Fenton Upward Basketball

Leading Children to Christ through Sports

Rules Specific to the Upward Program

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

Game Format

· Games consist of two 18-minute halves and an eight-minute halftime.

· The clock stops every six minutes for predetermined substitutions.

· There will be no timeouts.

· No scores are kept in the kindergarten or first- and second-grade divisions. The focus for this age is to learn fundamentals, not winning and losing.

· Any games ending in a tie should remain a tie. This will help keep games on schedule.

· No division standings are maintained in any division. 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’ (NFHS) Rules Book (website: www.nfhs.org).

1. Man-to-man defense will be played at all times. Zone defenses are not allowed. In most cases, while playing a man-to-man defense, players are onlyguarding the opponent that closely matches their ability and
height. This allows for a more competitive system for every player on the court while creating an equal opportunity for each player.

2. 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. This would contradict the spirit of the Upward rules.)

3. Double-teaming is not allowed. However, help defense is strongly encouraged in the following instances:
     › Picks and Screens: Defensive switching is allowed on offensive picks or 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.”

     › Fast Breaks: When an offensive player has beaten their defender, another defensive player may help. Upon stopping the fast break, defenders should return to guarding their assigned players.

     › 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

4. Full-court presses are not allowed. Defensive players may not guard their opponents in the backcourt. This will allow for more play to occur in the front court and creates an equal opportunity for each child to participate both on offense and defense.

5. Due to the shortness of the court, backcourt violations will not be called.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. When possible, referees will advise players of potential violations before the violation occurs.

9. No technical fouls or protest of games.

10. No score will be given for a basket in the wrong goal. It will be treated as a turnover.

11. A player committing two fouls in one six-minute segment must sit out the remainder of that segment.

12. 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.

13. The game clock runs continuously with special rules going into effect when less than two minutes remain in the game.
     › Non-shooting fouls – offensive team gets one point and the ball.   

     › Shooting fouls – offensive team receives 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.



Upward’s substitution system is designed to provide each player equal opportunity for improvement. The system ensures that:

      · Every child will play at least half of the game.

      · No child will sit out back-to-back six minute segments.

      · Every child will have the opportunity to be in the starting lineup.

      · Playing time for all players is virtually even over the course of the season.

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