Give and Go

What is a Give and Go in Basketball?

A give and go in basketball, also referred to as a pass-and-cut, is a fundamental offensive strategy that players often learn when they first begin playing the sport. This technique consists of a player passing the ball to a teammate and subsequently making an immediate cut or sprint towards the basket or an open space on the court. The overall objective of this play is to create an opportunity for a return pass, leading to a scoring chance.

Though the give and go play is more commonly seen at beginner levels, it remains an effective tool at higher levels of competition, including youth and high school basketball teams. The strategy relies heavily on precise timing, passing, and communication between players, which promotes trust and chemistry among teammates. By using the give and go effectively, teams can successfully maneuver around their opponents, particularly when facing man-to-man defensive strategies.

Fundamentals of the Give And Go

Definition of Give And Go

A Give And Go is a basic offensive play in basketball that relies on teamwork, communication, and precise timing to create scoring opportunities. It involves a quick exchange of passes between two teammates, aiming to catch the defense off-guard while establishing an advantage for the offensive team. Typically, the play consists of the following steps:

  1. Player A passes the ball to Player B
  2. Player A quickly cuts towards the basket or an open space on the court
  3. Player B returns the pass to Player A, who is now in a better position to score

This fundamental play in basketball combines passing, cutting, and accurate timing, making it an effective strategy against man-to-man defense schemes. Teams at beginner and high levels frequently utilize this type of action, as it promotes ball and player movement, potentially leading to defensive breakdowns.

Historical Origins

The Give And Go play has been a part of basketball since the early days of the sport, with its origins tracing back to the foundations of offense. Pioneered by Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, this basic yet powerful move has evolved over the years but continues to hold its place in the game due to its fundamental approach to fast-paced, cooperative play. The Give And Go has been utilized by teams and players from various backgrounds and skill levels, showcasing the versatility of this simple yet effective offensive maneuver in basketball.

Executing a Successful Give And Go

The Role of Players

In a give and go play, there are two main players involved: the ball handler and the passer. The ball handler initiates the play by passing the ball to their teammate (the passer). Immediately after the pass, the ball handler makes a quick cut towards the basket or an open space on the court. The passer then returns the pass, providing the ball handler with a scoring opportunity.

Ball Handler:

  • Start with the ball
  • Pass to a teammate (the passer)
  • Make a quick cut towards the basket or open space


  • Receive the pass from the ball handler
  • Observe the ball handler’s movement
  • Return the pass to the ball handler at the right moment

Timing and Space

For a successful give and go, timing and spacing are crucial. The ball handler should make their cut immediately after passing the ball, catching defenders off-guard. Additionally, the passer should return the pass to the ball handler at the right moment, usually when they have created enough space between themselves and their defender.

Proper spacing on the court is also essential. Teammates should maintain enough distance from each other to prevent defenders from easily closing the gaps. Maintaining proper spacing also ensures that the ball handler has a clear path to the basket or an open space for the return pass.

Common Mistakes

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when executing a give and go:

  1. Not cutting immediately after the pass: The ball handler should make their cut as soon as the pass is made, allowing no time for the defender to react.
  2. Poor spacing: Players should maintain enough distance from each other and not crowd the ball handler’s path to the basket.
  3. Slow or inaccurate passes: The passer should deliver the return pass to the ball handler quickly and accurately, ensuring a smooth execution of the play.
  4. Lack of communication: Players should communicate their intentions, either verbally or through body language, to improve the timing and overall success of the give and go.

By avoiding these common mistakes, players can effectively execute a give and go to create scoring opportunities and disrupt the defense.