When your basketball training gets a little too intense and you just want to get back to enjoying the sport, pickup games are a fantastic way to develop your basketball skills without the pressure of a league. If you've ever played a pickup basketball game, you know that there are certain unwritten rules that you must follow if you want to be respected on the court. For a basketball player who’s just starting out or even one who is accustomed to the rules and regulations of a league, the proper etiquette for playing in a pickup game may not be obvious. Here are a few basketball tips you can use to have a great pickup game.

Whether you're playing a pickup game in a gym or at a park, the first thing you should know is that you are probably going to have to wait to get into a game. If you see a game going on, you can wait on the sidelines for the game to finish. This will imply that you want to play in the next game, but be sure to call for the next game just to be sure. In between games, players might be running a few basketball drills. This is the time to try to get into a game since another one will probably begin shortly. If there are a lot of players waiting to get into a game, you may end up having to decide who gets to play and who has to keep waiting. The winning team of the last game keeps the court. Depending on how many players are waiting, the losing team either loses the court or may get a chance to play again. The players that make up the new team can usually be decided by taking free throws. The first five players that make their free throws get to play. This should give you a little added motivation to work on your free throw shooting as a part of your basketball training.

The most obvious difference between playing a pickup basketball game and a league game is the lack of officiating in a pickup game. Players are expected to officiate themselves in a pickup game, so many arguments can arise regarding what constitutes a foul. As an offensive player, you should call your own fouls, but if you are a defender and foul someone, take responsibility for the foul, don’t deny it. You shouldn't be fouling hard at all, but a little contact in a pickup game is acceptable. This is important to remember as an offensive player in a pickup game. You don’t want to be the player on the court who calls every little foul made against you. If you do get fouled, you get possession of the ball back, not a foul shot. Take the ball out at the top of the key to resume play.

You should figure out what score you’re playing to before you start the game. In most cases, the first team to eleven in pickup basketball games wins. The team must win by two points. Shots usually count for one point unless taken behind the three point line, in which case they count for two. Be sure to keep score as you play. Double check with other players during the game to make sure you have the score right; you don’t want to lose track of which team is winning.

Pickup games are a terrific way to meet new people who love the game as well as develop your basketball skills in a relaxed environment. It seems counterintuitive that you have to follow these procedures in a game without officials, but you’ll get along with other players and gain their respect if you abide by the unwritten rules in a pickup basketball game.

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