8 Fun and Competitive Basketball Games for All Ages
Do you want to know the secret to get everyone in the family to play basketball? Especially the young kids just learning the game? We’ve compiled this list of eight basketball games that are fun and competitive for all ages, from beginner to expert.
No matter your age, you can play fun basketball games without breaking the bank on equipment costs.
You can improve your skills while also having a good time, so check out this list of eight basketball games to play that are competitive and fun.
1. 3 vs. 3 Half-Court
This game is best played in two teams of three.
Start with one player taking a shot to make a basket. Trade turns back and forth between the teams until all 3 players on the team makes their shot.
The first team to get all three players to make a basket wins.
You can use half the court for younger kids to shorten play time and increase scoring opportunities.
2. Double Shot Clock
A typical shot clock game including 2 timers, a ball, and two players.
The first player will take a shot to start the timer. Each time a shot is made, the timer stops and the other player takes a shot in the same place. If there is a miss, the timer continues until the shot is made in that spot. The player that starts the game continues to choose the shot locations.
Switch starting players and start again when one timer hits 5 minutes. Best of 5 wins the game!
It makes basketball fun because everyone is trying to make baskets, yet it’s super competitive with the urgency of the stop clock timer.
3. Team Scramble
Have two teams of four players line up at opposite ends of a basketball court. This works in teams of 2 or 3 also.
Player one in each line has a ball.
1-on-1 basketball starts but the key here is shooting from three-point range. The other team then does its best to stop them.
Each player can play defense and offense. The team that scores five points first wins.
4. Silly Shot Challenge
The point of this game is to make as many shots from different spots on the court as possible. You get points if you sink a shot in your target area, or lose points if you miss. The team with the most points wins.
Here’s how it works: set up one bucket in the middle of 7 lines (3 lines on each side of the bucket). Divide the players into teams of two. Each team takes one shot per turn starting at the free throw line. Each time a team makes a basket, they move the bucket one line towards the side. Switch players choosing shot locations on the court.
The first team to get the bucket to the last line wins that round. Play best of 3 rounds.
A classic game of H.O.R.S.E.
Players start at the free throw line shooting to see who starts the game, this will also determine the order of the players shooting. Last player to miss a shot starts the game. To make the start process more difficult and quicker, move back after each round of shots.
The winning player starts with a shot anywhere on the court. Then the next player follows. Each miss will give a letter to the player and then the next in line continues with a shot anywhere on the court.
“Called” shots are allowed but must be called before the shot. “Called” shots are as follows:
A. Bank – off backboard and into basket, may touch rim.
B. Bank Swish – off backboard and into basket without touching rim.
C. Straight In or Swish – must go into basket without touching backboard or rim.
D. Opposite Hand – if shooter is right handed the shot is attempted with left hand and vice versa.
F. Jump Shot – both feet off court when ball is released.
G. Set Shot – both feet in contact with court when ball is released.
H. Hook Shot – ball is released in arch over the body.
Trick shots involving spins and ball movement prior to release are not allowed. No shot may be attempted twice in a row from the same spot to give the opponent 2 consecutive letters. All games will be self-officiated on the honor system.
Once a player spells out H.O.R.S.E with missed shots the game is over. Try playing with other words too. Our personal favorite is P.I.G.
6. Outright shooting contest
With a court of two teams lined up on opposite ends, players pass to each other and try to hit as many shots as possible before time elapses.
The first team to reach 10 wins. This is perfect if you’re looking for fun basketball drills that don’t involve working on fundamentals. If you want to make things more interesting, take turns putting money on how many shots either team will make.
For example, you could put $5 into a pot. Then every time someone scores another basket during that round of shooting, they get another $1. Play fair!
7. Hot Potato
If you don’t have an entire team of players, try a round of Hot Potato, where each player is on offense and defense.
The game starts with one player who shoots from the outside. If the player makes it, that player passes it to another person and they join at the end of their line. Whichever team misses gets tagged with Hot Potato and must work together to make a shot.
This continues until someone makes a shot.
For an added twist, allow everyone a chance at shooting after everyone has had a turn on defense, as this helps keep kids interested.
8. Isolation game
The game pits one player against an entire team.
A coach will call out a number that designates a specific player. If that player makes a basket, they get to stay in play; if they miss, they’re replaced by another teammate. Play continues until all but one team member have been eliminated—then it’s time to switch sides.
You can liven up the game by awarding points or extra time in-game if players can shoot shots off specific parts of the floor.
If you don’t have enough people to form two teams, try using only half your roster and having them compete against themselves instead. After all, plenty of basketball shooting games require teamwork, as outlined earlier.
Get playing and training with these 8 Fun and Competitive Basketball Games for All Ages!