When teaching kids basketball, it’s pretty standard to run drills to improve skills then transition them into game play to put those new skills to use. While great in theory, 3 on 3 player basketball (or, “small sided games”) is a great way of teaching how to play the game – and it’s quickly gaining traction in the basketball community! Playing 3v3 games lets coaches work with a smaller group of kids on the court so they can focus on developing each player where they need it- in real game situations.

Using 3v3 to teach youth basketball is a new trend, and one we find valuable! Read on to hear why.

3v3 or 5v5?

Using 5v5 games to teach kids can mean some kids might get left out or not get enough time with the ball in their hands. This is especially true for the kids that aren’t quite as strong players. When developing skills, it’s important for all kids to get opportunities to pass and engage.

Using 3v3 as a teaching tool allows our coaches to work on specific skills in fun and engaging ways. When there are less kids on the court it’s easier to give kids the opportunity to play the game with minimal structure. Technique focused drills are good in theory, but in the middle of a fast game it can be difficult to know how to put those skills into play. With less players on the court it’s easier to respond to the game and use the skills they learned in practice.

DID YOU KNOW? Burlington Basketball’s 3v3 developmental program is a great place to start learning the basics. From there it’s a natural progression into higher level 3v3 classes or into the standard 5v5 game. Join us for a camp this summer and keep those skills fresh for fall league!

Teaching Basketball IQ

Teaching techniques like the pick & roll, screening away and how to do different cuts are easier when there are less players on the court. Rather than thinking about what the other players are doing, kids can focus on running the play and learning the basics. This will help set them up for a great base of basketball IQ. The earlier these skills become ingrained, the easier it will be to progress and build upon their skills.

Skills like proper spacing on the court, moving with and without the ball, and playing different positions all create a great base for coaches to work with as kids grow.

More Benefits of 3v3 basketball

  • Having less players simplifies the game, making it easier to learn
  • It’s beneficial for overall development
  • Kids touch the ball more
  • There’s more space on the court to practice their moves
  • Gets all players involved, instead of letting some hand back
  • Breaks the game down into smaller, easier to teach chunks
  • Helps players learn when to use a skill
  • Kids get more opportunities to score
  • It’s fun!

Olympic sized goals

3v3 basketball games are even making the shift from just-for-fun play time to serious sports events. FIBA 3v3 World Cup is in its 5th year, and the IOC has announced that 3v3 will be included as an official sport in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics! So 3v3 isn’t just a way to pass time anymore, it’s now also a game in its own right.