Rules for Straight Up or 21


This is a fun way to practice some single moves in basketball, as well as rebounding and shooting. I will explain 2 variations of Straight Up that will suit almost anyone who wishes to play.

Step 1

This version is the usual, and is referred to as "21 Straight Up," or just "Straight Up." You can have as many players you like for this, but there must be at least 2. We will use 3 players, and call them A, B, and C. If you can't decide who goes first, each person take turns shooting one shot from the foul line. The person who doesn't miss is the one that goes first. (If first shooter and second shooter miss, and third makes it, then 3rd goes first. If first and second shooter make it, and third misses, then third is eliminated and first and second must shoot it out until one wins.) Or you can flip a coin, rock paper scissor shoot it, etc. whatever. So lets say A won and goes first. B and C stand by the basket ready for a rebound.

Step 2

A takes a foul shot. If he makes it, he can take another but only up to 3 shots as long as he makes it. If he makes all 3 shots, he must "take it back" which means that he must bring the ball to the 3 point arc (or some other designated area away from the basket if you decide so). From there, he must try to score by driving in all the way, or driving in a little and taking a jump shot, whatever. The point is, it becomes his against B and C. If A makes it, he goes back to the foul line for another set of 3 shots, so long as he makes each one.

Step 3

What if A misses? Well, if A misses ANY shot, then B and C and A can all fight for the rebound and lets say B gets it. B must "take it back." From there, B tries to score by driving in or shooting, whatever. If he scores, he gets the chance to make 3 foul shots. If he misses ANY shot, the rebound fight is on for all 3 players again.

Step 4

WHAT ABOUT THE SCORE? The first shot made for ANY player is worth 1 point. All foul shots are worth 1 point. All other shots after a rebound (field shot) are 2 points. The object is to reach 21 points EXACTLY. If a player is at 20 points and makes a field shot, then their score goes back to 11 and they must work back up to 21. If a player has 20 and misses the foul shot, again the score goes back to 11. So you must be a little smart when shooting so as to avoid the score drop. When you are trying to score against the other players, all basketball rules apply except for out of bounds. There is no self-pass, double dribbles, walks, fouls, etc allowed. Be honest and admit when you break these rules to keep the game fair.

Step 5

A SOFTER VARIATION TO THIS IS: All the same rules apply. However, there is one change. Let's say C has rebounded. C must take the shot from EXACTLY where he has caught the rebound. A and B must back off and let C take the shot, but all must be ready for a rebound in case C misses. Sometimes that means it will be a simple shot, other times you can wind up behind the basket. You might set limits so that if the ball just goes too far behind the basket or too far away from it, you can have a set spot (like the 3 point arc) where a player must shoot from to keep the game from becoming a series of hail mary's. This could be a good variation for those who want to play but are not dresses properly for a serious one-on-two live action game. With this variation, you can have as many players as you like, or you can play it alone.