Change the Tempo of the Game in Basketball

Edited by Michael J., Eng, karishma, zg3gray and 1 other


The game of basketball is often called a game of points. In order to increase its chance of producing a sustainable offensive points, a team must dictate and change the tempo of the game . Yes, without doubt, fast basketball games are an interesting watch but they are never a sure shot win. Sometimes, one has to be exceedingly fast and sometimes one has to be exceedingly slow. It all depends on the situation and if the team wants to play offense or defense. Usually, a fast defense and a faster offense is what wins the game. You don't want to give the opposition much time to set up while at the same time, you will want to have set up yourself before the opposition begins their offense. Sometimes, you may have a slow player on your team. For instance, Shaquille 'O' Neal was the best shooter in the Laker team but he wasn't a fast runner. Thus, one has to adjust the game according to the players in the team as well. Basketball is a team game after all!

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There are numerous ways of increasing and decreasing the tempo of the game and there are countless reasons to why one may do that. Sometimes, one does it to slow down the opposition as well and then, there are other times when you have to speed up in order to match the opposition. Sometimes, one might want to do it because they are lagging behind in scores and if the tempo isn't increased, the game is entirely lost. Thus, it is necessary to have control on the tempo of the game of basketball.

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  1. 1
    Dribble and Run Faster
    If you want to have a high speed game and have a team of fast runners, including those on the bench, then you have it going for you. Dribble fast and run fast on the sides of offense as well as defense. You will have set up a high score in absolutely no time, leaving the other team lagging behind. There is nothing better than a fast team. The Miami Heat and The Boston Celtics shall vouch for it. So, would the Chicago bulls. However, it is necessary to have players with strength and endurance, in order to maintain this tempo. It is also necessary to have a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 3 ball handlers in order to be able to execute this tempo successfully.
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  2. 2
    Roll the Ball
    Ball rolling is an essential part of the game. If you have been set up against a really fast team or a team with a very good defense, you will have to roll the ball to gain time. However, remember while rolling that you have only 24 seconds to do it all and hence, roll. Rolling the ball is absolutely necessary at times in a game like basketball. In order to roll the ball, each of the players take their zone possessions and the ball handler passes the ball to one of her players. The ball is then rotated amongst all 5 players until someone takes a shot or cuts through the defense. This is often referred to as ball rotation.

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  3. 3
    The Slow Dribble
    Dribble the ball slowly and allow your players to set themselves up on the offense. On reaching the basket, you can either roll the ball or ask one of your players to make a quick cut. The ball handler can also drive in or take a center shot while the other players keep everyone else busy. Also, while doing the slow dribble, remember that you have only 24 seconds to complete your shot. Hence, take it slow but don't take it too slow. Also, while the ball handler slow dribbles the ball, the rest of the team members must make sure that they set themselves in position as soon as they can. Since, it is easier to snatch the ball while slow dribbling, one of the players ought to run along with the ball handler in case of a mishap. For, slow dribbling can lead to turn overs if not done carefully. If you are dribbling slow then pound the ball hard and have a firm grip on it so that it isn't as easy to snatch the ball away.

    Bacon dribbling.jpg
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  4. 4
    Pass and Play
    Passing is the core of a basketball game. Rumour has it that if LeBron James and Kobe Bryant learned to pass, they'd be a 100 times better players than they already are. A large number of players such as Allen Iverson are admired for their passing abilities. However, pass and play is an altogether different kind of a ball game which can both increase as well as decrease the tempo of a basketball game. Running passes can increase the tempo of a basketball game immensely whereas 3-man passes, rotations, time-buying passes, can slow down the tempo of the game. Thus, a pass is sometimes the deciding factor of the game. The right pass can make all the difference to a basketball game.

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  5. 5
    The Ball Swing
    Swing the ball far across the other end of the court to a player who has already ran that length. The player catches the ball and shoots. This can increase the tempo of the game to no lengths. However, it is necessary to have a really bright player on team in order to execute this. It ought to be a player who runs fast, can catch a high ball swing, can anticipate and judge the ball's arrival and is a good shooter. Only then, will this technique work otherwise one is never going to reach the other end of the court. Other than that, it is necessary to have someone on team who has the strength to swing the ball at that length. For, otherwise, the running players talent shall never be tapped. Thus, unless there is a combination of 2 such players, this play won't work. Also, this is a terrific combination to have on team and it shall be difficult to beat a team like that. Well, yes, basketball is a 5 player game and the rest of the players fill in when these 2 main players are tired and help them last the entire game.

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  6. 6
    Go Defensive
    This is one of the best ways of playing basketball. It is said that half the game is won with a good defense. Nothing could be further from the truth. The more shots you block, the better you are at it. For, blocking shots means decreasing the opposition's score and decreasing their scores means increasing yours. Also, going defensive works best when you have slow players who are good shooters in your time. You can work your way around those players while still winning in this manner. Thus, defense is one of the key concept of the game. It contributes heavily towards winning. Moreover, if you are unsure and nothing is working out your way, simply go defensive. Things will smoothen out in no time. One of the popular team coaches, recently fired their team for playing offensive and not defensive. He was quoted saying "Offense wins tickets, Defense wins games". He couldn't be further from the truth. Moreover, the best teams in the NBA play a defensive game. A look at Heat, Lakers or Celtics would tell us so.

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  7. 7
    Rolling 45s
    This is one of the techniques that is meant to create chaos in the game and set the tempo haywire for the other team. While things shall run fast and good for you, the other team will not be able to figure out what's happening. This is an interesting technique which is rarely used. In this case, both the 45s are substituted at every ball possession. However, it is necessary to have a lot of good players on team in order to play this. Also, one has to do this whilst keeping in mind the number of necessary substitutions.

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  • Look at the situation and then, decide the tempo of the game
  • Sometimes, you have to give in to the opposition and adjust your tempo according to theirs, winning is all that matters in the end!
  • Take a look at the players in your team before you decide upon what kind of tempo you want.
  • Also, before deciding the tempo, it is important to decide on the kind of game play 1 would want.
  • If nothing works, fall on defense.


  • Maintain the tempo and don't change the tempo of the game too often. It will cause chaos and disruption and things will not work out for you.

Questions and Answers

How to create the tempo of a basketball game?

How do I make sure I'm the only one my team either making the game slower or faster.

To make sure you're the one on your team who's in charge of changing the tempo of the game, take matters into your own hands. Don't ask your teammates if they want to go faster or slower; read the steps in the VisiHow article above and then just do them when the time is right. Your teammates will follow.

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Do you play basketball, have you played anytime in your life, are you good?

Do you know what I mean about slowing it down?

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Referencing this Article

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APA (American Psychological Association)
Change the Tempo of the Game in Basketball. (2016). In VisiHow. Retrieved Mar 29, 2017, from

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MLA (Modern Language Association) "Change the Tempo of the Game in Basketball." VisiHow, Accessed 29 Mar 2017.

Chicago / Turabian "Change the Tempo of the Game in Basketball." Accessed Mar 29, 2017.

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Categories : Sports

Recent edits by: zg3gray, karishma, Eng

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