3×3 basketball: what you need to know about this new Olympic discipline

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Here’s everything you need to know about this discipline, which has just appeared at the 2021 Olympic Games.

A variation of basketball played in 5-on-5, 3×3 basketball has been gaining momentum on the international scene in recent years. While, as the name suggests, it is played with only three athletes per team (and a substitute on the bench who rotates constantly), the rules also change considerably from traditional basketball. First of all, the duration of the games is fixed at 10 minutes. Forget half-time, quarter-time or time-outs between points, even after a basket is scored: 3×3 basketball is extremely intense and requires highly versatile players. Both attacking and defending techniques are constantly put to the test and mistakes (always considered collective and not personal) can be very costly.

Moreover, the matches take place on a half-court outside (15 metres wide and 11 metres long) with only one basket. To win a game? The team must either be the first to score 21 points or have scored the most points at the end of the game. In terms of points, baskets scored from inside the arc are worth one point, while baskets scored from outside the arc are worth two points. Another difference with traditional basketball is that players only have 12 seconds of possession (compared to 24 seconds in 5×5) to shoot and score. The last major difference? Coaches have no right to intervene in the game. They are forced to stay in the stands and let the players control the game.

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