I’m a big fan of the handoff, I believe it functions very much like a pick and roll, but there is the advantage

Dribbling Drills
Basket Cut

of being able to run it guard to guard, and the fact that most of the time it captures the defense off guard, as it is a split second decision and can be very tough for them to react accordingly.

There are a number of options that can be run as well, and it’s important to go over them in practice so that you’ll be able to attack the defense aggressively and without hesitation.

Handoff Drill

Have a line of players stand on the baseline, along the lane line, and another at the top of the arc with a ball in their hands.

The players on the baseline will sprint up to the elbow, and receiver a pass from the players up top. The players up top will then come and run off the shoulder, doing one of the following things.

Basketball Conditioning

Basket Cut

As they come off of the outside shoulder, they’re going to take the ball and get to the basket in as few dribbles as possible.

This kind of move works best when the defense is trailing you off the screen, and the“ defender of the man handing the ball off hasn’t hedged or sagged over to block the lane to the hoop.


If your defender is sagging and going underneath the handoff, step out to the three point line and take the open shot.

Usually after a couple successful basket cuts, the defense will have no choice but to adjust, leaving them susceptible to the fade.

Elbow Jumper

Basketball Plays
Elbow Jumper

Another option that you’ll need to have in your arsenal is the elbow jumper. When the defense becomes enamoured with the player cutting off of the handoff, the player giving the hand off is going to start to be left alone.

Here they are best off just faking the hand off, squaring up, and taking the open available open jumpshot.

Coaching Tips

While here we’re practicing a post to guard hand off, it’s important to practice guard to guard hand offs on the wing, and the top of the key – different spots, same options!
If you don’t have any offense that features the handoff, you can substitute it in place anywhere there’s a pick and roll – or check out this post on Phil Jackson’s Triangle Offense!