Activities Sports & Athletics Rules and Regulations of Youth Basketball Share PINTEREST Email Print Mike Kemp/Getty Images Sports & Athletics Basketball Playing & Coaching Basics Baseball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Golf Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Beverly Hernandez Beverly Hernandez is a veteran homeschooler and former administrator of a large independent study program. our editorial process Beverly Hernandez Updated January 15, 2020 Team sports fill an important role in children's' lives. It teaches kids the importance of teamwork and provides an entertaining outlet for physical activity. Recreation is an important element in life and can help an individual's development both mentally and physically. Playing sports can also improve a child's self-esteem, help him develop strong interpersonal and leadership skills, and teach him the value of listening to his coach. Basketball is a fantastic sport for kids to play. It's relatively inexpensive and doesn't require much equipment. Most playgrounds, recreation centers, and gyms have basketball goals. At least two kids and a basketball are all that are necessary to play. If you'd like to get the kids in your neighborhood or homeschool group active, you may be interested in forming a basketball league. Before you get started, it's important to understand the rules and regulations of youth basketball. Philosophy of Youth Basketball The philosophy of youth basketball is to offer the participants a high-quality program that will teach the basic fundamentals and the offensive and defensive philosophy of the game. Learning good sportsmanship and teaching all participants to respect their coaches, officials, fellow players, and the rules is also an important part of youth basketball. Length of Playing Periods There will be four eight-minute periods for all divisions (except varsity and senior division). Varsity and Senior division will play four ten-minute periods. Every period will be on a running clock that is only stopped for timeouts and technical fouls. The Clock The clock will be stopped during the last two minutes of the game on all dead ball situations for all divisions (except Pee Wee division). If the point difference is ten points or more, the clock will remain running until the score arrives at less than ten points. Basketball Half Time The 1st and 2nd periods will constitute the 1st half; 3rd and 4th periods will constitute the 2nd half. Half time will be three minutes in duration. Timeouts in Basketball Each team will be allowed two timeouts in each half. The timeouts must be taken in their respective halves or they will be lost. There are no accumulations of timeouts. Player Participation Every player must play four minutes of each quarter, eight minutes per half for Pee Wee and Junior Varsity. Varsity and Seniors must play five minutes of each quarter, ten minutes per half. Every player must also sit out half of each period during the game, so as not to play the whole game, except in the case of injury or health problems. Sickness: Once the game has started and a player becomes sick or is unable to continue during a game, the coach of the player must enter, in the score book, the player's name, time, and the period. The player will be ineligible to re-enter the game. Discipline: If a player misses consecutive practice without an excuse the coach will notify the site director. The site director will immediately notify the parents of the players. If these violations continue, the player will not be eligible to participate in the next game. Injury: If a player is injured and removed during a game, the player will be eligible to re-enter per the discretion of his/her coach. The partial period of play will constitute one full period for the injured player. Any player may be substituted for the injured player if the player participation rule is not affected. The player participation rules must be strictly enforced with one full period of play for each player per half. Must Sit Rule: Every player must sit out at least half of the period. 20-Point Rule If a team has a 20-point lead at any time during the game, they will not be allowed to employ a full court press or a half-court press. No pressure is allowed. It is recommended that top players are removed and the substitutes play (only if player participation is not compromised). In the 4th period, and with a 20-point lead, the coach must take his top players out until the point difference is less than 10 points. Youth Basketball Pee Wee Division The Pee Wee Division consists of up to 10 players, ages 4 and 5, with four players and coach on the court. Basket height: 6 feet, Basketball size: 3 (mini), Free throw line: 10 feet. Rules: The league will not adhere to a rule book. Since most of the participants do not understand fouls or violations, the officials will use their best judgment during the game. Penalties/violations will only be enforced if a player is gaining an advantage. Exception: Key violations - none and traveling - three steps. Defense: Teams may play zone or man-to-man at any time during the game. There are no limitations. Zone defense is highly recommended. Press: Teams may defend the ball only after the ball penetrates the half court line. The defensive players may not defend until the ball penetrates the half court line. No full court press. 1st Pass/Back-court Rule: After the defensive player secures the rebound, the 1st pass must be in the back-court, to the coach. Free Throws: Each player will shoot at least one free-throw prior to the start of play. Each successful free-throw will be recorded in the score book and count in the team's overall score. Officials will administer the free throws. A player who missed will be allowed to shoot an extra shot to balance the team attempts, the free-throw line will be designated by the officials. A shooter may touch the line, but not cross completely over the line with his/her foot, on free-throw attempts. Players: Teams may have a maximum of four players on the court. The coach will be on the court on offense to help dribble and move the ball around. (The coach may not shoot the ball.) The coach may be on the court at the defensive end, may not play defense, and only coach defensively without physical contact. Youth Basketball Junior Varsity (J.V.) Division The J.V. Division consists of up to 10 players, ages 6 and 7, with five players on the court. Basket height: 6 feet, Basketball size: 3 (mini), Free throw line: 10 feet Defense: Teams may play zone or man-to-man at any time during the game. There are no limitations. Zone defense is highly recommended. Press: Teams may defend the ball only after the ball penetrates the half court line. The defensive players must stay in the three-second area until the ball crosses the half court line. Foot in the Paint: Each defensive player must put at least one foot in the paint and stay in the 3-second area until the ball crosses the half court line. Three Second Violation: An offensive player may not be in the key (paint) for 5 seconds or more, This will be a violation against the offending team. Free Throws: Each player will shoot at least one free throw prior to the start of play. Each successful free-throw will be recorded in the scorebook and count in the team's overall score. Referees will administer the free throws. Both teams will shoot free throws at the same time but at different baskets. A player who has missed will be allowed to shoot an extra shot to balance the team attempts, the free-throw line will be at the dotted line inside the key. A shooter may touch the line, but not cross completely over the line with his/her foot on free-throw attempts. Youth Basketball Varsity Division The Varsity Division consists of up to 10 players, ages 8-10, with five players on the court. Basket height: 10 feet, Basketball size: intermediate, Free throw line: 15 feet Defense: Any half-court defense may be played during the game. Press: Teams may full-court press only during last 5 minutes of the game. Any press is allowed. Penalty: Only one warning per half for each half, a team technical foul will follow. Free Throws: The free-throw line will be at 15 feet. Shooters may touch the line but not completely cross over the line with his/her foot on free-throw attempts. Youth Basketball Senior Division The Senior Division consists of up to 10 players, ages 11-13, with five players on the court. Basket height: 10 feet, Basketball size: official; Free throw line: 15 feet. Defense: Teams must play man-to-man defense in the entire 1st half. Teams may play either man-to-man or zone defense in the second half. Penalty: One warning per team and then a team technical foul will be assessed. Man-to-man Defense: The defensive player must be within a six feet guardian position, A defensive team may double-team a player who has the basketball. Defensive team cannot double-team a player who does not have the ball. Officials will give one warning per half to each team. Further infractions will result in a technical foul. Press: Teams may employ a full-court press at any time during the game. During the first half, the teams must play only a man-to-man full court press, if they decide to press. Youth basketball is a low-cost team sport option that provides an opportunity for kids of all ages to reap the benefits of physical activity and sportsmanship. It also provides children the chance to learn the basics of the game so that those with the talent and inclination are ready to play at the high school level.