Weekly X’s & O’s – Motion Offense Breakdown | DHO Actions

We’re still staying with our Motion Offense this week and discussing the X’s and O’s. In terms of getting the basketball from one player to another, there is only two possible ways to do this. The first is passing, and the second is handing the ball off (which technically may also be a pass).

We use dribble hand-off (DHO) actions for three primary reasons:

  • As false motion
  • As an entry into our offense or action
  • As a way to hunt or create advantages

If using it for the first two reasons, then we’re not concerned with the various reads, as it is a secondary action, not the primary one. However, when using it to create advantages, we want to be able to read the defense and punish them.

In getting our players to recognise the different possible reads that they have, it is important that they can identify cues. We simplify this process by articulating “CLEAN” and “DIRTY” situations.

Clean = defense is not in a position to disrupt the exchange

Dirty = defense is in a position to disrupt the exchange

We really want our players to understand that dribble directly at their teammate doesn’t offer us the angles to get the advantage that we want. This is something that we emphasise.


As the ball-handler dribbles towards the action, they time their pivot and hand-off to influence the defender to go over the action. This gives us a small numbers advantage that when used correctly can be turned into a bigger advantage.


When initiating a fake and go, it is also important to read where your defender is in terms of creating the advantage.


We always want to send the defender over the action. This is because we are hunting and creating advantages.

Therefore, similar to screening situations, when the defender goes under, we twist it. This gives us a second chance to send him over.


In terms of counters, we generally want to use them a lot more before the first action. This kind of negates the “counter” element.

However, we find that by using counters first, the action is more likely to go according to plan. When the defense is worried about the backdoor, they will most likely not be passive in guarding next time.


Wraps are a great way to get an open basket. Most defenders tend to relax after the “initial” action has been stopped. With this, the defense is focused on the hand-off that they relax afterwards. A late pass into the wrap can yield some uncontested points..


A Get is an ideal action for us, especially with players who aren’t adept at handling the ball yet or who just haven’t been able to get the reads down. We simplify the game for them, so they get a chance to be successful, before we progress up later.


We primarily teach ball screen actions through GETS. This is because for the most part, teams will not send their post player up to guard above the three point line, electing to protect the rim instead.

So, we use these post players in GETS and it becomes a ball screen without the hedge or trap when needed .


We can rep these out through small sided games. Here’s one example of the DHO action. From a stationary start, we let the ball-handler DHO with the wing.

In these learning segments, we will limit the defense to what they can do without the offenses knowledge.

Ideally, you will want to get into dynamic situations as quickly as possible.


A second game which features a dynamic start is combining the Motion Screen Away from last week into our DHO action.

In teaching these reads and actions, we will not teach them all at once or even over the course off the season. Generally speaking we will teach an “if… then…. ” scenario with two options.

E.g. If it’s clean, then do this

Some players get it quicker than others, so they will be encouraged and accommodated more, but in terms of teaching and breakdowns, we would rather be really good at two things than average at ten.


That’s all for this week. I hope you guys enjoy seeing what we do within our practices. If there is a specific action or drill that you would like us to share, just drop us a message and we’ll be happy to do so.

As we progress in practice, we will be adding our dribble penetration principles and ball screen concepts into our motion offense. That is something to look out for in the coming weeks.

Until next week.

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