Featured courses

The Art of the Outlet Pass

The Art of The Outlet Pass

You’ve seen the best players in the NBA make some of their most exciting plays on

the fast break. Whether it’s Kevin Love to Lebron, Durant to Westbrook, or Steph

Curry pulling up from three with a few defenders back, they’re always set up to

make the best play possible in transition.

Sometimes, what sets these star players up for easy baskets is a crafty, perfectly

timed pass from a teammate who’s aware of his other teammates’ position. I’m

talking about the outlet pass; whether it’s that heave up-court or the series of passes

that leads to the basket, the best way to advance the ball off a miss has always been

the outlet pass.

If you want to be the player responsible for a flashy play and want to know how to

find your teammate for the outlet, make sure you work these little details into your

game with your teammates:


The best way to know where your teammates are on the floor at all times is to

simply talk to each other! Establish a chemistry with your teammates that allows

you to understand their tendencies. In this case, be communicative with the

teammate(s) who will find ways to leak out for a fast break off of a quick miss.

Have your teammate yell “outlet!” or even “hey!” so that you or a teammate who

gets a rebound can set them up with a good lead pass; if they can’t make the pass,

become the outlet man, and call for the ball yourself so that you can put yourself or

your teammates in a position to score on the break.

Read And React

Basketball as a whole is a read-and-react sport, and starting a fast break requires a

certain degree of analyzing the floor ahead of you to make the best decision. You

might want to make a flashy play, but first you’ll need the floor to open up and just a

bit of luck to make that play.

If you’re about to run in transition, see if defenders are running back to stop the

play, and see if you’re outnumbering the defense before you make a pass. The less

defenders you have on the break, the easier it is to throw a pass ahead and let your

teammates handle the rest of the work scoring.

Some choose to be deceptive with the dribble, or even the no-look pass when

running the break. Whatever method you choose, be sure that you’re going to put

your teammate in a position to score and not turn the ball over trying to be too


Make A Smart, Well-Timed Lead Pass

If you’re going to toss a touchdown-like pass to a teammate streaking down the

floor, and there’s no defender ahead of your teammate, you need to make sure you

hit that teammate in stride so that you aren’t slowing their momentum.

The basic outlet pass involves coming to the ball, but if a teammate has the open

floor ahead of them, it’s alright to pass to them as they run from the ball, as long as

you’re not throwing it behind them and giving a defender the time to catch them on

the break.

Know your teammate’s speed and time the pass so that they can finish as quickly as

possible. Always make sure you have a clear look at your teammate and don’t

telegraph a pass that a defender can bat down before it gets to your teammate.

With the all the excitement that comes from a fast break in basketball, a lot of time

the credit goes to the passer who gets the rebound or forces a turnover to make the

break possible. You’ll normally see teammates point to each other as a means of

gratitude for a great outlet pass. Be the teammate that gets that positive point and

make a great outlet pass!