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3 on 3 Basketball & Why It’s Great for Teaching Kids to Play

Updated: Oct 5

There are so many benefits to 3 v 3 basketball for young players!


Teaching young athletes how to play basketball can be done in a number of different ways. Whether you spend time focusing on skill development or jump right into learning through game play, introducing kids to the benefits of playing 3 on 3 ball can help them improve their game and gain confidence on the court. It is growing? You bet, as of 2020 3v3 basketball is has been an official Olympic sport!

8 benefits of 3v3 basketball for kids

At Burlington Basketball, we know these benefits outlined are perfect for getting kids involved at a young age. We offer both spring 3v3 and winter 3v3 basketball programs. Join us!

Although 5v5 basketball is usually more common in rec leagues, playing 3 on 3 ball actually presents some distinct advantages for young players.



1. Kids are able to touch the ball more

With fewer players on the court, it’s no surprise that each athlete will have more of an opportunity to touch the ball during game play. The more a player gets to touch the ball, the more likely they are to develop skills, confidence and the ability to work with their team.

2. Forces all players to get involved

When there are 10 players on the court it is easier for some less confident kids to hang back and not join in on plays. However, when there are only 6 kids in the game everyone is pushed to take an active role.

3. Learn how to move around the court

In games with 10 players on the court, players are coached to maintain their position and stay relatively within their zone. However, with fewer man on the court, players in 3v3 games have to learn how to effectively move around the whole court, since playing zones isn’t ideal. More space on the court also means that players will have more opportunity to practice their moves during the game which can improve confidence and help hone their skills.

4. More opportunity to defend the ball

One of the more common strategies in 5v5 ball is to play zones when defending players on the opposite team, however this isn’t a strategy that works well in 3v3 ball. In these games, each player has to guard a specific opposing team member instead. This means that every player is going to have to focus on defending the ball throughout the game.

5. It is easier to make decisions

When there are less players moving around the court in-game decision making becomes much easier. With fewer teammates to consider when looking for a pass and less opposing players trying to get in the way, making fast choices during the game feels a bit easier to do.

6. Good for overall development

Playing a basketball game with 10 players on the court can be quite a bit of work, and many young athletes just haven’t built up the skills or strength to thrive in that situation yet. 3 on 3 games encourage players to develop their stamina and skills in situations that are easier to handle.

7. Helps players focus on the basics

Often during games of 5 on 5 some of the main offensive moves are done by only 3 players, so 2 are left to hang back and not participate in the scenario. When there’s only 3 players on the court everyone is involved in each play, helping all players to learn some of the basic skills of game play. Then when they move to 5v5 games, they are able to carry with them the skills that they’ve learned in 3v3.

8. Kids get more opportunities to score

Smaller teams and less people on the court means that each player has a better opportunity to touch the ball and in turn, score. Not only is this a positive for the whole team, it will help each player to gain confidence in their skills and learn just what it takes to sink the ball.

9. It’s fun!

When it comes down to it, the most important reason to play 3v3 ball with young athletes is that it is fun. When kids are able to spend more time actively participating and learning, they are bound to have more fun playing ball. Having fun really is the most important part of any sport or extra curricular activity.

3v3 ball is growing – get in the game!

Although 5 on 5 ball has been the norm for many years, 3 on 3 is starting to grow in popularity. It’s even earned its place at the Olympics! With fewer players on the court, young athletes are able to put their skills to the test on the court and really have fun while learning how to play the game. Get out there get maximum involvement and have fun with 3v3 basketball!

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