Backyard Basketball Games

For generations, basketball has been a popular sport that is played worldwide. Requiring a lot of skill, hard work and dedication, the game has evolved over the years. With the sport becoming a common hobby amongst amateur and street players, the game has also given birth to several variations that often go by the name of street basketball or backyard basketball. Today, we will discuss some of these nifty forms of basketball and how you can play them in your own backyard.


H-O-R-S-E is a fairly popular street game played usually between two players. The main aim of the game involves players duplicating each other’s shots and getting a basket through it. The first player is allowed to make any type of shot and should he or she be able to score the basket, the second player will have to follow by making the same shot. Failure to score a basket by the second player will mean that he or she will be assigned or penalised with the letter H.

At the same time, if it is the first person that misses the shot, then the second player is given the liberty to make any type of shot. The person who fails to score on the duplicated shot will be assigned a letter and the player who fails 5 times or gets 5 letters i.e. H-O-R-S-E, will be the one to lose the game.


The person who will shoot first is usually decided by a coin toss and shots are allowed to be made anywhere in the court with the exception of dunk shots. A variety of shots can be included in a player’s shot arsenal such as the Bank Swish, Straight In and Jump Shot. No identical shot can be attempted twice. Player to win 2 games out of 3 wins the match.


Twenty-One or the cutthroat is another prevalent basket ball variation that you can enjoy in your own backyard. The game, however, is infamous for being potentially brutal and rough for beginners because of the no-rule policy. But in a civilized neighborhood, the games are fairly amusing since players tend to honor the virtual moral code of not being too rough and wild. The game can have any number of players on the half court but usually requires at least three. You can start off by deciding who starts with the balls through a toss. Once the game starts, the person who wins the toss starts off as offense while the other two players play as defense. There are generally no rules for the game so the out-of-bounds and fouls would not count. The player with the ball plays as he/she is up against two defenders. If the person with the ball makes a shot and misses, the ball would be under the control of the person who catches it on the rebound.

However, if the shot made ends up in the hoop, then the scoring player is given the chance of taking three free shots. Miss at any point and the games continues under the control of the one who again receives the ball on the rebound. The game progresses like this, each shot is worth a normal point value – three points when shot from the 3-point line otherwise 2 points. If a player scores on all the three free throws, they can start over with the ball in their hand from the three-point line. The rules depend on the people playing the game but normally require an individual to score exactly 21 points. Exceeding the limit means they’ll be penalized and their score will be reduced to 11.


Airball is another exciting variation of basketball, the beauty of it is that it only needs a half court, so you can play it almost anywhere you have some sort of ample space. As the name suggests, the rule is to keep the ball in the ‘air’. Any number of players can be a part of this game. The players line up on the foul line and take turns to try and score a hoop. If the first player shoots and is unable to score, the second player has to retrieve the ball after the ball’s first bounce. Failure to do so and letting the ball bounce multiple time means that player is eliminated.

The second player, assuming he/she have retrieved the ball can then try to score from the position where they grabbed control of the ball and shoot again. After three consecutive successful throws, the player can hold the ball and shout “STOP”. This indicates that all other members of the game must freeze in their positions. The controller then throws the ball at one of the frozen players. The unfortunate person to be touched by the ball is eliminated. Continue in this matter and enjoy an exciting brawl of sheer survival.

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