are a lot of benefits to play that’s outside the standard five on five
game. Let’s look at some of the benefits a 3 on 3 matchup has for young
Get to Handle the Ball More
With five players on the court, one or two players can go an entire
game rarely touching the ball. This especially happens in young teams
where you have a player or two that are by far the best ball handlers
on the team. The team tends to get the ball into those players’ hands
and those players tend to take the ball to the hole.
The problem with this is that other players aren’t developing their
skills when they don’t get to touch the ball, and the team isn’t
developing as a whole.
In 3 on 3, it’s really difficult for two players to monopolize the ball
and still play well. The third player gets involved almost by
necessity. All players get to handle the ball and handle it a lot. This
allows all players to develop their skills in live game play.
Young Players from Getting Crowded
Even with the smaller bodies of young players, five on five games can
be crowded affairs. Youth basketball isn’t the best time or place for a
kid to learn to fight through double teams or pass into multiple
Three on three games loosens everything up and gives
young players more room to operate. This allows them to practice their
basketball skills without the overcrowding. Once the basic basketball
skills of dribbling, passing, rebounding, shot selection, etc. are
learned and mastered, then they can advance to learning to beat double
teams and threading passes into tight areas.
Learn the Fundamentals of the Game
In a 3 on 3 game, players are forced to practice their fundamentals
more. They quickly discover that they have to pick and roll to get open
because, unlike 5 on 5 games, defenders aren’t as likely to lose track
of the player they’re supposed to be covering. Thus, the only way
teammates get open is to help them get open.
The neat thing about this benefit of a 3 on 3 game is that it will
generally happen naturally. Kids will start to implement your pick and
roll training on their own just because that’s the only way for them to
Presses and Zone Defenses
Most youth leagues ban presses and zones for a good reason. Young kids
have enough on their hands learning the basics of the game. They don’t
need the added hassle of learning to beat lots of different defenses.
Three on three games remove this issue. They are
strictly man-to-man. This again allows your players to learn and master
the basics before moving on to more complex game play.
Three on three basketball has a lot of benefits. Even if you’re
coaching basketball in a five on five league, you would do your team
well to scrimmage 3 on 3. They’ll be more apt to master the basics, and
that’s what you’re trying to teach in youth basketball anyway.