I may be off base on this, so please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think kids play much 1-on-1 anymore. I feel like if there aren’t uniforms, referees, an air-conditioned gym and 10 players – kids just don’t play.

That’s too bad, because playing 1-on-1 against someone who challenges you is an excellent way to develop your game and get in sick basketball shape.

But for it to be truly effective, it can’t be played in the typical fashion of:

  1. Check the ball at the top of the key.240911BA014
  2. Dribble like an And-1 Mix Tape audition
  3. Jack up a terrible shot that has a small change of going in.

Playing that way won’t get you better, nor will it get you in shape.


Put these general rules in place to take your game to the next level:

Here are some additional ideas to make the games even more challenging and competitive:

Play from the top of the key and you only get one dribble

Play from the wing and you can’t shoot 3’s and you can’t score in the paint

Play from the elbow and you must score with your weak hand

Play from midcourt and you must shoot from 3

Play from the opposite free throw line and you only get 5 dribbles

Play from the block and you aren’t allowed any dribbles

I warn you, these games are not easy.  They can stifle even elite level players.  But they will force you to work on all aspects of your game. They will force you to leave your comfort zone, both mentally and physically.

They will force you to get better. That’s your #1 goal, right?


If you really want to take it to another level, play multiple games/series with multiple players and find out who is the King of the Court!

Please share this blog if you plan to give these a try this off-season.

Keep on Hustlin’,

Alan Stein


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