One of the widely used and most basic plays in basketball is the “Give and Go”. Easy to accomplish and very effective in any offensive set, it’s a basic tactical skill that should be learned by all players from an early age. Sadly, many coaches and players tend to overlook the technique and miss its ability to provide an easy scoring opportunity for the team.

This skill is so flexible that it can easily be done by any two players on the court. One has the ball and the other will be receiving the initial pass of the ball. For example, the point guard will initiate the Give and Go as soon as the ball is brought up court. It can then be run by a post player and a wing player or even by two post players. Options are countless.

Pass and Cut

A basic of the Give and Go, the “Pass and Cut” is when the ball handler makes a simple pass of the ball to a team mate and then cuts straight to the basket. Should the cutter be able to free himself away from the defense, then he can receive a return of the pass and cut for an easy layup. The pass can be done as a lob, a bounce pass, a straight pass but it must always lead the cutter to his path which is towards the rim. The cutter needs to help the passer with a raise of his hand which signals he’s open and ready so make the pass. This simple Give and Go is ideal for offensive players when they are using it spontaneously. Each players interaction will depend upon how well they work together.

Defender goes for a fake

This play is a great tactic made by the defender moving with the initial pass or turning to watch said pass, the cutter will then move into a hard cut which leads directly to the basket. Each offensive player should then look for the reaction of the cutter’s defensive man to decide if they should make a pass or not.

Defender stays with passer

It’s important to remember this tip: Stay involved in the game. In order for the Give and Go to work efficiently, the three remaining offensive players must be doing their job of keeping their defensive players busy. This can be done by decoying and creating space. Not keeping them busy will enable the defensive to guard the cutter or the passer.

If the defender remains home, the cutter can then make a fake or V cut. Start a little away from the basket and then cut hard to the rim. A good cut will follow the slow and then the fast technique catching the opponents off guard. You can also fake a receiving pass by raising the hands and the defense will then be tricked into an over play in the passing lane.

Always remain flexible

Strength is in flexibility. Remember this as an important key element. This tactic can be counted as the first pass in a half court offense set. Moving from point guard to wing player this is a valuable technique often overlooked. Ideal for any aggressive players over-playing a passing lane or considering a double team effective post. This technique is also very effective against any passive defenders unprepared for this move.

Underutilized chances

There are many Give and Go chances on the court which are not being used. Consider doing the Give and Go when the ball is out of bounds. In this situation the most dangerous player on the floor is the inbounder. He can quickly pass to his team mates cutting to the basket and score quickly if he finds an open available passing lane.

Fast breaks allow the player who is receiving a pass to draw any of the recovering defense attention to the fast break. This allows for a return pass and is considered a very efficient way to move the ball down the court for an open shot or a layup.

If the initial break has stalled, secondary break chances are available. Ideally this is the time for the passer to be clever and cut to the hole for more easy points.

Watch for those missed Opportunities

One of the most basic concepts is the cutting passer using a point guard and cutting hard to the basket as he passes to a wing or a post player. He may forget to watch for the pass or not fill the space quickly enough. Always watch for open chances and seize upon them immediately. A moments delay could lose the play.

As the cutter establishes his threat, he will be drawing attention from the defense which makes it easier for the other players to get the ball into motion in an open play.

It’s important for the cutter to remember to raise his hand and signal that he is open for a shot. This step is easily forgotten in the heat of the game and could again, make or break the play. Players should be engaged and occupied at all times during the game.

Naturally, the Give and Go is much easier said than done. Two drill practices can help develop this skill and remind players how simple this technique is until it becomes a natural habit.

Two on Two, Give and Go Drills

Start with a ball handler placed at the top of the key. Two players should be at the right and the left wing. Put a defensive player on each man. Now let the defender guard the wing man and play passively. Let the initial pass and then run a V cut straight to the basket. Don’t over play this, keep is simple and allow it to become second nature.


Present the Give and Go as a primary play and learn it as second nature. This creates the best option for any beginning of offensive sets. This simple technique is simple but very effective that it is frequently used even in the NBA. Watch for any opportunity and use it.