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To Shoot Or Not To Shoot: Going For 3-Pointers With A Big Lead

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"Is shooting 3 point shots while ahead by 30 points late in the game considered unsportsmanlike?”

PCA Response By Al Adamsen, PCA Trainer – SF Bay Area
First, there are many variables at play: age, skill level, energy of the game, to name a few. For example, if the team leading is skilled at shooting 3's, then shooting 3's will be seen as running up the score, thus unsportsmanlike.

If they're not skilled due to age, ability, etc., then the logic you advanced may hold. Even so, the perception of the intent is more important than the intent itself. Therefore, the coach of the team leading may want to share what he/she is doing, and give the opposing coach a chance to respond.

Now, to be real, in most leagues and at most levels this just isn't going to happen. As such, it might be more prudent for the leading team to run the offense and have the less-skilled players take the shots, no matter where they are on the floor. That should create a better perception of sportsmanship in the eyes of the opposing coach, fans, and players.

One final point: A team that is winning by a lot has obtained power, and it's a test of their character to see what they do with it. Being up by a lot creates an opportunity to honor one's opponent, honor the game, and honor self by not shaming opponents.

Download a printable version of this resource, including any additional commentary from PCA, by clicking the PDF below. To read more questions and answers like this, or to submit your own question to the Ask PCA blog, click here.

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