Basketball Shooting Games: Fun For Everyone

More than any other round ball sport, basketball has spawned a wide variety of popular games which are variations on itself. If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional rules basketball, there are a number of other games that utilize basketballs and basketball rims and backboards in contests that do not involve a time clock. The emphasis is on shooting and not overall athletic prowess. If you’re able to shoot basketballs, you can play these games!

Games that employ basketballs and a basketball backboard and rim without the constraints of a time clock are varied and plentiful. The wonderful sense of accomplishment we receive from shooting basketballs through a basket and the friendly competition we experience make these games fun. These contests are more about shooting skill and less about athletic ability which explains, in part, their wide appeal. Whether you see them as basketball shooting drills (like many coaches do) or just plain fun, here are some of the most familiar ones:

H-O-R-S-E Next to traditional basketball, H-O-R-S-E is probably the best known game played with a basketball hoop system. It can be played by two or more participants with the order of play determined by free throw shooting (or any other method the players prefer). Player #1 decides on the kind of shot he or she is going to take from anywhere on the court, announces it and then takes the shot. There are no rules regarding length or type of shot. Player #2 (and every other player involved) must then duplicate the shot. If the shot is made, the player moves on to the next round without penalty. If Player #2 misses, he or she gets assigned the letter “H.” This procedure continues for all players. If a participant misses a second shot, he or she gets an “O”, and then an “R”, “S”, and finally an “E.” Once any player gets all five letters, he or she is eliminated from competition. The last player to remain in the game is the winner. Longer or shorter versions of H-O-R-S-E, with names like P-I-G, are also played.

Around The World In this game, 2 or more players take shots from pre-determined locations on a court (or driveway). In one version, the positions outline the area of the court known popularly as “the paint.” It is the zone bordered by the free throw line and out of bounds line and the 2 perpendicular lines that complete the rectangular box. In another version, the shot locations roughly follow the perimeter of the 3-point shooting line. Player #1 starts the game with a right-handed lay-up. If the shot is made, he or she shoots from the far right location. If that shot is made, he or she proceeds clockwise to the far left position “around the world” and then must make a left-handed lay-up before reversing direction back to the initial location. Making a shot from a position allows a player to advance to the next position and he or she keeps advancing until a shot is missed. When a shot is missed, a player must decide whether to save his position and pass the ball to the next player or elect to take another “chance” shot. If the chance shot is made, the player advances as normal. If the player misses, his or her turn ends and he or she pays a penalty. This may involve going back one position and waiting until the next turn or even starting over, which carries an ever higher risk the farther along the player is in the game. When a player makes a successful shot from the final position, the game enters the last stage. Generally, those players who hadn’t yet taken their final turn get a chance to tie, which cancels any advantage of going first. There are variations on the rules that make the game more difficult including requiring the shots to bank off the backboard, shooting with the non-dominant arm or shooting with alternating arms.

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