How Many Time Outs Are in High School Basketball? Full Guide

Balance is the key to everything. We’ve been reminded a thousand times to take a break to get back on track. In basketball and any other sport, there are time-outs.

Time outs in high school basketball consist of two 60-second time outs in the first half of play, three 60-second time outs in the second half, a maximum of two-time outs in the last two minutes of the fourth period, and a 60-second time out per extra period.

This article specifically talks about how many time outs in high school basketball.

And while young players don’t seem to run out of energy, we’re also going to talk about the benefits of using time-outs and how to make the most of every second available.

How Many Time Outs are There in High School Basketball?

In the High School league, from grades 9 to 12, an entire basketball game consists of four 10-minute periods. Time outs are allowed throughout the game, but the allotment varies depending on a particular period.

For example, each team is given two 60-second time-outs in the first half of play, while in the second half, there are three 60-second time-outs allowed. In total, there are five time outs in a normal game not including overtimes.

Teams may call for two-time outs in the final and crucial two minutes of the fourth period. A 60-second time-out is permitted per extra period when the game has to be extended.

Note that unused time-outs in the last half of periods cannot be used in the succeeding half or extra periods.

As a rule, the allotted time out resets according to the length and frequency allowed on a particular part of the game.

What are Time Outs?

What are time outs

Now that we’ve answered how many time-outs in High School Basketball let’s define what a time-out is.

As the name implies, a time-out in any sport is a halt or short break in the game.

But the little time given is not meant alone for relaxing, wiping those sweats, or gulping down a bottle of water or Gatorade.

It’s also a precious time for coaches and teams to strategize, motivate everyone, or slow down the game’s pace.

In basketball, teams also use time-outs to avoid the five-second rule, a delay of game-type violation.

Why are Time Outs Important in Basketball?

Time outs play an essential role in a team’s strategy. Besides giving players a chance to rest, knowing which situations call for a time out provides perfect opportunities for a team to gain ground in the game.

Here are some specific situations that highlight the importance of time-outs in basketball.  

Stop the Momentum of the Opposing Team

The offense has just scored a couple of threes. Their supporters can’t just keep it down. They yell and cheer from the sidelines.

Now, what do you do as part of your defensive strategy?

You call for a time-out to halt the opposing team’s momentum.

And don’t underestimate it—time and time again, it’s proven effective in making a shift in the momentum throughout the game.

Correct Your Team’s Mistakes

Mistakes are inevitable. But when you spot them, don’t use time-outs to scold the team.

Instead, use positive reinforcement to correct the mistakes and encourage them to get back in the zone.

Get Everyone on the Same Page Before Crucial Points in the Game

Towards the close of the game, you’ve probably seen coaches being so pumped drawing up a play and explaining the strategy to their players.

They want to get everyone on the same page before a crucial moment. This heightens their chance to win the game.

Save a Player from a Situation that May Lead to Violation

Coaches aren’t the only ones allowed to call time-outs. Any player in the game can, too. Calling for a time-out is beneficial when a player cannot escape a situation that may lead to committing a violation.

To Give the Players a Physical and Mental Break

Exhaustion can cause your players to lose focus which is probably why they’re inevitably committing mistakes in the game.

A short break for them to catch their breath and replenish the body’s lost fluids can help them refocus and get back on the right track.

How to Make the Most of Time Outs?

Time out high school basketball

While it’s essential to determine when to call for time-outs, managing the limited time given is more important for your team’s success. The longest is 60 seconds.

Indeed, there’s not a single second to waste! So how do you make the most of how many time outs in high school basketball you have?

1. Include Time Outs in Your Team Practice

Of course, every game is different. So, you might be trying in vain if you’re planning and rehearsing time outs down to the littlest detail. As the coach, you’ll need to stay focused on watching the game and call time-outs as needed.

Including time-outs in your team practice is to estimate how much it takes for the players to run to your courtside. And for the coach, it’s to estimate how much time it takes to draw up a game plan and explain this to everyone.

Including time-outs in a team, practice is beneficial in learning how to manage the limited time given, especially during tense situations.

2. Use Full Time Outs Wisely

Coaches, you need to utilize that board and draw up plays. A complete 60-second time-out provides ample time for this. Position yourself where everyone can hear you and see the board.

Communicate to all active players. Explain the game plan. Make sure everyone knows where he needs to position himself and his responsibilities in executing the team’s strategy.

3. Utilize Time Outs, Whether for Offense or Defense

When the offense scores consecutive points, it’s time to break their momentum as part of your defense strategy. But when you’re on the offense, should you use time-outs, too?

Yes. If you’re on the lead, your team might be so focused on that that they might become too confident to overlook the possibility that the opposing team can still bounce back.

Use a time out to remind them that there’s still much work to be done, and they should focus on that.

For coaches, the basic rule on managing time-outs effectively is to keep in mind why you called for a time out in the first place. Then, communicate your purpose to your team.

Also, remember to use time-outs, not scold your players, and focus on their mistakes. Instead, focus on what you can do as a team, and find ways to boost their morale.


Time outs are a way for basketball players to rest, strategize and slow down the pace.

Now that you know how many time outs are there in a high school basketball game, it’s time to play or watch!

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