly bent, and feet shoulder-width apart (see figure 3.1a). The passer should then square up to the target with both shoulders, establish a pivot foot and then step with the opposite foot, and pass the ball to the partner, finishing with hands fully extended and thumbs pointing in and down (see figure 3.1b). The passer should focus on stepping into the pass and on snapping the pass with both hands so that the basketball travels into the hands of the receiver at about chest level. Tell players to make it zing.
Even at an early age, it’s important to emphasize that the ball should stay in flight for as little time as possible. The longer it takes for the pass to reach the receiver, the easier it is for the opposing team to intercept the ball. So, discourage high-arching moon-balls and the soft one-handed toss. Make it clear that a great pass isn’t just the product of a strong arm. A player who relies on just his arm to make a pass will be throwing the ball away more often than not. But even the smallest, scrawniest player on the court can deliver a smart pass by using his entire body.