6 Tips to Improve Passing and Reduce Turnovers

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Turnovers are the bane of every team that strives for excellence. In trying to cut down on turnovers there are some simple things that you can affect by coaching to cut down on turnovers and improve your chances to win.

1. Do overload drills to build speed and strength. Using 2 balls passing drills such as "Machine Gun Passing," (Winning Basketball Drills e-book) and Partner Passing with 2 balls where each partner passes simultaneously will build speed and accuracy. Using drills that force players to use one hand to pass, (such as "Pound Passing") especially with their weak hand, will build strength and confidence. (It is important to explain to your players that the one hand passing drills are DRILLS to built specific skills, not use in games.)

2. Teach spacing. This is the most overlooked and possibly the most important aspect of offensive play. Teach your players what is the optimum distance they can effectively pass.

3. Teach players to shorten the pass. As an aspect of spacing, taking a dribble toward a receiver will, in certain instances, improve spacing.

4. Make the easy pass. There is no need for great passes when ordinary passes will do. Pass to an open teammate, in an area he can catch it, away from the defense. If you cannot do that, don't throw the pass.

5. Emphasize the catch. While we would all like every pass to be perfect, we all know that will not be the case. The receiver must go where he needs to go to catch the ball. This may seem different but to draw a parallel, baseball players know a great defensive 1st baseman makes great infielders. He covers up for bad throws and can make a shortstop a star. By emphasizing the catch, passers will become more confidant and receivers more aggressive.

6. Scrimmage without dribbles.
Nothing will teach players more about spacing, passing angles, getting open and scoring passes than not allowing them to dribble (be prepared for some early frustration).

Remember, your players will take on your values. If you do not value passing in your practices, they will not value passing in their games.

Don Kelbick

Coach Don Kelbick has had 27 years of coaching experience, 25 at the college level including 14 years as a head coach and 10 years as a Division I assistant including stops at Hofstra University, Marist College, Keene State College, and Florida International University. In 2 years as a high school coach, his teams produced 6 Division I players and was ranked #1 in Florida 28 out of a possible 34 weeks. In addition to coaching he has scouted for NBA teams, including the Knicks and the Hawks, and served as a general manager in the USBL.