Recently there has been an increased movement towards playing with 3 players on the court per team, utilizing half the court and only 1 basket (referred to as 3 on 3, or 3 vs. 3….or 3v3). This is great news for kids just learning how to play basketball. 3v3 helps give kids the opportunity to play the game with much less structure than a typical 5v5 game while learning specific skills in fun and engaging ways. This particular variation of the basketball game format is currently being promoted and structured by FIBA, the sport’s governing body. The 3-on-3 league concept is growing so much in popularity that in 2020, it became an Olympic sport.
3 on 3 Basketball Could be the Ultimate Teaching Tool for Youth
3-on-3 requires only six players to fill a competitive game, space usage can be limited to just half a court, and the rules are a bit easier to understand. This format lends itself well to increased participation as well, as each team member will spend more time handling the ball, communicating with their teammates, and participating in competition.
Let’s look at all the reasons why 3-on-3 is beneficial to younger developing players.
1. More Ball Time
As there are 2 fewer players in a 3-on-3 basketball game (as opposed to the traditional 5-on-5 game), players get to handle the ball more, helping to better develop skills, teamwork and confidence. Let’s say that a game is 40 minutes long and a player plays the entire game; half of the time is spent on defense and the other 20 minutes is for offense. Plus there are 4 other teammates, so 20 minutes divided by 5 players is 4 minutes each. So in a 40-minute game, on average, a player only has the ball in his or her hands for 4 minutes total.
2. More Space to Move
Again, with only 6 players on the court as compared to 10 in the 5-on-5 game, there is more space to operate on the court. More space allows young players to do more, and try out more new moves. As they improve, they can then take to the 5-on-5 game. Having more space to play makes the game often times more fun!
3. More Fast Paced
Surprisingly fast-paced, the 3-on-3 game is played in the half-court and players simply have to take the ball out of the net and take it back over the 3 point line before trying to score. The fast pace of the game makes it a lot of fun as compared to some of the 5-on-5 games that can become boring and stagnant, with a slow tempo or teams sitting in zone defenses.
4. Better Basic Basketball Movements
Finally, 3-on-3 basketball is a great teaching tool for basic movements and skills, which can be carried over to 5-on-5 games in the future. Oftentimes in 5-on-5, the main offensive operation is performed by only 3 players. For instance, a pick and roll with the 3 players on the ball/strong side or a pass and screen away are some of the most common movements in basketball, so 3-on-3 works to help players perfect these moves.
Bangkok Junior Basketball League
One initiative here in Thailand is the Bangkok Junior 3-on-3 Basketball league which is a premiere youth basketball league in Southeast Asia, due to the Covid pandemic this has been on holiday for a while but watch this space for details on when this will be back! Lucky for us there are a great selection of Basketball academies for kids to learn and train with here in Bangkok, from beginner level up to championship, click HERE for further details.