The Baseball Pass is one of the passes in basketball that players will experiment with by default. In attempting to generate more power for a longer pass or to try and accelerate the ball faster when passing the fundamental action of the Baseball Pass will often be employed by players. Teaching the technique early therefore is something that can cut off any possible problems before they become immediate concerns.
There are a number of teaching points that will assist in maximising the performance of this technique. These include:
Pass out of a Triple Threat Stance: As with all passes having players practice passing out of a triple threat stance initially will assist in creating balance and control. As players develop the coordination to perform the Baseball Pass more effectively the pass can always be practiced from a running start so players become accustom with passing using the technique on the run.
Bring the Back over the Passing Arm: The Baseball Pass is a one handed passing action. Players will need to be comfortable with controlling the ball in on hand. This action will help in generating power to perform the pass through creating a larger range of motion in the shoulder and activating more muscles.
For younger players this maybe a struggle in performing the Baseball Pass correctly as the weight of the basketball itself may cause issues with supporting the basketball only with one hand.
Rotate at the Hips so Non-throwing Shoulder Points to Target: This action in the technique is one of the important aspects for generating power. This action will also help the passer to line up their body with the intended target improving control and accuracy.
Step Forward to Target as the Passing Side Hip Rotates Back and Towards the Target: The snapping action caused as the player steps forward and rotates the hips will generate significant amounts of power. This allows the energy generated in the feet and legs to be coordinated so the force flows through the body and into the passing arm.
Lead with Elbow and Extend Arm Fully to point at Target: Fully extending the arm will allow for maximum power to be imbedded into the basketball at the time of the pass. Extending the arm also plays another important role in helping direct the basketball towards the target. If the player ensures that their passing arm points to the target the ball will be more likely to head in this direction.
Snap Wrist to put Backspin on the Ball: Backspin on the basketball helps the player receiving the pass to catch the ball and have it stick in the palms of the hands. Fingers of the passing hand should finish point to the ground. The stronger the snapping action the more backspin that will be imparted onto the ball and assist in keeping the ball at the low trajectory during the flight of the ball.
The Baseball Pass is a solid technique for passing in the full court. Often employed as a way of advancing the ball fast up the floor.
Passing on the run will allow the Baseball Pass to become for beneficial to teams in fast break or primary transition phases of play. This is one of the more difficult scenarios to execute the pass however and some practice will be required to perform he action and master keeping the ball low and flat while in the air between passer and receiver.