How to Play Horse (the Basketball Game)

Horse is a great game for any basketball player or kid with a backyard hoop. Horse is a basketball shooting game in which players take turns shooting at the basket from various angles. If someone hits a shot but everyone else misses, that person receives a letter toward the word ‘HORSE.’ The person who is the last to stand wins! Prepare your best trick shots because horse is a great opportunity to show them off! There must be at least two players, but there is no limit to the number of players who can participate.

Method 1 Establishing the Basic Rules

1. Make a decision on the order of play. You can play horse with two or more people, but you must agree on who goes first, second, and so on. To determine who gets to choose the order, try flipping a coin or playing rock, paper, scissors.

If you can’t decide, shoot from the same location each time. The person who makes the first basket gets to choose their position. Repeat this process until the order is sorted.

2. Begin with the first player shooting at the hoop. The first player may shoot from anywhere on the court, including out of bounds! They can also add “extra rules” to this shot, but they must announce them prior to shooting.

For instance, the player could say, “I’m shooting with my eyes closed” or “I’m shooting behind my back.” They only get one shot at making the basket.

If a rule is called and a player succeeds in shooting the ball in but does not meet all of the rules of the shot, the shot does not count.

3. Allow the next player to try to match the shot or create a new one. The opportunity to shoot is now given to the second player in the order. They must either create a new shot or attempt to replicate the shot just made by the player in front of them.

If the first player makes a basket, the second player must replicate everything the first player did, including where they stood.

If the first player misses the basket, the second player can shoot from anywhere and use whatever rules they want.

4. Continue to play through and try new shots. When it’s your turn, if the person before you made a basket, you must exactly replicate their shot. If the person who came before you missed, it’s your turn to come up with a new shot.

The order is set up in a loop, so once the last player has taken their shot, the ball returns to the first player.

5. When you fail a shot challenge, you will receive a letter. If someone attempts the shot made by the person who came before them and fails to make the basket, they receive the letter H. When someone makes this mistake, they receive a new letter, eventually spelling out H—O—R—S—E. You lose the game if you spell out the entire word “HORSE.”

When you attempt a shot after receiving a letter, you do not receive a letter for missing. If you miss the basket, the ball is simply passed to the next player, and there is no penalty.

You can also set it up so that a player receives a letter whenever everyone else fails a challenge. In this version, the player who gets the word ‘HORSE’ first wins.

6. If everyone succeeds, come up with a new shot. If you create a shot and every other player makes a basket, you get to create a new shot.

It’s a good idea to try to make the shots more difficult if everyone makes the shot the first time.

7. Play until only one person remains. When a player’s letters spell out the word “HORSE,” that player is eliminated from the game. The remaining players continue to play in the same order, but skip the eliminated player’s turn.

After everyone else has been eliminated, there will be only one player left in the game. This person has been declared the winner.

Method 2 Creating Interesting Shots

1. Take a no-look photograph. If things are getting a little too easy and no one is receiving letters, you can take things up a notch by trying some crazy shots. One of the best places to start is with a no-look shot.

Before closing your eyes, take a good look at the hoop and visualise where you want to shoot the ball.

If you are successful in getting it in, you will have a very good chance of putting a letter on your opponents.

2. Shoot from a seated position. This shot is extremely difficult because you normally use your lower body to assist you when shooting. This means that when you’re sitting, the only power you have is from your arms.

There isn’t much you can do to improve your chances of hitting it in here; simply aim for a nice regular arc and use the backboard.

3. Make a behind-the-back shot. This shot is simple to attempt but extremely difficult to master. Wrap the ball around your back and flick it up towards the hoop with one arm.

Try to use your legs to help you get some power for this shot; otherwise, you’ll be relying solely on your hands/arms, which will make it even more difficult.

4. Experiment with shooting with the opposite hand. Most people prefer one hand to the other, and this trick shot puts your ability with your weaker hand to the test. Set up as usual and give it your best shot, but it’s usually very difficult!

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