Let’s start with the chest pass. It’s the most basic pass, and the first one that I teach. Why? There are a few reasons. Most importantly, the fundamentals of the chest pass are important elements of all other passes. As an added bonus, the elements of the chest pass are relatively straightforward and easily taught.
To begin with, have your player hold the ball with two hands. It’s important that their thumbs be pointed towards each other, and that their hands be slightly behind the ball. You want the ball to be close to your chest, but not touching, and your elbows should be out to the sides.
Then, to launch the ball, you push the ball forward, aiming to straighten your elbows. As you push, rotate your hands so that your thumbs end up pointing towards the floor. This gives the pass an extra boost.
Lastly, while launching the ball out, you should take a step forward. Your step should finish as the ball leaves your hands. If you step to early or to late you won’t be able to get the additional power that comes from the step.
There are two other things that your player should know about chest passing. The first thing is that the chest pass is best used for passes that are ten feet or less. Longer than that and it’s likely to be stolen! I’d recommend marking two spots on the floor so that your player has a sense of how long ten feet is.
The second thing to remember is that the chest pass is generally a perimeter pass. When passing to the post or other areas, you’ll want to use a different type of pass.
We’ll spend some more time in a later post explaining how to teach your player about pass selection.
Chest Pass Drill: Passing to Yourself
Now that we’ve gone over how to do the chest pass, let’s talk about how to practice it. This first drill is easy and your player can do it by themselves. All they need is a sturdy wall and some tape.
You’ll want to prepare for this drill by putting a spot of tape on the wall about the height of your player’s chest. Then have your player stand 10 feet away. If you have a younger player, you’ll want to have them start a bit closer to the wall.
You’ll want to have them pass the ball to the wall, aiming at the spot where the tape is, and then receive the pass as it returns to them. Your player should do this for ten minutes.
The goal of the drill is for your player to pass as closely to the spot of tape on the wall as possible, while maintaining the chest pass techniques that we laid out in our previous section. This drill will also give your player a sense of how much force they should put into their chest passes. After all, they’ll be on the receiving end if they pass too hard!
Once they’re comfortable with the mechanics of a chest pass and know how the pass will be received, your player can take what they’ve learned put it to use in the game.