Passing Tips for the Basketball Inbound Passer

The value of the basketball inbound passer cannot be overstated. From my experience coaching various teams, the most successful inbound plays often hinge on the proficiency of the inbound passer. However, mastering the art of inbound passing is far from simple. It requires a keen understanding of timing, positioning, and decision-making, yet it’s a facet of the game that is often overlooked in coaching discussions.

Yet, the reality is that the inbound passer plays a crucial role in determining the outcome of close games. Their ability to efficiently deliver the ball into play can create crucial advantages for their team, while any lapses in decision-making or technique can lead to costly turnovers. Recognizing this, coaches must dedicate time and attention to developing their inbound passers, honing their skills to perfection.

The good news is that the inbound passer’s effectiveness can be cultivated through deliberate practice and coaching. In this blog, we’ll delve into the intricacies of inbound passing, exploring techniques and strategies to enhance the inbound passer’s performance and ultimately elevate the team’s overall success. Whether you’re a coach looking to refine your players’ skills or an inbound passer seeking to improve your game, this guide will provide invaluable insights to help you thrive in crucial inbound situations.

Perception-Action Coupling and the Basketball 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 basketball 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 Basketball Inbound Passer

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



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