Basketball Passing: The Push Pass

Learning to effectively perform this pass with either hand can help neutralize a guarding defense.

January 28, 2019

Of all the fundamentals skills you learn on the basketball court, being able to properly pass the ball is vital to a team’s success on offense.

You can learn to use a variety of passes to get the ball to your teammates. The push pass is a pass that can help you find success, especially in the half court.

“A push pass, sometimes known as the lead pass, is utilized while passing off the dribble or when a defender is guarding closely,” college basketball coach Jared Ronai says. “[You] must be able to execute this pass with both hands.”


To execute a push pass:

  • Make a one-handed pass. Your passing hand and elbow should be behind the ball to start.
  • To complete the pass, take a lead step in the direction of your target. Make sure to keep your other foot in place to prevent a traveling call.
  • As you take your step, extend your arm with the ball in the direction of your teammate.
  • Quickly push the ball to your teammate, continuing your momentum in the direction of the pass to help with velocity and accuracy.

When passing off the drive or dribble, you want to drive at your teammate. As your teammate’s defender moves toward you to help, you’ll deliver a push pass to your teammate on target. They should have some space to shoot, drive or pass.

“The push pass is an advanced pass, especially with your off-hand,” Ronai says. “Effectively executed, this pass greatly improves your ability to deliver the ball to your teammates.”

Passing is one of the fundamentals of basketball and something players should always try to work on. The Post-to-Post Passing Drill can help players improve their passing in 2-on-1 fast break opportunities.