Games under these rules are still considered to be basketball, with variant rules suited to the circumstances.
Different roster sizes
An actual competitive game of basketball can be played with as few as two people. The game may be referred to by the number of people on each team; a six-player game may be referred to as “three-on-three” or “3-v-3” (“v” stands for “versus”). Each team’s roster is typically the same size, but an odd number of players may force one team to play with one less player. Sometimes the odd player will be designated as a “switch” player, so that the offensive team always has the extra player.
Roster sizes above five players per team are uncommon even in informal games, as the court generally becomes too crowded to allow movement and space to develop between players.
Six-on-six basketball was a form of basketball played in the twentieth century mainly among high school girls.
Three-on-three basketball remains competitively played by amateurs, for example in tournaments organized by the Association of College Unions International.
Variations in scoring
Because free throws are not generally used, baskets made in pick-up games generally count as 1 point. However, some courts have begun to add the 3-point goal to their pick-up scenario. Some courts keep scores inside the 3-point goal as 1 point and scores beyond it 2, while others use standard basketball scoring rules: 2 points for scores inside the 3-point goal and 3 points for scores outside.
Full-court games usually only commence if there are 10 players, and it can be difficult to reserve a full court for only 2 teams.
Basketball is therefore frequently played in a half-court setting, essentially doubling the number of players that can play on a court at once, and this mode of play is frequently required in busy locations like public gymnasiums or health clubs. It is sufficient for most aspects of practice, other than transition plays and pressure defense which specifically require a full court, and is often used in coaching situations; a common sight at games is a coach with a small chalk or dry-erase board with a printed half court diagram, suitable for drawing up plays during a timeout.
In half-court games, only one basket is used, with the requirement that the ball be “cleared” whenever possession of the ball changes. To clear the ball (or in more common usage to “backcourt” it), the team acquiring possession must pass or dribble the ball across the half court line (or 3-point line, see below) before attempting a shot. This simulates the time that would be required for the offensive team to advance the ball into the frontcourt, gives the defense a chance to take position, and provides all players with a visual and mental cue that their roles have reversed, making the half court game an excellent simulation of the full court game.
Slight variations on this basic clearance rule are common, and some situations may not require the new offensive team to clear the ball upon every change of possession. A clearance is almost always required after a defensive rebound, but it may not be required in turnover situations such as a steal, blocked shot, or airball (a shot that doesn’t touch basket or backboard); this simulates, to an extent, the fast break that might take place after a turnover. Common variations in clearance rules include:
“one pass out”hat on change of possession the ball must be passed to a teammate being the only requirement for clearance
“the bottle”he ball need only to be taken outside the foul lane/ foul circle; this is generally a good rule for very young players;
a combination of either clearance to the 3-point line or to the foul line.
Failure to “take the ball back” before shooting generally results in the ball being awarded to the opposing team or the team having to redo the possession.
The origin of the half-court game is unknown, but some form of it is likely almost as old as basketball, simply because it allows a small number of people to play without quickly becoming exhausted from running the length of the court after every change of possession. In modern times, the 3-point line is more commonly used as the clearance line (in fact the half-court line is often considered an out-of-bounds marker). The 3-point line is a shorter distance from the basket and allows a clearance in almost any direction, rather than directly opposite from the end line. When the half-court variation was invented, however, the 3-point line probably did not exist (it was invented in 1961 and was not widespread until the 1970s), and so the name “half-court” has stuck.
As well, there may be differences in restarting play after a violation or other stoppage of play in a half-court game. In full-court contests the ball is generally thrown in from a point near that of the infraction. This may also occur in half-court games, but more often play resumes from “out front”, that is, at a point on the court above the three point line; in either case a “courtesy” rule (also referred to as “checking the ball”) is commonly in effect: before the ball is put into play it is handed to a player of the opposing team, and may only be played upon its return. The goal of this is typically to ensure that all members of the opposing team are aware that the ball is about to be put into play, and it is usually the job of the person to whom the ball is being checked to ensure that his teammates are ready. Often the player who begins play is required to make a pass before he or his team is allowed to shoot for a basket; this rule variation is called “doubling in”.
One variation commonly seen in the half-court game is the “make-it-take-it” convention (also called “buckets,” “keeps,” “possession,” or “winners-out”), followed in some regions, whereby the scoring team retains possession of the ball.
Other Games Using Basketball Skills and Equipment
Steal The Bacon
Steal The Bacon is where two balls are placed in the middle of the court. Teams are divided up evenly with unlimited players, usually only 10 though. They each get a number. When their number is called the two run out to the middle and get the balls, the first one to make it gets a point for their team. Two numbers may be called out for a team effort. Also, you can use only one basketball and it is a race to get the ball and make it first.
Main article: 21 (basketball)
“Twenty-one” is a game that can be played with two or more players. Each player has his/her own score, with the winner being the first to reach 21 points. The game begins with one of the players “breaking”, which is to shoot one free throw with the ball to determine if he or she starts the game. While all other players can attempt to stop the score, the player who missed the last shot is usually the one “responsible” for playing defense against the next offensive player. However, no player has any teammates at any time in the game. The player with the ball may shoot at any time, and may collect his own rebound and shoot again. On a defensive rebound, the rebounder takes possession and must clear the ball by dribbling it beyond the three-point line before taking a shot. Whenever a basket is scored, that player receives two points and goes to the free throw line, where each made free throw tacks on another one point to their score. The player is allowed to shoot free throws until he misses, at which point another player must rebound the ball, and the sequence starts again. This game can be played with the concept of tipped shots, where a player tips the ball in the basket off of a rebound of an opposing player’s missed shot, the original shooter’s score is reset back to zero. The game can also be played with deductions, such as minus one point when a player air-balls a shot or commits a traveling violation. Twenty-one is nearly always played in a half court game.
5-3-1 is a variation of 21. You begin by attempting a shot from the free throw line. If you sink it, you earn 5 points. You must then get your own rebound from that shot, regardless of whether it goes in or not. When you get the rebound, you must stay at the spot that you grab the rebound. From there you attempt a shot and earn 3 points if you make it. Finally you get a third shot which is usually taken as a lay-up. If you make all 3, you go again. The first person to reach exactly 21 wins.
The game emphasizes free throws. If you sink the free throw, the second shot is usually easy although it can drift under and behind the basket and thereby setup a difficult second shot. If you miss the first shot,the rebound can send the ball far away also setting up a difficult second shot. The third shot is generally taken as a lay-up although many players are known to get frustrated at previous misses and will throw up a wild shot from wherever they are and give up the 1 point.
It is possible to reach 21 on your first turn. If you sink all 3 twice, you will have 18 points. The next free throw has to be missed and the ensuing 3 point shot has to be made and then the last shot has to be missed.