Basketball Passing Game for Gym Class


Teaching 3rd and 4th graders basketball skills in PE class with this Basketball passing game for gym.

My 3rd and 4th graders have been working on a basketball unit.  It is a challenge to find games that challenge those who are more skilled and experienced and give the others the practice they need.

This game worked really well as a follow-up to our work practicing bounce and chest passes:

  • Circle Guard and Pass Form 2 teams:  offense and defense.  
  • Offense team makes a large circle with one team member in the center.  
  • Defense team makes a smaller circle inside the offense circle.  It works best if you have actual circles drawn for them to stand on. (Our school has 2 large circles like this painted on the black top outside — perfect!)  
  • The offensive team tries to get the ball into the person in the center with a bounce pass or a chest pass.  The defensive team tries to swat or steal the ball as it passes through.  
  • All team members must stay on their designated lines, but can slide along them.  I really worked with the offensive to move the ball quickly and look for holes in the defense to pass through.

It took some time for them to quite throwing the ball overhead and look for ways to bounce pass instead.  After about 5 minutes I would rotate the teams.

We played this two weeks in a row because they were just catching on at the end of the first session.

The second week they really had a good time with it.  They all love being the person in the middle.

PROS of the Basketball Passing game:  

Only need one ball to play, if played right all children can be involved and active, great way to show the correct way to use a bounce pass and its potential effectiveness

CONs of the PE basketball passing game:  

Tendency to just chuck the ball overhead must be overcome, some kids can get ignored and never touch the ball.  I solved both these by playing the game along with them.  I had to play it inside one day due to bad weather and without the drawn lines it didn’t work as well.  They really need a line they have to stay on.

gym class basketball passing game

Want to save this post?

Enter your email below and get it sent straight to your inbox.

Save Recipe

Related Posts


  1. Hi!
    I am new to teaching PE this year, after having spent 20 years in the classroom.
    Can you please tell me how many students participate at one time when you are playing the passing game with 3rd and 4th grade students working on offense and defense (around circles) with one student inside the circle?
    Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *