The numbers game is a great alternative to a 5 on 5 game. Playing 5 on 5 at the 1st grade level is chaotic, with not much positive happening. Limiting the number of players allows for more ball touches  for each players, more development, and more fun. The players love it!

Here is information that was shared with youth coaches in a local town.

With up to 12 players on a team, the numbers game might be a fun and useful way to incorporate games with grades 1 and 2. It also might allow for more active participation. (With a 5 on 5 game, which is chaos, there will be 14 players sitting on EACH COURT, 28 players total.) Players really enjoy it. There should be no balls on the sidelines and the shifts should be very quick to allow for more repetitions and less standing on the sidelines. Players should be encouraged to cheer for their teammates by NAME to be involved and also to learn teammates names.

Objective: To give the players a chance to play full court against similar skilled players.


1.    Players are assigned numbers. Coaches agree on the order before assigning numbers. 1 for the better (or less talented) players all the way down to the last player.

2.    Teams line up on a sideline. Teams are assigned a direction to go.

3.    Coach calls out 2-3 numbers, players come out and play for a minute or two.

4.    With younger players give one side the ball to start. With older kids, the ball can be rolled out and the players can compete for possession.

5.    After play is stopped repeat the process.

The one problem that needs to be figured out is if one team has 10 and the other has 12. I think the best way is to simply have players on the team assume 2 numbers or the coach can alternate who gets the extra shift.

It is best to write the numbers out in advance to ensure equal shifts for the players.

1st 2 v 2                       2nd 3 v. 3                      3nd  3 v. 3 different                  4 v. 4

1, 2                              1, 2, 3                           1, 3, 5                                       1, 2, 3, 4

3, 4                              4, 5, 6                           2, 4, 6                                       5, 6, 7, 8

5, 6                              6, 7, 8                           7, 9, 11                         9, 10, 11, 12

7, 8                              9, 10, 11                       8, 10, 12

9, 10

11, 12

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