The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will debut 3v3 style of basketball in four-year competition this summer. The FIBA (International Basketball Committee) has established rules for this style of sport, and of course they are very different from the normal 5v5 team basketball the world is used to.

The counting system, the length of the game, the substitutions and many factors that determine the game vary. Every player who takes part in the event must therefore familiarize themselves with the new rules of the 3v3 game.

How is 3v3 basketball different from 5v5 basketball?

For starters, the ball is a different size. Every traditional full court game is played with a standard size 7 ball, while 3v3 basketball is played with a size 6 (28.5 in. Circumference) ball, which is also used for women’s full court games.

So here are a few basic rules that govern 3v3 basketball at the FIBA ​​level or at the Olympic Games.

Basic rules of 3v3 basketball

3v3 basketball [Source: InsideTheGames]
3v3 basketball [Source: InsideTheGames]

As the name suggests, “3v3-Basketball” consists of only three players in each team on the field, with both teams being allowed one substitution. In addition, the game is played on a half court instead of a full court.

Each team only has one time-out, which can be called by players or coaches during a dead ball situation (before free throws or checkball). Timeouts cannot be called during live balls. Any unused timeout is carried over to overtime. In official FIBA ​​3v3 competitions, however, two TV timeouts are granted for the first dead ball – if the game clock shows 6:59 and 3:59.

In addition, there is no jump ball scenario in a half field system. A coin toss decides which team will get the opening possession. The winner of the coin toss can either start the game or take the first possession of possible overtime.

In the event of overtime, the team that started the game in defense receives possession of the ball in overtime. A checkball is a must before possession begins.

Playing time in 3v3 basketball.

The game is not played in four quarters, but in ten minutes. The team that reaches 21 points first wins the game. If none of the teams can reach the 21-point mark, the team with the higher score wins after ten minutes. the game. There is a minute gap between regulation and overtime.

Extra time ends as soon as a team scores two or more points. In addition, the shot clock is 12 instead of 24 seconds and each timeout is only worth 30 seconds.

Goals in 3v3 basketball

3-on-3 basketball [Source: Bloomberg]
3-on-3 basketball [Source: Bloomberg]

Each bucket inside the arch is worth one point instead of the usual two. A free throw is also worth a point. In addition, a traditional three-pointer or shot from beyond the bow is worth two points instead of three.

The ball must be cleared before the bucket can count, i.e. taken past the arch, either the ball itself or the player’s foot. As already mentioned, a checkball is required before the start of possession, ie the rally between the offensive and defensive player at the top of the key.

3v3 basketball fouls and penalties

Six fouls are allowed in a 3v3 basketball game. A foul due to unsportsmanlike plays is counted as two fouls, also known as a flagrant. There is a penalty of two free throws for the 7th, 8th and 9th foul. Then, after the 10th foul, possession is awarded in addition to two free throws.

Every violation, regardless of whether it is travel or double dribbling, leads to a checkball. Three-second and five-second violations are the same. A 12 second violation is reported when a player comes to a standstill with a live ball and does not actively play (no score) for 12 seconds, also known as a shot clock violation.

Also read: What are the main differences between the rules in Olympic basketball and the NBA?


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