How to Play a Game of 21

Andrew “Andy” Jordan is the principal of Donovan High School in Donovan, Illinois, a role that involves oversight of 175 students, as well as the school’s faculty and staff. He previously served as the principal of West Carroll Primary School in Savanna. When he is not working to improve the school’s test scores and overall academic performance, Andrew Jordan spends time pursuing a doctoral degree in education and staying active through golf and basketball.

Recreational basketball players who lack the numbers needed for a proper game can still enjoy a full-body workout through a basketball-related game like 21. In a sense, games of 21 are played as traditional half-court basketball games. The key exception is that players are competing as individuals, rather than as members of a team.

To start the game or reset play, an individual takes a shot from distance, usually around or beyond the three-point line. The shot must contact the rim but not pass through the basket. At this point, players on the court can fight for the rebound and go about scoring as normal. Baskets made from the field count as one point, while shots made from beyond the arc are worth two points.

Following a make, the shooter steps up to the free line and is given up to three free throws, assuming he or she makes each attempt. Each made free throw counts as one point. A player who makes all three baskets not only finishes the play with up to five points, but also starts the next play with the ball at the top of the key.

As one might assume, players win the game by scoring 21 points. However, they must score exactly 21 points. For example, if a player with 20 points makes a three-point shot attempt (earning two points), they reach 22 points and are penalized by dropping back down to 11 points.

Three Steps to Improve Your Basketball Game

Experienced school administrator Andrew Jordan most recently served as principal of West Carroll Primary School, overseeing daily operations at the pre-kindergarten through fourth grade elementary school. As a principal, Andrew Jordan has an impressive record of success, decreasing school suspension rates and improving test scores by as much as 20 percent. Outside of his educational career, Mr. Jordan enjoys a number of sports, including golf and basketball.

Basketball is an excellent pastime, both for the social aspect of the game and the great workout you receive. It requires speed, strength, and coordination to be truly great at the game. If you’re looking for ways to improve your basketball game, here are a few tips that might help.

Spend Some Time in the Gym
Most professional basketball players will advise you to keep up your basic conditioning level before you get into your basketball season. That means pushing yourself regularly, whether it’s running on a treadmill or in the great outdoors. Cardio conditioning will help you stay equipped with the stamina and speed you need to play your best on the court. While you’re working on cardio, add some weightlifting to your workout as well. During the offseason, spend some time building up your overall strength, as well as working on agility.

Use the 5 Percent Rule
Find an area of your basketball game that you consider a weakness, whether that’s in your core strength, conditioning, ball handling, or even your diet. Make a plan to focus 5 percent of your energy each day on improving just that single weak aspect of your game. It won’t take up too much of your time, but it will be enough to improve your weakness little by little every day. The results over time can be extraordinary!

Try Some One-on-One Games
This is one of the best ways to improve your game. Look for a friend who is just a little better than you at basketball and schedule some time to play them one-on-one. This type of play will help you work on every aspect of your basketball game.

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