wmba-ca-sm.jpgThe Winnipeg Minor Basketball Association with the support of Basketball Manitoba announced today that it will be piloting a new basketball game structure for the 8 Year Old Boys Division in the spring of 2012.  All games at this level will now be played in a '3 on 3 half court' setting, different from the traditional 5 on 5 full court game.  The 3 on 3 model encourages a more age appropriate fundamental skill development of players based on Long Term Athlete Development concepts.  Basketball's international governing body (FIBA) and Canada Basketball are recommending that all basketball played at the age 9 and under level use the 3 on 3 half court model.  This new modification will be expanded through the WMBA to ages 9 and under over the coming year.  So why 3 on 3?

Welcome to 3 on 3 Basketball

It is an
exciting time for sport in Canada
from the grassroots community centre programs to the national elite programs. Why? Because sport groups have
recognized that our children aren’t getting from sport what they need to be
active and engaged in sport for life. 
And what children need begins with quality sport programs from an early
age. The Winnipeg Minor Basketball Association
and Basketball Manitoba
are trying to address this by ensuring children have the right building blocks
to enjoy sport and physical activity!  

with the support of Basketball Manitoba,
is piloting a new basketball game
structure for the 8 Year Old Boys Division in the spring of 2012.  Basketball's international governing body
(FIBA) and Canada Basketball are recommending that all basketball played at the
age 9 and under level use the 3 on 3 half court model.  As parents you can expect to
see some changes.  In general, here are
three areas where you can expect changes and here is why.

Why is this good for
our children?

Focus on Physical

Children need to have agility, balance, coordination,
running, jumping, catching and throwing skills in order to have an enjoyable
experience. Therefore, you will see coaches and programs emphasizing these
things in their practices.  This is much
like in school where a child starts with phonics and very simple works before
they are asked to read a chapter book. 
And yes, it takes practice and doing that will help a child become
competent and confident.  Imagine asking
a child to read a chapter book before they can read simple words. They would
find it frustrating.  Basketball is a
tremendous team sport which incorporates many key developmental skills
including running, agility, balance, coordination, running, jumping, catching
and throwing skills.  We are doing the
same thing in these quality sport programs. By establishing the fundamental
movement and motor skills a child is setting a good foundation for being active
for life!

Kids Don’t Play Like

We can’t expect a young child to play the adult game.
They are smaller, haven’t learned the skills and don’t necessarily understand
the game. Therefore, facilities, equipment, games, and practices to accommodate
the developmental level of the child are needed.  These modifications are to help the child
progress in a positive way, learn the skills and develop confidence.

Game Structure

In order for the child to develop the skills, they
need to touch the ball many times. Therefore, you are likely to see smaller playing
surfaces and fewer players on the court. This is to give each child the
opportunity to touch, catch, shoot or pass the ball as many times during a
game. This will definitely improve their skills!

So WHY 3 on 3?


3 on 3

5 on 5

3 on 3 basketball results in...


Players Playing in One Gym



12 total players on the floor


10 total players on the floor


More time
playing and less time sitting. A total of 20% more playing time for everyone!


Basketballs Used

2 basketballs on the court

1 basketball on the court

Twice as
many touches of the ball for the team which results in more skill development
and enjoyment..


Players per Game


3 vs 3 (6 total)


5 vs 5 (10 total)

spacing for players and less congestion on the floor leading to improved
skills in shooting, passing and dribbling.


Court Size


Half Court

(1 hoop)


Full Court

(2 hoops)

possession starts in a scoring position at the top circle of the key. This
cuts out the time in the middle of the court providing more real playing opportunities.
It slows down and simplifies the game which allows for enhanced learning! 



Coaching 3 players in the half
court in close proximity

Coaching 5 players in a full court setting,

more teaching opportunities between coach and player. 



All games will be played using the current FIBA
(International) basketball rules with the following modifications...

1.       TEAM COMPOSITION.  Teams will be formed normally at the
community club ranging is size from 8-10 players each.  When a combined total of 12 or more players
are in the gym for a game, 2 half court games will be played. When 6 to 11
players are present in the gym, one basket in a half court setting will be used
for the game.  At halftime, the split
'visiting' teams (team listed second on the schedule) will switch courts to
ensure players have an opportunity to play against different players in the
second half.  Players on the split 'home'
team will remain on the same half court throughout the entire game. 

2.       GAME PLAY. All
games are played 3 on 3 in a half court setting on one basket.  All play will begin with the ball at the top
of the 'key' which must be 'checked' by the defense given to the person
defending the ball for a moment) and passed in to begin play.  All rebounds or changes in possessions must
be 'cleared' with the ball being taken back to the top of the key and must be
passed in to a teammate.  When ball is
'checked' (given to the defender at the top of the key), the other 4 players on
the 'wings' will tag hands with each other to ensure they are in good defensive
possession.  Substitute players not
playing can be used on the side and end lines around the half court as extra
'catchers' to help players on the floor pass the ball around if needed to keep
the game flowing. 

3.       SCORES. No
scores or standings will be kept.

4.       EQUIPMENT. A
'size 5' (27.5) basketball and 8 foot high baskets will be used. 

5.       GAME TIME.
Games will be played with 2 x 25 minute running time halves with a 5 minute
halftime and regular substitutions being made at the 5 minute mark throughout
the game.  There will be no timeouts
allowed in games to maximize the time played on the court.

6.       PLAYING TIME. All
players are to receive equal court time and will be regularly substituted every
5 minutes.

7.       VIOLATIONS. All
fouls, violations (travelling, double dribble, 3 in the key, etc.) or out of
bounds calls will result in the ball being given to the opposing team at the
top of the key.  No free throws will be
taken at any time.

8.       DEFENSE. Teams
are to play 'man to man' defense only (no zone defenses allowed)

9.       REFEREES. One
referee will be assigned to each half court and be situated under the basket on
the baseline.  In situations where less
than 12 players in the gym, one half court will be used in the gym with 2

Team Sport is Good for our Kids – We
Need to Keep Them in the Game!

We continue
to read about the alarming rate of obesity and inactivity in our children as
well as the high drop out rate in sport activities.   Sport is important not only for the physical
benefits but for what it can do for children as they develop. 

By developing good skills, children
will have confidence and enjoy the sport
. This should lead to continued participation in a positive
environment with their peers. Children who participate in regular physical
activity have reduced risks of many adult health problems, including diabetes,
obesity, and heart disease. This is why one of the biggest benefits of team
sports is that they provide children with the opportunity to be physically

Benefits of Team Sport

social skills, cooperation, a sense of community

Develops physical literacy and

children how to cope with competition in a healthy way

how to a play a game now to be active for life

communication and leadership skills

problems, develop patience and persistence, and become self-disciplined

appreciation and respect to others


More information can be found at... 



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