The aim is to improve the overhead pass technique. This is most often used when players have a defender closely guarding them, or as a long distance pass to start a fast break. The reason an overhead pass is used in these situations is because it enables players to pass the ball over the top of defenders.


The first thing a player needs to do when they receive the ball is to place their hands each side and slightly behind the ball, with the fingers comfortably spread. The ball should be held above the forehead, with the elbows flexed at about a right angle and tucked in. Maintaining a balanced stance with feet shoulder width apart is also important when trying to control the pass.

The next stage is to locate the target, but try not to look directly at it, as this would make it easier for opponents to read and intercept the pass. Maybe introduce a fake pass or look in another direction before passing to try and deceive a defender.

The next phase is executing the overhead pass, here players need to step in the direction of the pass, through extending the legs, back, and arms, this will create the majority of the power needed. The wrist and fingers should then be flexed to release the ball off the first and second fingers of both hands. Then follow through to finish up with the arms fully extended, fingers pointing at the target and palms facing the floor.

Common Faults:

  • Pass lacks power: This error usually occurs if the ball is held behind the head, and players do not extend their legs, back, and arms enough. Concentrate on these phases of the pass to eliminate the error.

  • Pass lacks accuracy: This often occurs if the strong hand is too dominant, or players do not point their fingers at the target on release. Concentrate on emphasizing the weak hand.

  • Ball gets stolen: This usually occurs when the ball is held behind the head, an opposing player can steal the ball from the hands. Concentrate on holding the ball above the forehead, as to not break the plane of the body.

More Basketball Drills: