What is a Chest Pass in Basketball?

Basketball is a complex game with a lot of moving parts. While it’s easy to get lost in more advanced techniques, flashy moves, or stylish dribbles, the fundamentals matter. There are a few every serious player needs to perfect, and the chest pass is on the top of that list.

This guide covers the chest pass by looking at what it is, how it’s done, and why it’s so important. If you want to improve your game, a few aspects will make you better than nailing down a quick, snappy throw across the court.

Understanding the Chest Pass

There are a few tried and true ways to move the ball around the court, but none are as reliable as a chest pass. It’s not a terribly difficult move. 

In fact, it’s the way most people naturally throw the ball to a teammate. However, it’s incredibly important nonetheless.

Simply put, a chest pass is when you pick up the ball after a dribble (or before inbounding) and pass it to your teammate by throwing it from your chest. The ball never hits the ground, nor does it arc. It travels in a straight line from your torso to their hands.

Chest passes are quick, snappy, and easy to make. They don’t take a lot of time because they have to get around defenders. They are commonly used at the top of the key, or when moving the ball up the court. They just aren’t best for tight quarters or when someone’s in your way.

Why Use a Chest Pass?

Chest passes are the most common pass type because they are both the fastest and most universal. While you can get fancy or flashy, and sometimes that is necessary, there is no simpler or quicker way to move the ball from one player to another.

In basketball, every second matters. Being a beat too late or too early could mean the difference between a wide open three and a costly turnover. That’s why the speed of the chest pass is so important. It’s not the most accurate, but it gets the job done like nothing else.

Beyond the Chest

A chest pass is far from the only way to get the ball from one player to another. There are many passing styles in basketball, and they each are useful in a certain situation. That includes the overhead pass, bounce pass, entry pass, behind-the-back pass, baseball, and no-look pass.

Entry passes, bounce passes, and overhead passes are in the same league as the chest pass because they are all more fundamental moves that come naturally during the flow of the game. These are the moves you need to learn first. 

Baseball passes, no looks, and behind the back are all a bit flashier and take quite a bit of skill to accurately perfect. That’s not to say they cannot be done by newer players, but expect to spend some time in the gym in order to make sure you don’t make a mistake while playing.

Final Words

There’s no pass like a chest pass. While there are tons of ways to get an assist in basketball, nothing is as reliable as moving the ball from your upper torso by quickly snapping it to your teammate. It’s powerful, straightforward, and incredibly useful when in an offensive set.

You won’t see any highlights of the chest pass, nor will you get extra props for using it. Even so, it’s a valuable part of the game that everyone needs to master at one point or another. Not being able to do one is a big problem.

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