What’s a Skip Entry in Basketball?

Written by: Basketball Universe

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What’s a Skip Entry in Basketball?

As a dynamic and multifaceted sport, basketball is always brimming with excitement, and a lesser-known strategy that adds sizzle to the game is the “Skip Entry.” But what exactly is this tactical move, and why does it hold significance in the world of hoops? Buckle up, basketball enthusiasts, as we delve deep into the fascinating world of skip entries, exploring their purpose, execution, and thrilling results on the court. So grab your high-tops and let’s take a shot at understanding this exciting play!

What’s a Skip Entry in Basketball?

A skip entry in basketball refers to a high, arcing pass made over the defense, connecting with a teammate across the court. This play aims to exploit gaps in the defense, shift the opponent’s movement, and create open shooting or driving opportunities for the offense. Often used against zone defenses or aggressive trapping defenses, a skip entry can break the defensive scheme and generate scoring chances.

The Origin of the Term “Skip Entry”

While the term “skip entry” might not be as popular as other basketball phrases, it has been around for quite some time. Coined by basketball coaches and players alike, the skip entry refers to the tactical maneuver mentioned earlier. Much like skipping a stone across water, this pass involves tossing the ball over the opposing defense, creating opportunities for your teammates on offense.

Why Utilize a Skip Entry in Basketball?

A skip entry pass can be a powerhouse move when deployed strategically. It can shake up the game by quickly shifting the ball to the other side of the court while also exploiting possible defensive vulnerabilities. Let’s dive into some enticing reasons for its use:

Breaking the Zone Defense

Zone defense can be pretty frustrating to play against since your opponents limit your movement and passing options. Thankfully, a skip entry pass can help counteract this issue. By sending the ball soaring over the defense, you force the other team to readjust rapidly, causing chaos in their defensive set up and opening up scoring opportunities.

Countering Trapping Defenses

Aggressive trapping defenses can generate turnover opportunities for the other team, and many a game has been lost due to their pressure. A skip entry can dismantle that pressure, by sending the ball over the trapping defenders to an open teammate, who can take advantage of the now outnumbered defense.

Creating Ball Movement and Offensive Opportunities

Quick ball movement is essential in basketball, and a skip entry pass helps achieve just that. By skipping the ball across the court, your team can catch the opponents off guard, connect on open shots, or drive to the basket for a layup or dunk.

Exposing Defensive Weaknesses

Forcing the opposing team to react to a skip entry pass can expose gaps in their defense. Your team can leverage these gaps to create opportunities for high-percentage shots, driving lanes, and more, translating to points on the board and putting you one step closer to victory.

The Art of Executing a Skip Entry Pass

Now that we’ve explored the benefits of a skip entry pass, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and figure out how to perform it. Here are some tips to keep in mind when executing this play:

Timing and Anticipation

Like with any effective strategy in basketball, a skip entry pass requires impeccable timing and anticipation of your teammate’s position. This means studying the defense and knowing when it’s the right moment to whip out that game-changing pass.

Strong and Accurate Pass

Executing a skip entry pass demands precision, and making a weak or inaccurate pass can lead to turnovers. When making the pass, ensure that it’s high enough to soar over the outstretched arms of defenders, but not so high that it sails out of your teammate’s reach. With practice, you’ll find just the right arc to make it a successful skip entry pass.

Proper Target Area

When skipping the ball across the court, direct the pass to the open target area where your teammate is expected to be. This gives them an opportunity to secure the ball and take decisive action, whether it be shooting, driving, or setting up for the next offensive move.

Disguise Your Intent

Try not to telegraph your intentions when attempting a skip entry pass, as that could play into the defense’s hands. Keep the defender guessing by maintaining your dribble or scanning the court to fake them out before making your move.

Incorporating the Skip Entry Pass in Offensive Sets

Just like any other tactical play in basketball, the skip entry pass is most effective when integrated into your team’s offensive sets. Below are some game situations where implementing this strategy can yield fruitful results:

Against the 2-3, 3-2, and 1-3-1 Zone Defenses

Zone defenses can be particularly susceptible to a skip entry pass. The 2-3, 3-2, and 1-3-1 zones allocate defenders to specific areas, but a well-timed skip entry can throw them off balance, leading to scoring opportunities for your team.

Countering Full-court Pressure

A team applying full-court pressure can leave openings down the court. A skip entry pass can help you evade traps and launch a powerful counterattack, while also punishing them for their aggressive play.

Fast Break Opportunities

Capitalizing on fast break situations can sometimes make or break a game. A skip entry pass can contribute to a fast break by reaching a teammate who has sprinted down the court, catching up with the defense off their guard for an easy basket.

Spread Offense

A methodical, spread offense requires swift and efficient ball movement. Incorporating a skip entry pass in your play can quickly change the direction of the offense, forcing the defense to react and adjust, leading to open shots and opportunities for your team.

Perfecting The Skip Entry: Tips for Players and Coaches


As a player, always be attentive and responsive to the actions of your teammates. Practice skip entries on the court, both alone and with your teammates, to master the timing, precision, and reception required for this play.


Coaches can have a significant role in nurturing the skill of skip entry passes among their players. Incorporate drills and exercises focused on ball movement, passing accuracy, and the ability to read defenses to build your team’s confidence in executing this tactic.

Skip Entry: A Valuable Weapon in Your Basketball Arsenal

As we have now learned, the skip entry pass is a versatile and powerful tool in the realm of basketball. By introducing this play into your team’s repertoire, you can confound opponents, exploit defensive vulnerabilities, and generate scoring opportunities that can often determine the outcome of a game. So, go ahead and take the court by storm with your newfound knowledge and mastery of the thrilling skip entry pass in basketball.

Mastering the Reception of a Skip Entry Pass

Receiving a skip entry pass is just as essential as executing it. If the receiving player cannot secure the pass, the play will likely be unsuccessful. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when receiving a skip entry pass:

Stance and Preparation

Players expecting to receive a skip entry pass should maintain an athletic stance, keeping their knees slightly bent and feet shoulder-width apart. Their body should be square to the passer, anticipating the trajectory and path of the basketball. This ready position allows for quicker reactions and smoother receptions.

Effective Communication

Whether through eye contact or verbal communication, the player should signal their readiness to the passer, avoiding passer/player miscoordination that could lead to turnovers.

Secure and Protect the Ball

When the ball is in the air, the receiver should keep their eyes on it and prepare to catch it with both hands. After securing the pass, they should tuck the ball into their body to prevent opponents from swiping it away.

Examples of Skip Entry Passes by Top Pros

If you’re looking for inspiration on executing and receiving skip entry passes, look no further than the NBA. Many top playmakers, past and present, have showcased their mastery of the skip entry pass, providing valuable insights to hone your skill:

LeBron James

Known for his exceptional court vision and passing ability, LeBron James frequently utilizes skip entry passes. His blend of speed and strength allows him to make cross-court passes with ease, often setting up teammates for easy buckets.

Steve Nash

As a two-time NBA MVP and one of the best passers in league history, Steve Nash made many jaw-dropping skip entry passes during his career. His precise cross-court passes often led to open jump shots for sharpshooting teammates like Dirk Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovic, significantly contributing to his offensive success.

Magic Johnson

Arguably the greatest passer in NBA history, Magic Johnson regularly dazzled the basketball world with his creative, no-look skip entry passes. These plays were an essential part of the legendary “Showtime” Lakers’ fast-paced offense during the 1980s.

Further Building Your Basketball IQ

While the skip entry pass is an essential component of any basketball player’s skill set, there are numerous other moves and strategies to learn and master to become a well-rounded player. Here are some resources and practice ideas to continue expanding your knowledge of the game:

Study Game Film

Viewing professional or collegiate basketball games can provide ample opportunities to learn and observe various offensive and defensive strategies, including the skip entry pass. Analyzing game footage can significantly impact your understanding and execution of these tactical maneuvers.

Participate in Training Camps and Clinics

Many basketball organizations and professional coaches host camps and clinics aimed at improving player skill sets. Participating in these events can provide expert insights, tips, and hands-on training to elevate your game knowledge and abilities.

Consult With Coaches and Teammates

Engaging in conversations and discussions with your coaches and teammates can offer diverse perspectives on basketball tactics, including the skip entry pass. Sharing insights, experiences, and ideas can enrich your basketball education and strengthen your team’s overall performance.

Practice, Practice, Practice

There’s no substitute for repetition and practice when it comes to improving your basketball skills. Dedicate time to working on various aspects of your game, including the skip entry pass, to elevate your skill level and become a valuable asset to your team.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions and to-the-point answers related to the skip entry pass in basketball. This FAQ section provides further insights, helping you better understand and enhance your knowledge of this strategic move.

1. What’s the main purpose of a skip entry pass?

The primary purpose of a skip entry pass is to exploit gaps in the defense, shift the opponent’s movement, and create open shooting or driving opportunities for the offense.

2. When should I attempt a skip entry pass?

Attempt a skip entry pass when you notice a gap in the opponent’s zone or trapping defense, or when you want to create ball movement and offensive opportunities during a game.

3. How can a skip entry pass help against zone defenses?

A skip entry pass can help reposition the defense, forcing them to readjust rapidly, causing chaos in their defensive set up and opening up scoring opportunities for your team.

4. Can a skip entry pass work against man-to-man defenses?

While skip entry passes are most effective against zone defenses, they can still work against man-to-man defenses if executed correctly, forcing the defenders to quickly adjust and potentially creating mismatches.

5. How can I improve my accuracy with skip entry passes?

To improve your accuracy with skip entry passes, practice with repetition, focus on proper technique during the pass, and maintain a strong grip on the ball.

6. How can I prepare myself to receive a skip entry pass?

Ensure that you maintain an athletic stance, communicate effectively with the passer, and be ready to catch with both hands to secure and protect the ball upon reception.

7. What distinguishes a skip entry pass from a regular pass?

A skip entry pass involves a high, arcing pass across the court, aimed at bypassing the defender’s reach, while a regular pass is typically shorter and less inclined to cross the court.

8. Which game situations are best suited for skip entry passes?

Skip entry passes work well against zone defenses like 2-3, 3-2, and 1-3-1, full-court pressure, fast break opportunities, and during strategic spread offense plays.

9. How can I disguise my intentions when attempting a skip entry pass?

By maintaining your dribble or scanning the court to fake out the defense, you can effectively disguise your intentions before making a skip entry pass.

10. Are skip entry passes risky?

Like any play in basketball, skip entry passes can be risky if not executed with precision and timing. However, when done correctly, they can significantly benefit your team by creating scoring opportunities.

11. How can coaches incorporate skip entry passes into team practice?

Coaches can integrate drills that emphasize ball movement, passing accuracy, and reading defenses into their team’s practice schedule, building their players’ confidence in executing skip entry passes.

12. Can skip entry passes lead to turnovers?

Yes, a poorly executed skip entry pass can lead to turnovers. However, practicing to perfect the technique and timing helps players minimize the risks associated with this play.

13. Do all basketball players need to master the skip entry pass?

While not every basketball player needs to specialize in skip entry passes, it’s a valuable tool for any player aiming to become a versatile and well-rounded offensive threat.

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