I can already see the rolled eyes of the basketball purists out there…hear me out though.
I should clear up a couple of things before I continue:
1) I’m not so much going to advocate why to play 3 on 3 as much as I’m going to advocate, “Why Not to Play 5 on 5 Basketball.”
2) When I say “youth players,” I’m talking about kids under the age of 10
3) I’m not saying 3×3 or even 4×4 are perfect systems. They just present some advantages over 5×5.
4) Regardless of what system you use, there’s an equal opportunity for ministry. I don’t necessarily think 3×3 or 4×4 is better for ministry. Just better for basketball development.
With that in mind, here we go:
1. Players get more time with the ball. Less players equals more touches with the ball for each player. I think this is crucial especially for younger players. Players get more chances to dribble, pass, and shoot.
2. There’s more spacing. You avoid “magnet ball” and allow the players space and freedom to develop dribbling, passing, and shooting without the clutter.
3. Coaches don’t need to be great strategists. With smaller teams and less players on the court, coaches can focus more on fundamentals and less on basketball strategy (zone defense, pressing, etc.). Don’t get me wrong, those things are important. I just think that at a younger age basic basketball fundamentals are more important. I think sports ministers out there would agree that lowering the basketball knowledge needed to coach a basketball team makes recruiting coaches much easier and perhaps allows more time and freedom to focus on ministry.
4. Smaller teams allow coaches to pour more into their players. Most coaches would agree that coaching 6-8 players on a team is much more manageable than 10+ players. Of course, you could offset the effect of having 10+ players with having assistant coaches but we all know having available assistant coaches is not always a given.
I personally lead a youth basketball league that plays 4×4 and I can see all of the above advantages in our league. I’m sure the same would be true of 3×3.
What do you think? Am I crazy?