What is an Overhead Pass in Basketball (and How to Use It)?

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.

Spread the love


Although you already have an existing idea of the skills and performance of your favorite team, you can never predict what will happen on the court. You can never anticipate what movements the players will execute during their match, which makes basketball exciting!

Have you ever been blown away by a player’s ability to throw an overhead pass effortlessly? By the way, what is an overhead pass in basketball? Simply put, overhead passing in basketball means throwing a ball from behind your head to another player. If you are stoked to learn more about overhead pass exercise, keep reading on.

What is an Overhead Pass Really MeanWhat is an Overhead Pass Really Mean?

It is common among newbie players like you to look for great movements that you can mimic to become a better player in the long run. There are no better means to improve your basketball skills than keeping in good mental and physical shape while improving discipline during training sessions.

Along with training, there are basketball movements that you can strategically apply on the court to enhance decision-making and teamwork—-overhead passes are one of them. Perhaps you have asked yourself, what is a two-handed overhead pass in basketball? This blog got you covered; the succeeding paraphs will discuss the matter further.

A basketball overhead pass is one of the many ways to pass the ball to other players anywhere on the court. The distinction t consider before you can call it an overhead pass, the ball should be held with both of your hands from behind your head and quickly released, heading to any player on the court.

Moreover, an overhead pass in basketball involves steps, drills, and techniques. It is performed with a lot of force, strength, and control to ensure the ball lands ideally on its calculated destination inside the court.

What is an Overhead Pass Really Mean

It is usually executed when you are left without a choice but to pass the ball up above and plays a crucial role in a game, especially during neck-to-neck matches.

Most importantly, you must be able to handle the ball well and shoot accurately to complete an overhead pass. It should be done at the right time or when the ball is high in the air and the defender is not directly in front of you. It would be best to consider more things you will learn in the following lines.

In other words, the pass should find its way through the tight defense of your opponent to deliver the ball to your desired point or player. Remember, basketball overhead passes are ideal for pass breaks or when your teammate runs for an open basket.

Why is Overhead Pass Important in BasketballWhy is Overhead Pass Important in Basketball?

Basketball overhead passes are some of the most significant movements you can opt for when aiming for secured access. This basketball move is essential because it allows you to throw the ball over another player’s head with the most negligible probability of interception.

In a basic sense, the purpose of an overhead pass is to provide your team with an easy shot at the basket—you can put your team in command of the game when executed correctly. If you are looking for more reasons to start enhancing your overhead pass from now on, below are bulleted lists of its importance.

  • Faster Pass Break

Overhead passes require full strength while maintaining control—it is considered the best option when you want to land the ball to any part of the court faster and easier. 

In layperson’s terms, the faster the ball pass, the better. It means that your opponent will have lesser chances of stealing it because it arrived in the right spot before they can lay their hands on it. Thus, it improves your chances of winning the games.

Why is Overhead Pass Important in Basketball

  • Ensured Passing

In basketball, the team who holds the ball is the one that has the bigger chance of dominating the game. Wasting a ball is the last thing you want to happen inside the court—fortunately, overhead passes ensure secured passing.

Basketball overhead passes are also ideal when a lead runner is heading towards the rim. Since he is ahead of anyone else, you need strength to pass the ball to him. There is no better option than doing an overhead pass.

  • Best Offensive Tactic

Since you are on the offensive side, you must pass through your opponent’s defense, even though it means whatever it takes you. You cannot let them steal the ball while you are dribbling, so you might as well pass the ball securely to your teammate.

It is considered the best offensive tactic because it allows you to assert dominance and control over the game without being lax and complacent. You can never go wrong with overhead passes, especially when you are doing it at the right time.

There is so much more you can benefit from when you use overhead passes, but the abovementioned arguments are the key points why you should consider doing it in your next games. Assuredly, you will never regret mastering it now!

When to Use the Overhead Pass in BasketballWhen to Use the Overhead Pass in Basketball?

The sections above focused more on the importance and definition of overhead passes in basketball. This time, you will answer this question: when to use the overhead passes in basketball? Keep reading through because you can never miss this critical detail.

As mentioned earlier, overhead passes are not a saving glory in all cases. Similar to other routines in any sport, it needs timing. If you find the right moment, never hesitate to do one. Now, when can you tell that an overhead pass is ideal?

When to Use the Overhead Pass in Basketball

  • When your team is trailing by a considerable margin

Although an overhead pass is not a shooting routine, it allows your teammates to shoot a shot. As mentioned, this movement ensures a secured pass and land at the hand of a player who is in a vacant spot. It makes the ball back in play when done with accuracy and without any hint of doubt.

  • When a team is in a free-basket attempt

Free basket opportunities are the ideal time to use overhead passes because they can help you improve the lead or catch up on the gap. It is simply the most efficient way to shoot a ball. Never hesitate to do it when you see your teammate standing in a vacant space.

  • When the defense is tight

If you are in a situation where directly passing the ball is impossible and challenging, try shooting the ball through an overhead method. Since you are hitting a ball with force and pressure, it would be challenging for opponents to stop or steal the ball.

  • When you are passing the ball to a great distance

The farther the distance, the more strength it requires. Therefore, it would be much better to use overhead passing because it is naturally done with force and control. You can be more confident that the ball will reach the farthest part of the court.

How to Throw an Accurate Overhead Pass_ 5 TipsHow to Throw an Accurate Overhead Pass: 5 Tips

Basketball never works out in the absence of teamwork and cooperation. In like manner, there are tips that you can use to make your overhead pass more accurate. First and foremost, you must master the proper techniques before you can throw a precise overhead pass. 

Here are five tips on how to improve overhead passes in basketball:

How to Throw an Accurate Overhead Pass 5 Tips

1. Master your form and proper ball placement before releasing the ball up in the air. The ball must originate from behind your head to have more force stored and up for release. 

2. Tightly grip and defend the ball at all costs while looking for a teammate to receive the ball or wait for the right timing. Some players have their balls stolen because of their lack of ability to defend the ball while waiting for the right timing.

3. Make a step toward your teammate who will be receiving the ball. If you are asking which one, remember that it depends on your case. The better way to do it is to use your dominant or pivot foot. You have more strength when you use it over the other.

4. Push back the other food to gain more strength, power, and control in passing the ball. You should use this method to take more intensity and ensure that the ball reaches its destination without any problem.

5. Once you gain balance with the other foot, use the back foot and then release the ball toward your target. If you are done, you can repeat the process or master it through your training sessions.

If the abovementioned tips are not enough for you, check out this video below to visualize what the tips are trying to explain. Watching actual videos is great because you will have a full grasp of what the actual position looks like and how to properly execute it.

Before moving on to the next section, remember that there is no better way to improve your overhead passing skills than doing it repetitively. It takes practice to ace this movement, so start practicing it as early as now.

5 Tips and Drills to Improve Overhead Passing 5 Tips and Drills to Improve Overhead Passing

After you master the accurate way to improve and feel like you can improve, there are tips you can follow to improve your overhead passing. Below is the bulleted list that narrows down this matter, so read further.

1. You must ensure ample time to think and execute your next move. After doing so, take a quick step back and then release the ball as high and forcefully as possible.

2. Keep your balance by maintaining your head up until the ball reaches its destination. By doing this, you will have more control over the movement. You must remember that overhead passing is not just above power but also takes control to ace this move.

3. Before you release the ball, make sure you already know your target’s exact location. 

Here are two drills that you can also do to improve your overhead passing skills:

4. Static and Moving Chest Pass

These drills may not be done overhead, but it helps improve your strength in releasing a ball. Hence, the more you do, the better your power to execute an overhead pass.

5. Bounce Pass

This type of basketball pass helps you more accurately release a ball. It also improves your control. Hence, practicing bounce passes influences your ability to have ample strength and target in passing.

Wrapping Things Up: What is an Overhead Pass in Basketball (and How to Use It)?

Basketball is a team sport in which the ability to throw an accurate overhead pass is one of the most critical skills. Again, what is an overhead pass in basketball?

Simply put, it is a ball pass that requires both hands positioned over or behind your head. If you want to improve your overhead passing ability, you should follow the accurate way to do it and some tips to improve your existing skills. Scan the above sections and do not miss out on any detail.

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.

Picture of Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

If you found this helpful, help us out by sharing this post!


Readers of this post also read...

How is the NBA All-Star Team Selected

How is the NBA All-Star Team Selected?

Getting into the All-Star game is no simple feat. For some players, it may take several seasons of high-level play to get the nod. However, other exceptional talents come into the league with so much...

Read More
How Do Basketball Teams Qualify for the Olympics?

How Do Basketball Teams Qualify for the Olympics?

The Summer Olympics is the biggest stage in international basketball. These games have an unbridled cultural impact on a global scale. It brings the world together to appreciate a couple of weeks of high-level international...

Read More
What Does DTD Mean in Basketball?

What Does DTD Mean in Basketball?

Basketball is a world of its own with unique terms or jargon, in and out of the court. Through the years, more terms have been developed to represent specific things about the sport, and understanding...

Read More

Get our top basketball tips to become a better baller

Enter your email to get access to our best tips for success.