Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Youth Basketball - How to Keep Score (Part 1)

I recommend that you volunteer to keep the scorebook at your kid's youth basketball games. It's fun and it's really not that hard to do once you get the hang of it. Plus, you'll be close to your kid and involved in the game. Finally, a good scorekeeper is a valuable asset for the coaching staff.

Read this three part series of posts to learn how to keep score.

Understanding the Basketball Score Sheet

There are stats that are vitally important for the management of the game and there are stats that are "nice to have" for the coaching staff to evaluate a game.

The vital stats include:
  1. The running score
  2. Team fouls in each half
  3. Player fouls
  4. Time-outs
The "nice to have" stats include:
  1. Individual player scoring 
  2. Individual player assists 
  3. Individual player rebounds
  4. Individual player steals
  5. Individual player turnovers
  6. Individual player Field Goal %
  7. Individual player Free Throw %
  8. Team total assists
  9. Team total rebounds
  10. Team total steals
  11. Team total turnovers
  12. Team total Field Goal %
  13. Team total Free Throw %
16 Stat Sheet Abbreviations
  1. Pts. = Points. The total points scored by a player or team.
  2. Asst. = Assist. An offenisve player is awarded an assist when a successful pass leads to a 2 or 3 point basket. The scorer must move directly toward the basket when they get the pass for the passer to be credited with an assist.
  3. Reb. = Rebound. A player is awarded a rebound when they successfully control the ball after any missed shot whether it rebounds off the basket or rim or not. If you want to get crazy with stats you can record offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds. Offensive rebounds are rebounds recovered by the shooting team that extends the possession for the shooting team. Defensive rebounds are rebounds secured by the defense and result in a change of possession.
  4. Stl. = Steal. A defensive player is awarded a steal when he or she successfully takes possession of the ball from an offensive player. This can be done by intercepting a pass, deflecting a pass to a teammate, swiping a ball from an offensive player and controlling it or batting a ball from an offensive player's hands to a teammate. 
  5. TOV = Turnover. An offensive player is credited with a turnover when they lose possession of the ball to the other team. A player can turn the ball over by stepping out of bounds, making a bad pass that goes out of bounds, committing a violation (double dribble, carrying, 3 seconds or traveling), committing an offensive foul or having the ball stolen from them. (See steal above).
  6. FG = Field Goals. A 2pt or 3pt shot made from the field (does not include shots made from the free throw line). A 2 point shot is a shot made inside the arc and a 3 point shot is a shot made beyond the three point arc.
  7. FGA = Field Goals Attempted. This is the number of shots attempted from the field (does not include shots attempted from the free throw line.)
  8. FG% = Field Goal Percentage. The percentage of shots made from the field versus shots attempted.
  9. FT = Free Throw. Also called foul shots. These are 1 point baskets made from the free throw line.
  10. FTA = Free Throw Attempts. These are free throw shots attempted from free throw or foul line. 
  11. FT% = Free Throw Percentage. The percentage of shots made from the foul line versus foul shots attempted.
  12. Team Fouls - The number of fouls committed by members of the team.
  13. Bonus - When a team commits more than 6 fouls, the opposing team is in the bonus. When a team is in the bonus, they are awarded a 1 and 1 free throw for all non-shooting fouls committed against them. (1 and 1 means a player is awarded a second free throw if and only if they make the first free throw)
  14. Double Bonus - When a team commits more than 9 fouls, the opposing team is in the double bonus. When a team is in the double bonus, they are awarded 2 free throw for all non-shooting fouls committed against them.
  15. Time Outs - Typically, each team is awarded 5 time outs (2 thirty second timeouts and 3 full one minute time outs)
  16. Click here for the definitions of more basketball terms 

You can print this blank stat sheet by doing an IMAGE google search on "Stats_Dad_Free_Printable_Basketball_Score_Sheet"

The Main Point

It's really is easy to keep score once you get the hang of it. Get the vital stats and do your best with the "nice to have" stats. The action moves quickly and you might miss a rebound or an assist or two during the game, but don't sweat it - relax - have fun and contribute to the team.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. what are we going to do in the quarter ?

  3. Thank you, my 9 year old son will love this.

    1. You are welcome - I taught my daughter how to keep score for basketball and baseball at around 9 years old. My sons did not have the attention span to do it. Good luck

  4. What does the circled number represent? Thank you!

    1. Within the "quarters columns", the circled numbers represent made shots. The numbers not circled are missed shots.

  5. Do score sheets matter beyond tournaments? Are other players being hurt if the score keeper intentionally attributes points to only 3 players despite which players actually score the points? This is the case on my child's team and the same players are also favored in playing time (although more affecting other players than my child) - what is the advantage of this person (Coach's girlfriend) intentionally doctoring score sheets to favor certain players? Anyone helping with scoreboard who looks is responded to by her turning away shielding sheets like kid cheating on an exam. I don't want to make an issue of it unless the other players are being hurt - what is the significance of score sheets beyond tournaments? This Coach and his girlfriend are new to the AAU Program and have bounced around the state from program to program. They also have no children on team so unsure why they favor the 3 players they do in playing time and score sheets - it's not based on ability because there are stronger players

    1. Score sheets are mandatory to capture the score, fouls and timeouts. Individual scoring, rebounds, assists, turnovers, steals etc are not typically needed to make a game official. However, if there is a discrepancy between the two score keepers the one with the most evidence will typically win the argument when the ref is trying to rectify the situation. The individual stats are often used by the coach for coaching decisions. Scoring is not easy in a fast paced game, so this scorekeeper might have a tough time keeping up. Or they is something more dubious at play.

  6. Such an important post.

  7. One the most important lessons kids escape from fitting in with youth sports league is that there will be a winner and there will be a failure—and at some point or another you will be on both sides of that fence.Nobody preferences losing,however it's important to recognize what it feels like to be on the losing side on the grounds that sometimes,regardless of the fact that you give it your everything,the other guy is venturing out in front of you.It may stink however that is exactly how life works sometime.It's important that kids learn that there is nothing amiss with losing either!

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  9. i know nothing in basketball and i wanna learn more in it what would i have to do in order to learn more i have a class about in high school and i have to score keeping a game that i have no idea how to

  10. When you start examining this, you can't stop without completing it. That is the sum you get devoured into it.Joseph Hayon

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