What is Overhead Pass in Basketball?

In modern basketball, there’s a high emphasis on scoring. Everyone loves seeing huge dunks or incredibly deep threes. However, every single player, from Lebron James to the lowest bench player, only got to where they are due to great fundamentals. That includes passing.

In this guide, I’ll take a look at different pass types in order to explain an overhead pass. The following paragraphs will break down the move, not just from a literal standpoint, but through a more rounded take on the game as well.

What is an Overhead Pass?

Before getting into details, it’s first important to understand what exactly an overhead pass is and how it works. 

To do one, you need to throw the ball with both hands starting from behind your head. You move your arms forward and sling the ball when they are up over your body.

That movement, using the arms with all of your body planted behind them, generates a ton of force that allows you to throw the ball anywhere down the court. It’s perfect for fast breaks, or when you need to hit a lead runner going for an open basket.

How to Use an Overhead Pass

Once you understand an overhead pass, you next need to know how to use it. 

In most games, you’re going to spend your time throwing chest or bounce passes. However, there are a few scenarios where overhead lobs come into play.

You typically use them when you need to quickly get the ball down the court. That usually happens when one of your teammates is ahead of the other team and has an open layup, or if you need to inbound the ball all the way down the court.

Another scenario where you need an overhead pass is when you need to make a tight throw over a defender and you don’t have the means to make a chest or a bounce pass. If you can’t go through or under, it’s always good to try and go over.

Skip passes across the court are another great way to utilize the overhead. However, such scenarios only arise when the defense sits back in a zone, or the opposing guard creeps up to the three-point line in order to ensure you can’t make a normal play.

Things to Remember

Just know that, while overhead passes aren’t as technically difficult as behind the backs or no looks, they still are much trickier than a bounce or chest pass. 

You should always step into them to generate enough power and keep your back foot planted to not lose balance.

In addition, remember that you want to lead your teammate when making such a pass. It’s not like another pass where you’re going to their spot. Rather, you want to throw the ball to where they’re going to be. 

If you throw it to where they are, the ball will end up being short. If you put too much on it, the ball might sail. 

It’s about finding the proper balance, where you put enough on it so they don’t have to go back, but not too much that you throw it out of bounds.

Final Words

Never forget where you started. Though it’s easy to look past basketball’s more basic moves, they are just as important as anything else. 

An overhead pass is a tough move to nail down, but it’s a great skill to have in your back pocket for when you get into a tight spot.

The pass is not something you’ll use every game. However, when you need to get ahead of the defense or fit into a tight window, it’s an amazing tool.

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