When passing a baton in a relay race, an effective pass is smooth and quick. It must be performed within the exchange zone, which is 20 meters long, and the baton should not be dropped. Ideally, the baton should spend as little time in the exchange zone as possible.
In a 4 x 100 race, the outgoing runner ideally passes the baton to the incoming runner when they are both already at top speed. In a 4 x 400 race, the incoming runner accelerates to full speed after taking the baton from the outgoing runner's hand.
There are multiple hand-off techniques that can be effective when used in a relay race, including the push-in, the up-sweep and the overhand pass.