One-On-One Half Court Basketball Rules

17 September 2022

While team play is much more popular with basketball, one-on-one is still an option too. When playing recreationally, it can be a fun way to play the game with a family member or friend. Cut the court in half and go head-to-head, play by the rules, and see who comes out on top.

Here, we’ll show you what the one-on-one half-court basketball rules are so that if you win, you can say you’ve done so fairly.

1) Fouls

If you’re the player defending, you’re able to call fouls. While you’ll have to sort this out between yourselves, as long as you can both agree to call fairly, there shouldn’t be an issue.

Prison rules can be played which means that there are no fouls at all and the ball is always “in bounds.” However, this can disrupt the flow of normal play and so it’s not usually played or recommended.

2) Taking the Ball Back

With full-court play, you’re able to return the ball back to your own courtside. However, when playing half-court and one-on-one, the ball should be handed if a throw is missed and the ball ends up in the other player’s hands.

If you fail at a rebound attempt, you should proceed by taking the ball out to either the foul line or behind the three-point line. Then, you can resume play.

3) Keeping Score

As with any basketball game, you should always keep score when playing one-on-one half-court. Otherwise, how else would you know who wins?

An easy way to set your point system is to make it one point for successful throws inside the three-point line. Two points can be given to those made outside. Alternatively, you can make it “all ones” where you’ll receive one point for every shot, regardless of where it’s made from.

For one-on-one play, it can be a good idea to keep your total score to win a bit lower. Somewhere between 7 and 11 points can be nice to aim for. That way, you’re less likely to suffer burnout. There’s no need to set a normal scoring game since you don’t have any teammates to help you and therefore the game is likely to be all go the whole way through!

When deciding who receives the ball, you can follow the “Do or Die” rules. This means that you’ll receive the ball back when you successfully make your throw. But if you miss it, it’s time to pass it over to your opponent.

For “Game Point,” you can decide whether you’ve to make it a one or two-pointer. It’s best to decide this at the start so both of you know exactly what’s to come!

4) Maximum Dribbles

Here are the following max dribbles you can choose to play:

  • One Max Dribble: Here, you’ll only be allowed one dribble before the ball gets passed.
  • Two Max Dribble: You get two goes at dribbling.
  • Three Max Dribble: Three dribbles are allowed.
  • Unlimited Dribbles: With this one, you can dribble as many times as you want.

Once more, it’s between you and whoever you’re playing against to make the choice, set the rules, and get down to playing!

5) No Rebounds (Optional)

Although we mentioned rebounds earlier, whether or not you want them to be included is entirely up to you. If the two of you do decide not to play with rebounds, you get one shot at it. If the other player blocks or steals the ball, then it’s there to keep until they shoot, score, or lose it.5) Maximum Dribbles

6) Player Rotations (Optional)

Another optional way to play is to rotate players. So, while it still remains one-on-one half-court play, you can switch one or both players at a time.

Want to play winner stays on? Go ahead! You can play to a single point or more and rotate the losing player with others on standby. Or, you can switch both players after their game and let two new ones take to the court.

Final Words

One-on-one half-court basketball comes with many rules. Some are set rules while others are optional. The main thing is that you decide along with your opponent which ones to follow before the start of your game. That way, you’ll both have an agreed understanding about what you need to do if you want to win.