“The One-Handed Off-the-Dribble Pass”
Posted by Steve Bzomowski on January 15, 2007
When I was a kid, going to camps and clinics, being coached on teams in school, CYO, and college, even learning the game by listening to pros and former pros (Cousy, Twyman, Russell) commentate on network tv, there were certain things that were considered no-nos: “going one-on-one”, cross-court passes, dribbling or “bringing the ball down” while in the post, one-handed passes. These were givens, cardinal rules: you did not break them. Gradually, students of the game noticed that certain players broke these rules and got away with, even flourished by breaking them. Players copied what the great players were doing and managed to be successful. Coaches then adapted. Take the one-handed pass. The problem with a one-handed pass was, and is, the wind-up. Again, as a kid, you were told not to do it because it “telegraphed” it, i.e., gave it away. The defense, because of the big(ger) wind-up has a chance to read it and react to it, then steal or deflect the pass. Gradually, and I don’t know who started it, but John Stockton was a major practitioner and Greg Anthony favored it as well, players would snap off quick, short wind-up, off-the-dribble one-handed passes. Typically they were made when defense wasn’t near in position to make a steal and typically it was on the break. Or from the top of the key: “DJ to Bird!” Of course, these days, Steve Nash is the player seen utilizing this most. He does it in the half-court on pick and rolls, he does it on the break. The technique: dribble the ball slightly backward and, simultaneous to that backward dribble step forward with the same or corresponding foot. As that foot is landing, the ball should be as far back as it’s going to go (not far, remember, quick, short wind-up) and then a snap quick baseball type pass, but with only a half wind-up at most. Don’t throw sidearm or put sidespin on the ball. Get your hand behind it and fire it quick! Snap it! Remember this: a big wind-up, one-handed pass is STILL a NO-NO!