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Basketball Question on MakingThe Initial Pass

Picture of Basketball Player Passing The Ball

Picture of Basketball Player Passing The Ball

I teach a town league basketball team of 10 and 11 year old boys. I have one player that is skilled. Most others are developing their skills.

I have come up with a pretty simple offensive approach within a 1-3-1 scheme that seems to work when we can run it — 4 & 5 positions pick for point and wings, who drive to the basket.

But one area we really struggle with is making the initial pass to the wing. It is stolen probably 50% of the time. Reasons: 1) Point guard is not great ball handler and has little ability to use both dribble hands or blow past his man if guarded tightly 2) Wings struggle to create space with good V-cuts (although we have worked on this a lot).

The play that works best for us is when my skilled player is at the point and he drives down the middle using a pick at the high post. He can often score, or dish off at the basket. The problem with this is it does not get enough people involved. Also, he’s only in for 1/2 of the game.

Any suggestions on how we can have more success making this initial pass to get us into our offense? I will continue to work on ball handling and V-cuts, but I only have kids for 60-90 minutes once a week. Not enough to really make a difference. Thanks!

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Jan 14, 2008
A common mistake for youth basketball.
by: Joe Waters – webmasterHey Jim, thanks for the great basketball question.The entry pass, as simple as it seems, is one of the hardest skills to teach players…and have them execute it.

You’ve named all the reasons above – point guard not able to make the pass, wings not v-cutting properly, etc… This is all common for youth basketball players.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Continue working on the v-cut and ballhandling in practice.

2. Teach and practice using a back door cut. So when they are overplayed, they can cut back door for a pass. Even if they don’t get the pass, this will force the defender to sag off of them a little bit.

3. Have your best player run the point guard position. This will give you a good ball handler/passer who is at least able to make that first pass to the wing.

4. Start your offense in a different formation (1-2-2 for example) and then set screens to get your wings open for the entry pass. After screening your 4 and 5 can get right into position and be ready for their next screen.

I hope this helps with your situation. Remember, this is common with younger basketball players. Once they get more skilled and understand the game better, that entry pass will be much easier.