3v3 Isn’t Real Basketball

Since starting the Playmakers Basketball Development League, the biggest hurdle to overcome is the perception that somehow 3v3 basketball is not real basketball. In the U.S., soccer players do not play full 11v11 games until they are teenagers, but 6-year-olds play 5v5 basketball.

Here is some video of an NBA Pre-Draft Workout with the Kings. Around the 2:50 mark, the players play 3v3. If 3v3 is real enough to use in the decision-making process that eventually decides the fate of an NBA franchise, isn’t it real enough for 8-year-olds?


The PBDL uses 3v3 play to teach basic tactical concepts while providing more repetitions than a normal game for players to practice their technical skills like passing, shooting and dribbling. Furthermore, numerous studies have found small-sided games to be as physically demanding or more physically demanding than full-sided games, so from a physical activity standpoint, the PBDL is likely a better choice than your local 5v5 recreation league.

So, what is real basketball? What is the purpose of a real youth basketball league? If the purpose is to create a positive, fun learning environment, maximize the number of skill opportunities, and develop physical fitness, a 3v3 league like the PBDL is as real as it gets. 

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