Change the Tempo of the Game in Basketball

Edited by Michael J., Eng, karishma, zg3gray and 3 others

The game of basketball is often called a game of points. In order to increase the chance of producing a sustainable offensive points game, a team must dictate and change the tempo of the game.


The Speed of the Game

Fast basketball games are more interesting to watch, but they are never a sure win. Sometimes, a game moves very quickly, while other times, excruciatingly slow. It all depends on the situation and if the team wants to play and offensive game or a defense game. Usually, a fast defense and a faster offense win 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 have a slow player on your team. For instance, Shaquille 'O' Neal was the best shooter on the Laker team, but he wasn't a fast runner. Thus, one has to adjust the game according to the players on the team as well. Basketball is a team game after all!

There are numerous ways of increasing and decreasing the tempo of the game and there are countless reasons why the choice is made to increase or decrease the tempo. Sometimes it's done to slow down the opposition, while other times you have to speed up in order to match the opposition. Sometimes the tempo of the game is increased because the team is lagging behind in scores, and if the tempo isn't increased, the game will be lost, thus it becomes necessary to control the tempo of the basketball game.

Changing the Speed

  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 and you'll be set. Dribble fast and run fast for both offensive and defensive plays. 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, Chicago Bulls and The Boston Celtics can vouch for that. That being said, 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'll need to roll the ball to gain time, however, remember while rolling, that you have only 24 seconds. 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 among 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
    Bacon dribbling.jpg
    Dribble the ball slowly and allow your players to set themselves up for the offense.  
    1. Upon reaching the basket, you can either roll the ball or ask one of your players to make a quick cut.
    2. The ball handler can also drive in or take a center shot while the other players keep everyone else busy.
    3. 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.
    4. While the ball handler slow dribbles the ball, the rest of the team members must make sure that they get themselves in position as soon as they can.
    5. Since, it is easier to snatch the ball while slow dribbling, one of the players should run along side the ball handler in case of a mishap, as slow dribbling can lead to turn overs if not done carefully.
    6. 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 from you.
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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. In this respect, a pass is sometimes the deciding factor of the game. The right pass can make all the difference to a basketball game.
    1. Running passes can increase the tempo of a basketball game immensely.
    2. 3-man passes, rotations, time-buying passes, can slow down the tempo of the 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 significantly, however, it is necessary to have a really bright player on team in order to execute this. It should be a player who runs fast, can catch a highball 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. It is necessary to have someone on the team who has the strength to swing the ball a very good distance; otherwise, the running players' talents will never be tapped. 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 will be difficult to beat a team like that. Basketball is a 5-player game and the rest of the players fill in when these 2 main players are tired and help them to 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. 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. You can work your way around those players while still winning in this manner. Thus, defense is one of the major key concepts of the game. It contributes heavily towards winning. If you are unsure and nothing is working out for you, simply go defensive. Things will smooth out in no time. Recently, a popular team's coach fired their team for playing offensive and not defensive. He was quoted saying "Offense wins tickets; defense wins games!" 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 meant to create chaos in the game and set the tempo haywire for the other team. While things may run fast and good for you, the other team will not be able to figure out what's happening. This is an interesting technique that is rarely used. In this case, both the 45s are substituted with every ball possession. You must also keep in mind the number of necessary substitutions, so it is important to have a lot of good players on team in order to pull this one off.
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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 on your team before you decide what kind of tempo you want.
  • Before deciding the tempo, it is important to decide on the kind of game play you 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

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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Article Info

Categories : Sports

Recent edits by: Nuance, Calob Horton, zg3gray

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