The nature of netball means that many of the passes and skills are related to playing “tall”: everyone expects the ball to be in the air most of the time. This is why the bounce pass can be a useful tool for surprising a complacent opponent. Mastering it adds a different tool to your passing arsenal.
The rules only allow one bounce between players when passing, so good judgement as to the most useful point at which to bounce is essential.
The bounce, along with the fact that the pass can be disguised as, among other things, a chest pass, make it extremely useful when in a crowded goal area. Even if both the thrower and the recipient are being carefully marked, the bounce can allow both to outwit their opponents.
There are two versions of the bounce pass, one- and two-handed. The two-handed pass is easier to control than the one-handed version, so we will deal with that here.
Hold the ball at chest height firmly in both hands, pointing in the direction you wish to pass. Remember that the position of the hands will be slightly higher than the position used in the chest pass, since the ball will need much more of a downward push to ensure an effective bounce.
As with many passing techniques, your stance is all-important. Balance is the key, and you should make sure that you are fully in control of your balance before attempting to make the bounce pass. Slightly bent knees are often the best solution.
At the moment of release, the ball should be at about waist height. Use the distance from your chest to your waist to give the ball as much power as needed in the situation. Flick the wrists and fingers at the point of release to add a final powerful push to the ball.
Ideally, the ball needs to get to the receiver at about waist height: any higher or lower will make it proportionally more troublesome to catch. Depending on your relative positions, aiming the bounce just further than halfway between will be about right.
Putting spin on the ball on release will have varying effects: back spin (when the ball is spinning towards you) will make the ball “sit up” once it hits the ground; top spin will make it skip along a little closer to the floor. Depending on the situation, it may be appropriate to apply either in order that the pass is successful.
Upon releasing follow through and bend your knees to retain balance. Look for your next move and keep going.
Knowing exactly where to bounce the ball, what power to apply to the pass, and what, if any, spin is required in order to get the pass to your team mate requires knowledge that cannot be taught. Practice, practice, and, yup, you guessed it, more practice is the only way in which this pass will become an effective, natural and useful addition to your netball skills. So practice!
- Netball (Know The Game) – by All England Netball Association