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How to: Create a Pick-up Game for Basketball

“It is a great socializing event while providing me with the opportunity to develop and deploy my basketball skills. I love pick up games, they’re flexible but can still get really competitive,” says a 21-year-old avid basketball-pickup-game-participant. Create a pick up game for basketball to get out there and get active! Read further on how you can create one today.



Knowing the rules and regulations of basketball


Make sure you know the game before you try playing it. This includes knowing how the game is divided – four quarters each lasting twelve minutes. There are two teams, five players each, competing against each other to get the highest numbers of baskets. But the game can get a lot more complicated than that so, typically in pick up games the rules are simplified depending on the group you're playing with. Every pick up group has their own style and rules that works for them, experiment until you find one that works for you.


If you are unsure about whether or not you know everything, read more about basketball rules.


Just remember – the better you understand the rules of the game, the easier it is to get one started.


Hoops & court


There are a few possible places to play your basketball pickup game.


  • Find an available street that is not too busy, that is not overcrowded with cars or pedestrians, and is spacious enough for your players and game. Be careful with this because you do not want anyone to damage property around your game. In Toronto you are allowed to play basketball on the street as long as it complies with the conditions that you can read here. Find out if this is allowed in your city and the rules around it.

  • Book a court either in a gym or a recreation centre that offers bookings/rentals. These are usually busy so if you plan on booking one, give yourself enough time before telling people about your game.

  • Locate a court in city-operated courts, usually within or next to city parks. Look at Toronto’s parks map to find one.


Have the equipment ready


Luckily, playing basketball does not require much equipment. Other than the ball, the most vital equipment is the basket itself. If you choose to play on a basketball court, this is not much of an issue (unless the court does not supply the baskets). If you choose to play on the street, find a player who owns a portable basketball net system. Even if it is just one basket, be creative – make players return to a ‘mid point line’ before trying to score.


Confused? Follow the basketball court lines by reading more here.


Advise your players to wear proper footwear. You want to avoid any injuries on the court. And find a way to distinguish the two opposing teams on the court – you do not need to purchase uniforms. Again, be creative! You can designate a specific colour each team should wear or get a colourful band that players must wear to distinguish the teams.


Have a scoreboard. You do not necessarily have to purchase one of those electronic, fancy and expensive scoreboards. Anything to mark down the scores will work – even a scorekeeper would be beneficial to have on the sidelines. As long as you are not relying on your brain to just remember the two scores.


Finally, it may be useful to ensure that there are extra balls or pumps to avoid any issues. Afterall, you do not want to end a game because of a deflated ball.


Get ready for your players


You know the game, you have a place and the equipment, all that is left now is finding the actual players. Pick up basketball can be as lenient as you want it to be. Not enough players? Lessen the team numbers! Make it 3v3 or 4v4, it’ll be challenging but could also be more fun! If you're playing with less players, you might want to play half court.


Be prepared for a range of different players. Not everyone will have the same skill levels. Make sure that the rules and conducts are established beforehand to maximize the contentedness within team members. Be open to providing help and support to those seeking to develop their basketball skills or maybe are just seeking to have a little fun.


Regardless, to get your game going – you need players! Promote your pick up game through Javelin Sports mobile app. Download our app today and start playing: Android or iOS

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