4-on-4 / 5-on-5 Shot Clock League – Grades 7-9

4-on-4 / 5-on-5 Shot-Clock League – Rules / Coaching Guide


  • 12 Minute Quarters, running clock. 
  • 1-2 Quarters 4-on-4 / 2-3 Quarters 5-on-5 with 24 sec. shot-clock (breakdown can be decided on by the teams)
  • Man-to-man is absolutely preferred and encouraged, but zone can be used. But please do not play zone the entire time. It severely limits the learning opportunities we are looking for.
  • Score is optional for all quarters. At least one quarter must be no score. Reset the score after each quarter.
  • Pressing allowed and even encouraged.
  • All shooting fouls are 1 shot for 2 points (shoot them efficiently to keep the game moving)
  • Substitute as you wish, but do your best for relatively equal time and competitive balance.
  • Ball out of bounds can be inbounded immediately once referee declares possession, but don’t take advantage of it in a nonsensical way.
    • Be patient with underneath inbounds, but keep things moving.
  • Minimize physicality as best you can. 
    • If play is too physical, we will impose a 3 foul limit for each player each quarter.
  • More than anything, keep play active and moving along. 
  • 29.5 ball for Grades 7-9   .

Coaching Points

  • Don’t over-instruct! It’s the summer and most kids do not have nearly enough playground time. We want to balance the freedom of the playground with the structure of a team atmosphere. If you are going to lean in any direction, lean in the direction of letting the kids play. 
  • Please play man-to-man defense as much as humanly possible. It’s essential to learn how to help, talk, work together and most kids need to develop a feel for it.
  • Even during quarters where you choose to keep score, do not emphasize it. We have no standings or championship and, most of all, we want kids to take risks and develop new skills! An emphasis on winning will not encourage this aim. You can do both.
  • Encourage your kids to try new skills, even if they miss. 
  • We encourage you to trap in the full or half court in order to learn rotations and increase possessions.
  • Match up kids against players of similar basketball ability.
  • Pay attention to teaching concepts that can be employed during specific quarters or games. Examples include, no switching on D, trap and rotate, ball screens, screen away, slip screens, etc. 
  • If you are missing players for any reason, please let us know. We love to fill players in and believe 8 players are essential to maximize this kind of game for 48 minutes.
  • Have fun and help your players have fun!

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