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26154 Views 22 Replies Latest reply: Jul 18, 2009 2:51 AM by jordanshoes 1 2 Previous Next
saraallent Legend 1,063 posts since
Oct 2, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 8, 2007 12:34 PM

Thoughts on running up scores in basketball. Winning attitude or poor sportsmanship?

I just read an article from the Active Basketball Community, Do teams need rules of etiquette?, that talks about sportsmanship and running up scores. I have been on both sides here, the winning team and the team getting humiliated by the other team.  I can't decide whether rules should be in place to stop teams from running up the score or not. A part of me remembers the embarrassment and sadness I felt after getting crushed by another team, but I also remember those games now and see how I have grown from them.  I hated it at the time, but I think it made me a stronger individual and athlete by having gone through it.


So my take on it is youth sports there should be some rules set up to keep scores from becoming absolutely ridiculous, but beyond youth sports I see it as a learning experience and it is up to the coach to decide the actions of his/her team.


Let me know what you think about this topic or if you have any situations to share.


  • Andre_sp SportsPowerStaff 236 posts since
    Aug 29, 2007

    Ive been on both sides of this situation as well, and I do not really think there should be any major rules added to prevent running up scores.  I coach college basketball and have coached on all levels and one of the main things we teach in basketball is that anything can  happen on any given night.  The same team that loses by 30 one night can also win by the same margin the next night.  I know we are talking about kids,  but I have seen too many youth coaches tell their kids to let the other team score or to back off just so the game can continue.  I for one do not want to teach anyone the game that way and i do not think it should be at all.  It's definitly a issue to tackle though.....

  • JBan Pro 83 posts since
    Oct 29, 2007


    It's part of the game unfortunately and it is true...what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. It's good to be on both sides as a player...that way you know why you fight to get better as a team everyday.



  • Trish18 Legend 457 posts since
    Jun 5, 2007

    This large margin of victory is interesting because Lipscomb coach Frank Bennett played his entire team, but the bench players responded and scored 86 points!


    With 1:49 left in the game, and just six points from the "largest margin" record, Lipscomb attempted just one shot. I guess this was their attempt at stopping the embarrassment, but after 101 points I think it might have been a little late...


    That should fuel Fisk for the rest of the season. Hope it helps them refocus and turn things around.

    Community Development Specialist | Team Sports
  • Ali411 Rookie 1 posts since
    Apr 5, 2008


    I've been on all sides as well.  Coached a freshman team in AZ that won 116 - 19 and every player saw equal time.  Our high school team presses hard and scores more points off their press than their offense.  Basically, our press defense is our best offense.  Should we pull out of our best offense just because we have a 30 pt lead? Maybe, ...maybe that's an opportunity to work on our other offenses.  The fact remains that it's isn't my job as the coach to keep our score down.  It's my job as the coach to equip my team to score  and keep the other team's score down.  The youth league I coach in has margin win limits based on age.  I agree because kids who are beat badly at that age tend to think it's because they are bad when that's not always the case. These leagues also have minimum playing requirements. All players must play 2 full quarters, without  substitution. Also agree with that rule at those ages.  However, once they begin to play competitive ball in jr or sr high, the rules change.  You play to win and the best players get on the floor.  Isn't that a life lesson?   If you can't do the job you don't get the pay?  I tell my team that practices are their job and playing time in games is their paycheck.  They may not like sitting on the bench, but they usually understand why.



    So, in summary, keeping the score close is the responsibility of the losing team.  If you can't keep up then you lose,  The less capable you are of keeping up with the other team, the more you lose by.  That's life.  We all have to learn that lesson sooner or later.  I prefer to teach it to my players before they get out of high school so they don't think that they deserve 'equal playing time' just for being in the game.



  • ter23 Rookie 1 posts since
    Apr 22, 2008


    In response to Ali411 job as the coach.



    The duties of the coach are to prepare the kids to become successful men and women in our society.  Rubbing the face of an opponent in the floor is not teaching and preparing the kids for the working world.  I have never hired anyone who acts that way and never will.  Keeping the press on with 30-40 point leads in jr. and sr. high is not making the kids learn anything.  Plus you are creating an environement which promotes the taunting, show boating, and trash talking that happens in all processes of life.  The duty of the coach is to teach the kids to become leaders.  A good credible coach can manage a game so he/she does not embarass the other kids.  Leadership is a learned behavior and if coaches continue to believe winning big is ok than those kids will have a hard time understanding the failure in life.  Does losing by 50 build character and why does it build more than losing by 20 or 1.   There is a word which many High school, Rec ball, AAU, and Youth league coaches do not know the definition and that is CLASS.



    Keep up the class act coach/parent and your kids will be those arrogant and behavioral problems which are society deals with everyday. 









  • GGBC__1 Rookie 1 posts since
    May 30, 2007


    One of the reasons our club has improved and I became a better coach is from a team running the score up against us.  It made me realize that I needed to do a better job preparing my girls for a game and it made our players realize they had a lot of things to work on.  Since that time we have still been on both sides of the score run but continue to learn how to deal with it and become better players and coaches.



    Rex Stewart



    Kansas Elite Girls Basketball, Inc.



  • trueblue4_life Rookie 1 posts since
    Aug 17, 2007


    As most of you that responded, I too have been on both sides of this issue. I however have come to the conclusion that if my team is up by twenty points in the first half of a game, we will begin working on plays that we currently don't execute well in closer games. If we are up by twenty or more with less than five minutes to go in a game, that last five minutes begins our practice time for the subs to come in and execute our offense with the goal being ball control and good decision making when attempting a shot. Defensively we fall back into a zone and work on team defense. I guess for me after almost 18 years of working with youth and coaching basketball, I've found that teaching a team how to win with dignity and class is just as important as teaching a team how to respond to lose with dignity and class. I'm new to this basketball commuity and look forward to sharing thoughts and ideas with everyone.






    Coach K.



    True Blue Basketball Club






  • Salmouse Rookie 1 posts since
    Nov 23, 2007


    As has been said, if anyone has coached long enough, we have been on both sides.  I don't believe that you can set limits on scoring at the varsity level(whether it be high school or junior high).  But at what point is enough enough? Does it matter that a team beats another by 100?  Does the starting five need to play most of the game? Does the press really need to be put on into the 4th quarter? If the opponent is that weak our best players really get nothing out of becomes too easy.  This is the point that we, as coaches, really teach life's lessons.  Sportsmanship is too important a lesson to just say "it's not my job".  That is the reason that we are losing so many kids in sports...the pressure to succeed and the lack of true sportsmanship.  Play your bench players, get everyone involved in the offense and enjoy the balance of the game. 



    Last year, we played a team (10-11 year olds) that wasn't very good.  Everyone played and I kept the bench players on the floor as much as possible.  I had a parent from the other team come over to me after the game to thank me.  He saw what we were  trying to do and felt compelled to acknowledge it.  That meant a lot to me......



  • sportspsychrob Pro 10 posts since
    Jun 19, 2008

    In my view it is disrespectful and unsporting to take the foot of the gas.


    By all means focus the effort on practising plays and getting them right, over scoring points (particularly just if you are hitting fast break after fast break), and by all means give the weaker players more playing time (but at very young age groups you should be doing that anyway), but don't stop trying.  That's rubbing their faces in it.







    Rob Robson

    Co-founder, sports community | fitness & sports jobs | olympic news

  • bommermom Rookie 1 posts since
    Feb 1, 2009

    Our junior high team actually had something interesting happen this year regarding running up the score. We were down by a considerable amount of points when the opposing teams coach stated to our coach "this is ridiculous, you are down by 20 pts with 2 minutes left on the clock.......quit pressing". This was said within earshot of our team and coming from the same coach who in a previous game ran the score up by 60 pts on a team without removing his starting lineup.  I think it says alot for a coach who would tell a team to quit trying when they are down. Needless to say......we didn't win that game however it lit a fire under our girls that still hasn't been extinguished! They didn't give up their press and he couldn't hold his head up walking out of the gym.

  • cprockies Rookie 1 posts since
    Jan 24, 2008

    I think that in some cases, it is ok to keep scoring.  I think if you have made all of your substitutions, and are using the opportunity to work on things you normally wouldn't be able to do, it is acceptable.  After all, if you are on the losing end of a route, you should really examine the effectiveness of your coaching technique, your gam strategies, and the quality of the opposing team.  It is also important to teach "winning and losing with Class".

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