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How to Play 3-on-3 Basketball

By Contributor

If you've never played 3-on-3 basketball, you're missing out on one the most exciting and competitive short-sided basketball games around. 3-on-3 follows basically the same rules as traditional basketball, but is played on only half the court. A 3-on-3 basketball tournament can be great for camps or a pick-up game with limited people. To learn how to play 3-on-3 basketball, follow these steps.

Pick your teams. Teams must have 3 players, but can have as many as 6 for substitutions.

Flip a coin to see which team gets the ball first. The team with the ball first will throw in the ball from behind the 3-point line. This is called the take-back line and is where the play always resets.

Play as you would in a regulation basketball game in terms of trying to make a basket. Each basket inside the 3-point arc is worth a point, and each behind the arc is worth two points. Most games are played to 20; however, this can be adjusted depending on whether you're playing a pick-up game or tournament. After each made basket, the ball changes possession and is thrown in from behind the 3-point line.

Take the ball behind the 3-point line on an opposing team's missed basket, or a steal, to reset the play. You are not allowed to re-shoot a missed basket by the opposing team unless you take it back and reset the play. You can put back a shot by a teammate.

Substitute players during resets when players get fatigued. Having players available for substitution will give you a better chance to win.

Call your own fouls. All fouls must be called when they happen. Points do count if a player is fouled and the ball goes in the hoop. The first eight fouls are a reset of possession. Every foul after eight is a free throw, worth a point.

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