The rising popularity of 3-on-3 basketball is bringing the game to new heights
From the early days of its invention, basketball was designed as a full-court game with a basket at each end. As it evolved into a city game on urban blacktops, the half-court game gained popularity. Despite the emergence of competitive 3-on-3 tournaments however, this format lacked the legitimacy of the full-court game, which dominated the highest levels of professional play.
This is about to change with the arrival of 3x3, a revamped version of the game. Having made its competitive debut back in 2010 at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, 3x3 basketball is ready for the big stage, with its impending appearance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Built around just one basket, half-court basketball is sometimes preferred for its pace and excitement factor. With fewer players and additional spacing, players get the chance to show their athleticism and individual skills. 3x3 maximizes this by introducing 12-second shot clocks with no breaks or stoppages in play, as the ball is ‘live’ from the moment it goes through the hoop.
There are ample opportunities to display the accelerations and changes of direction associated with the half-court game. Studies in Australia and Denmark have shown a high rate of sprints and shuffling, as well as increased usage of individual technical skills. This is not surprising, given the space available for players to pull off one-on-one ball-handling and scoring moves.
Full court basketball, on the other hand, requires better conditioning, due to the longer distances covered. This has been shown to translate to marked health benefits, for instance in heart rate and maximal oxygen uptake. Stamina and end-to-end speed can play greater roles than quickness. This format provides the full experience of team play too, with endless possibilities in executing offensive plays and defensive schemes.
As a basketball aficionado, why not actively participate in both forms of the game? We stand to gain from exposure to their differing requirements. Moreover, both 3x3 and the full-court game provide unique fun elements that can enhance our playing experience.