How To Keep Score in Five-on-Five Basketball

Basketball is an extremely fast paced sport. This is what makes it exciting, but is what can also make it challenging for the person keeping score. If you’re going to be keeping score in a five-on-five basketball game, it would be wise to have everything prepared prior to tip-off.

The first thing you need to do is get the score book and write down what two teams are playing, designate a page for each team, and record everyone’s names and numbers. This step is absolutely essential for you to do a successful job. Names are not always necessary, but numbers are. Even though you will be looking at players’ numbers throughout the game, it’s always a good idea to watch them during warm-ups. You can study their features and match those features to their numbers. This can come in handy if you find yourself in a bind at some point in the game.

When the game starts and the first basket is scored, you must record those points. If there is a scoreboard, you don’t need to worry about the overall score. If there is no scoreboard, you must record the score in the score book, which along with keeping scoring stats can be challenging.

Whether you’re keeping the overall score or not, you must keep player stats. This is done by recording how many points each player scores. If it’s a three pointer, you record three points. If it’s a field goal inside the arc, you must record two points. If it’s a free throw (foul shot), you must record one point for each. Most score books make this easier than it sounds, and after one or two full games you won’t be intimated. You will probably enjoy it.

Another aspect of the game that you will be required to record is fouls. There are team fouls and individual fouls. The team fouls are important because once a team is over the limit, the opposing team will be ‘in the bonus.’ That means the opposing team will have an opportunity to shoot free throws. There are often five team fouls per half. Once a team is over the limit for the half, there is no return. This is important because it can lead the team to being more tentative on defense.

The other type of fouls are personal fouls. It is your job as scorekeeper to record how many personal fouls a player has. In the NBA it’s six, but in many leagues it’s five. Once a player has too many personal fouls they are eliminated from the game.

This all might sound complicated, but it’s like anything else, the more you do it, the better you will get. It’s also a great way to make some extra cash.


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