Rules Unique to Upward Basketball

The game format, substitution system, and rules for game play which are unique to Upward Basketball are designed to recognize that Every Child Is a Winner by promoting character and self-esteem.

Game Format
A unique element of Upward's Basketball ministry is the game format:
  • Games consist of three 6-minute periods per half
  • No timeouts are used in Upward Basketball
  • Teams switch goals at halftime.
  • No scores are kept in the kindergarten or first- and second-grade divisions.
  • No league standings are maintained in any league. Such standings add unnecessary pressure and intensity.
Rules for Game Play
Except where the rules unique to Upward apply, play is governed by the National Federation of State High School Associations' Rules Book (www.nfhs.org).
  • Man-to-man defense will be played at all times. Zone defenses are not allowed.
  • Defensive players must stay within arm's reach of the player they're guarding.
  • Isolation plays are not part of Upward Basketball because they take away the opportunity for all players to improve.
  • Double-teaming is not allowed. However, help defense is strongly encouraged in the following instances:
    • In the Lane Area
      If a defender is in the lane and the player he or she is guarding is within arm's reach, the defender is allowed to provide help defense.
    • Offensive Picks and Screens
      Defensive switching is allowed on offensive picks and screens. The non-screened defender can help his or her teammate by temporarily switching until the teammate recovers to defend their offensive player. This is commonly referred to as "help and recover."
    • During Fast Breaks
      When an offensive player has beaten his or her defender, another defensive player may help. Upon stopping the fast break, defenders should return to guarding their assigned players.
  • Full-court presses are not allowed. Defensive players may not guard their opponents in the backcourt.
  • The offense must purposefully attack the defense in every situation - no stalling. After a warning from the referee, a violation will be called resulting in a turnover.
  • Referees will call and explain all violations. The detail of explanations will vary according to the age group and understanding of the players and should decrease as the season progresses.
  • When possible, referees will advise players of potential violations before the violation occurs.
  • No technical fouls or protest of games.
  • No score will be given for a basket in the wrong goal. It will be treated as a turnover.
  • A player committing two fouls in one six-minute segment must sit out the remainder of that segment.
  • Non-shooting fouls result in the ball being taken out on the side by the offended team (no bonus rule). All shooting fouls result in free throws.
  • The game clock runs continuously, with the following rules going into effect when fewer than two minutes remain in the game:
    • Non-shooting fouls result in the offensive team getting one point and the ball.
    • Shooting fouls result in the offensive team scoring two points. The opposing team then takes possession.
    • Players fouled in the act of shooting and making the basket are credited with the basket plus one point. The opposing team then takes possession.