Basketball Substitutions

Basketball Substitution

Substitutions In Basketball

A substitution in basketball is when one player on the court is replaced by another player from the bench. Both player benches are located on the same sideline of the court.

Players that are substituted into the game must be on the team roster and the active list. There is no limit to the number of substitutions a team can make during a game.

When a player is fouled out or leaves the court for any reason, they must be replaced by a substitute.

How Players Substitute In

When one or more players are selected by their coach to enter the game, they must first check in at the scorer's table. This is located in between the benches at midcourt. Once they are at the scorer's table, the player(s) must wait until a dead ball situation to enter the game.

Any players entering the game must report who they are replacing. When a substitution is made, the buzzer sounds briefly and the removed player(s) go to the bench while the substitutes take the court.

When Teams Substitute

In basketball, teams are only allowed to make substitutions when the ball is dead and the clock has stopped.

The referee will call a dead ball after the following situations in a basketball game:

The only exceptions to the dead ball substitution rule are when a player on the court is bleeding or seriously injured and must be replaced immediately.

Rotations And Substitutions

A rotation is a substitution strategy used by coaches to maximize their top player's performance. Rotations are defined schedules that coaches make that determine how much playing time each player will get in a game. Rotation plans not only factor in playing time, but also break time. It is important for the star players of a team to rest, and for other players to gain experience on the court. In a typical 48-minute NBA game, starting players get about 25-35 minutes per game.


How many substitutions can be made in a basketball game?

Unlike soccer, basketball does not have any substitution limits. You can substitute in as many players as you need to, or as few as you would like.

When can you make your first substitution in basketball?

You can make your first substitution as soon as the first dead ball is called or an injury occurs.

How many players have to be on the court?

In a basketball game, there should always be 10 players on the court; 5 players from one team and 5 from another. If someone is taken out of the game, a substitute must replace them.

What is the sixth man in basketball?

The term sixth man refers to the first player to be substituted into the game. Each team likely has one player that is subbed in first, and they can be an extremely important player when it comes to revitalizing a team's energy and scoring off of the bench.