3 on 3 basketball is on the rise as one of the most-played team sports in the world. From the schoolyard to the Olympics, this variation of tradition basketball continues to grow in popularity. What many don’t realize is that aside from the fun and simplicity of 3 on 3, it’s also gaining traction as a beneficial route when it comes to developing young basketball players.
Research has started to shine light on the advantages of young athletes learning to play in 3 on 3 environments. Increased learning opportunitiesgreater player participation, and more enjoyment and feelings of competence are just a few of the conclusions studies have come to in past years. In fact, Steve Nash Youth Basketball coaches are actually encouraged to use Mini-Basket 3 on 3 and 4 on 4 principles in their lesson plans for many of these same reasons.
3 on 3 vs. 5 on 5
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)
More 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)
Every 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
Creates more teaching opportunities between coach and player.
I strongly encourage coaches to use 3 on 3 as a tool for development – if you haven’t yet, try integrating it into your sessions going forward. Your athletes will have a blast and reap the benefits while they’re at it!
Check out this video for more information about 3 on 3 as a developmental pathway.
  … Continue reading Why Play 3 on 3?

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