Backdoor Drills and Handoff Plays with Geno Auriemma

Legendary UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma prefers drill work that translates from practice to the game. In this week’s team development feature, learn some new half-court offensive drills that place an emphasis on the ability to pass, catch, dribble, and shoot. The drills are consistently used by Auriemma and his basketball teams and should make a tremendous addition to your practices this season.

Back Door Drills and Handoffs – Overview

Drill Set-Up

Get players into three lines; one in the middle of the floor just beyond the midcourt line, one on the wing, and one underneath the basket. Guards should be in the top two lines and big men are stationed under the hoop.

Drill Movements

Start the big guy at the low block. The guard will dribble from inside the circle (at midcourt) and then change direction real fast. Next, he will pass the ball to the big guy who just flashed up to the top.

Meanwhile, the wing player will then drive backdoor and look for the pass from the big guy. The wing player will look like they are trying to get open. At the same time, the big player will flash and meet the pass and then throw the backdoor pass.

The drill isn’t finished just yet. The big guy who passed it will go and get the rebound. The scorer will come and run right to the elbow. The big guy will go out of bounds and inbound to the guard at the elbow. That guard will then turn and dribble up the floor and the ball goes to the end of the line.


Drill Options

Also, there’s the option for the point guard to take the handoff from the big guy (if he doesn’t throw the backdoor pass). If this happens, the guard can shoot it, drive it to the hoop, or take a little pull-up jumper. Make sure that you alternate.

Remember, cutters can’t move too soon. We want the defense to think that we are throwing the ball to the wing. Instead, it’s going to the flasher. This is how we start building the offense right away. Also, make sure that you cut right off the player’s shoulder when you come get the ball.

Now switch sides. Every time we make a pass over a defender’s head, no matter where we throw it, as soon as he turns, we are moving hard one way — even if that player doesn’t turn. Cut whichever way he’s not looking. This is how you can teach kids who aren’t as quick to get open and get a hand-off.

Key: Make an overhead pass to cut to the defender’s weak side. To get open, you have to run right at the guy with the ball. Make the defender make a mistake. Either way, the defender is going to get hung up.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Geno Auriemma: Dynamic Offensive Practice Drills.” To check out more videos featuring team drills, visit our extensive basketball library.

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