Lesson Tutor: One on one basketball lesson

Mom RULES: One on One Basketball
by Joanne Mikola

Need a little down time? Spend some quality time with the kids? Swap sweat with someone? Prove you’re younger than you look? Try a little one on one basketball. At least once.

When was your last medical check up? Basketball is not only an art and a science – it is a heart pounding, muscle straining, airborne and aerobically maxed out sport. There are no armchair players unless you’re benched and that only happens when you’ve strained the rules beyond their recognizable limits. Or you’ve just been whistled into the house for dinner.

One on one basketball is a powerful two way teaching and learning opportunity. You can learn the difference between laughing at something or someone and laughing with someone. Elements of style, tenacity, good sportsmanship and appropriate substitution of extreme language are all attainable objectives. As referees are not included, your honesty will be tested and your ability to hear criticism from someone standing as high as your waistband  will be tested. Denial won’t get you through this game.

In one on one basketball, both players are Superheroes with the roles of many wrapped up in your repertoire. A normal team (remember – you are not normal) consists of 5 players on the court per team. If your team has possession of the ball, your players are considered ‘offensive’ (body odour notwithstanding); the opposition – ‘defensive’. A regular team consists of one Centre, 2 Guards and 2 Forwards.

Center – The STARTER for a team that starts the game (with the other team’s center) by doing the opening TIP-OFF or jump ball.

Guard – The guard’s job is to bring the ball upcourt, direct play, and “guard” the opponent closely to try and force a TURNOVER. There are two different guard positions on each team, the point guard (also known as the “Number 1” position on the floor) and the shooting guard (also known as the “Number 2” position).

Forward – A player that covers the corners of the court and around the BASKET. There are usually 2 forwards on the court at a time.
Each player, regardless of size, shape and age, is entitled to his/her own space above and the floor below where he/she is standing. An imaginary ‘cylinder’  could be lowered over this personal space measuring the following dimensions:

  • to the front as far as the palms of the hands.
  • to the rear as far as the back of the buttocks.
  • to the sides as far as  the outside edges of the arms and legs.

So, Mom – no cherry picking the ball out of your child’s grasp from behind or on high. That’s ‘foul’. Kids – start practicing that ultimate parenting skill: using the eyes in the back of your head.

Here are a few other terms you should familiarize yourself with before starting this little activity.

Ejected – When a player or coach is ejected, the referee(s) sends him to the locker room and out for the rest of the game. Someone gets ejected if he has two technical fouls or has tried to hurt another person.

Goaltending – Goaltending is a violation where a defender tries to BLOCK the ball from going into the BASKET, but the ball was on it’s way down. It can also mean interfering with the ball when it’s on the rim of the BASKET. If goal tending is called against the defensive team, then the offensive team automatically gets the points for the SHOT, regardless if it would go in or not. But when goaltending is called on the offensive team, the shot doesn’t count and the other team gets to inbound the ball.

Steal – A steal is an action where a defensive team takes the ball away from the defensive team. A steal can also lead to a fast break.

Stripped – To have the ball taken away by an opponent.

Other One On One Adaptations


Your driveway or basement court just went through Alice’s Looking Glass. It now looks like this: Basket and the ‘key’ are as close to standard size as you can make it. You will designate what area of your flat playing surface outside of the foul lane will be your court’s outer dimensions. There is only one end to the court – the basket.

Each player is trying to score as many points as possible to a pre-set total, for example: 11. Each basket will count as one point. The winner must win by 2 points.

  • Players tip off to start their round of play.
  • Rules pertaining to personal and technical fouls are still viable.
  • If one player catches the rebound of an unsuccessful goal attempt, he/she cannot score without first moving/dribbling outside of the key.
  • Opposing player is granted control of the basketball following a point score and may restart play after exiting the designated playing field.


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