Passing Tips for the Basketball Inbound Passer

The best inbound teams I have coached have all had one thing in common…they have had a better than average inbound passer to enter the basketball. 

It is not as easy as it seems to inbound the ball. Breaking down all aspects of inbound offense is an often neglected part of the basketball coaching process. One of the little things that can impact a close game is the ability of the inbound passer to create an advantage for their team. Improving the inbound passer’s decision making and technique can eliminate unnecessary mistakes that can cost your team a game. 

The good thing is that the inbound passer can be developed.

Perception-Action Coupling and the Inbound Passer

So how do you practice and develop your inbound passer, and inbound play execution? The number one way is to skip the 5-on-0 inbound practice. With no defense, there are no decisions. We cannot develop the inbound passer’s ability to make decisions on air. Adding one or more defenders to the execution of a passing skill like the inbound pass, adds the perceptual component to the skill.

Perception-action coupling is the link between information perceived and actions chosen. Perception aids movement and movement aids perception so perception and action have a circular relationship.  An improved perception-action coupling will mean that a player is able to produce a more appropriate movement for the task. Since a basketball game is a dynamic scenario, the perceptual feedback is important. To improve the action of inbound passing, we must improve perception that leads to the action. 

Teaching Points for the Inbound Passer

Even if you don’t have a better than average inbound passer you can improve your inbound passer’s success by using this video, and nine teaching points.  

In this video you can see how a well-designed inbound play does not work because of a mistake by the inbound passer.

The inbound passer tips off the defender covering the ball by telegraphing their pass. The passer stares at the area where the cutter would be open if the play worked. The screen and slip action frees the cutter at the basket, but the pass is not made because the defender on the ball takes away the pass. The defender moves to a position between the passer and the weak side of the floor where the cutter would be open. This defender is tipped off to the possible direction of the play by the inbound passer. Their only way of knowing where the play is designed to free up the cutter is by reading the inbound passer’s eyes and body position.

Numerous teaching points can help the inbound passer improve their success at passing the ball inbound for an open shot, or for a safety pass.

Tips for Inbounder

Find a baseline inbound play that works for your team here:



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