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Coaching Basketball Fundamentals:
The Give n Go



When coaching basketball fundamentals, there are some offensive moves that are absolutely necessary for players to know. The Give n Go is one of them.


A simple little basketball play, but very effective, you'll find the Give n Go in many offensive plays. It is essentially just a couple of passes with a cut in between, but performed properly can result in an explosive drive that disorients the defense, puts points on the board, and gets the crowd on their feet.

To execute a Give n Go properly, players need to do the right things at the right time, given the situation they are in.



Coaching Basketball Fundamentals:
The Give n Go on the Fast Break

On the fast break, there isn't much set up needed - the Give n Go works because of speed and timing, as the defense is struggling to catch up


  • The ball carrier leading the break passes off to the wing man

  • Because in a fast break situation, the defense is likely outnumbered and trying to cover too many men at once, the defensive player on the ball carrier will usually switch focus the instant the pass to the wing is made - either jumping to pick up the wing or dropping back to cover the key.

  • If the ball carrier, immediately upon making the pass to the wing, puts on a burst of speed to flash down the lane, often he will find himself momentarily alone.

  • A quick pass back to the guard by the wing will often result in a lay up.
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Coaching Basketball Fundamentals:
The Give n Go in a Set Play

In a set play, the Give n Go needs to be handled differently - the offense doesn't have the luxury of the defense being confused, like on a fast break; instead, the offense has to make the defense confused.

Probably the most common Give n Go play happens between a guard and a wing, though the principles of the move remain the same regardless of the positions.

  • The guard passes off to the wing man.

  • Because he is being guarded, the guard will likely not be able to cut straight down the side of the key - his defensive man will likely be in front of him to stop him.

  • Like any good cut, the guard needs to misdirect his defensive man's attention - i.e., he needs to give him a good fake. A good fake in the opposite direction will get the defensive man moving away, likely lull him into thinking the guard is going to screen for someone else.

  • Then the guard flashes back, cutting behind the defensive man, sprinting quickly down the lane to receive the pass form the wing and take the layup
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Coaching Basketball Fundamentals:
The Give n Go on the High Post

Another common setup for this move is between the wing and high post


  • In this situation, the pass has already been made to the wing; now the wing passes to the high post

  • Quite often, when the pass is made past or behind the wing's defensive man, the defensive man will automatically turn to see where the pass went - and momentarily lose sight of the wing man. That's the cue for the wing man to cut behind the defensive man, flashing hard to the hoop.

  • The quick return pass from the high post results in a layup.
coaching basketball fundamentals - g n g 2



The main points to emphasize here:

  1. Good passes

  2. Don't telegraph the pass back - i.e., the player making the second pass can't be staring at where he intends to pass the ball

  3. The cut needs to be very quick, a burst of speed that gets the cutter past his defensive man. To accomplish this, the cutter should watch the defensive man's movement - the moment the defensive man begins to move in the direction of the fake, the cutter bursts back in the opposite direction to receive the ball. The defensive man won't be able to recover in time



The Give n Go is an essential move that players need to understand, practice and use. It is very versatile, simple to execute, and effective. And it should be something taught every season, especially at the beginning of the season and again when introducing set plays that use this basic offensive move.

Often I find it's too easy to get caught up in adding one more drill to the practice schedule, or refining an offensive play, and sometimes I find I need to pull back and just focus on coaching basketball fundamentals, take it all back a step or two. And when I do that, I find everyone benefits.



More about Coaching Basketball Fundamentals here


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"Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates."
- Magic Johnson








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