South Africa's basketball community

Day 13: Variety is the spice of life

By on September 13, 2010 in Resources

This article is part of the series “30 days to being a better basketball player“.

"night time basketball, #3" by cjelli, via flickr

There are many ways to enjoy the game of basketball, and one way to keep yourself and your friends/team enthused is to play some different games when you’re playing/practicing/scrimmaging.

There are lots of different ways to play , here are just a few that you can use:

1 on 1

The classic matchup setting one player’s skills against another. You play against another player in the half court and the first player to reach the agreed number of points wins.

Each time a player rebounds the other player’s missed shot, they must take the ball out beyond the 3-point line. You can use normal scoring of two- and three-pointers, or switch these to one- and two-pointers if you prefer.

If you have a few players, you can even have a mini-tournament with games to 7 points to see who the top dog is.

3 on 3

Made popular in streetball, the new FIBA 33 format used at the Youth Olympic Games has brought a new dimension to this type of play.

You can see the FIBA 33 rules here. Basically its games of 3-on-3 where the first team to 33 points is the winner. If neither team has reached 33 points by the time five minutes has expired, the team with the most points at the expiration of the five minutes wins.

"hoopdreamsbasktblltournmnt_04" by mattdailey, via flickr


Ideal where there are three of you (and you’re not keen for just 1-on-1 games between each other).

The starting player lines up at the free throw line with the other two on either side of the key as they would be during free throws in a game. The starting player shoots a free throw. If he gets it in he gets one point and gets another free throw. If he misses, the players rebound and play 1-on-2 until a basket is scored.

If the shooter makes three successful free throws in a row, he takes the ball out up top and they play 1-on-2 until a basket is scored.

Once a normal basket is scored (after a free throw miss or after the three successful free throws), the players rotate and the second player begins the process again.


Played with any number of players, a selected player gets to take any type of shot he wishes (the more creative/difficult, the better). If he misses, another players gets a chance to try something spectacular, but if its successful, the other players must try to copy the shot – if they miss, they get one of the letters making up H-O-R-S-E.

Once a player has all the letters, they’re out of the game and play continues until only one player, the winner, remains.

Try something different

Not only are these fun when you don’t have enough players to make up a full 5 on 5 game, but you can also create your own team and league to start competing on a more regular basis.

So why not give some different games a try, you never know what fun you could have.

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