Shot clock

Shot clock

A shot clock is used in some sports to quicken the pace of the game. It is normally associated with basketball, but has also found use in sports such as Snooker and professional lacrosse.

In basketball, the shot clock is a timer designed to increase the pace (and subsequently, the score [For example, the Boston Celtics scored an average of 79.7 points per game from 1946–47 to 1953–54; from 1954–55 to 1961–62, after the introduction of the shot clock, they scored an average of 113.1 points per game. See [ entry] .] ) in games. The offensive team must attempt a field goal before the shot clock expires, and the ball must then either touch the rim or enter the basket, or the offensive team will be assessed a violation resulting in loss of possession.


Coach Howard Hobson, who coached at the University of Oregon and later Yale University, is credited with the idea. It first came to use in 1954 in Syracuse, New York, where Danny Biasone, the owner of the National Basketball Association's Syracuse Nationals, experimented using a 24-second version during a scrimmage game. He then convinced the NBA to adopt it. His team went on to win the 1955 championship.

Many say that this invention saved the NBA, as it had problems attracting fans (and television coverage) before its inception."Tall Tales: The Glory Years of the NBA, in the Words of the Men Who Played, Coached, and Built Pro Basketball", by Terry Pluto (1992), pgs. 23-31] This was largely due to the stalling tactics used by teams once they were leading in a game (killing the clock). Without the shot clock, teams could pass the ball nearly endlessly without penalty. If one team chose to stall, the other team (especially if behind) would often commit fouls to get the ball back following the free throw.

Very low-scoring games with many fouls were common, boring fans. The most extreme case occurred on November 22, 1950, when the Fort Wayne Pistons defeated the Minneapolis Lakers by a record-low score of 19-18. A few weeks later, the Rochester Royals and Indianapolis Olympians played a five-overtime game with only one shot in each overtime. To speed up the game and reduce fouls, the NBA tried several rule changes in the early 1950s before eventually adopting Biasone's idea.

According to Biasone, "I looked at the box scores from the game I enjoyed, games where they didn't screw around and stall. I noticed each team took about 60 shots. That meant 120 shots per game. So I took 48 minutes - 2,880 seconds - and divided that by 120 shots. The result was 24 seconds per shot."Pluto, pg. 29]

When the shot clock first came into play, it made many players so nervous that the clock hardly came into play, as players were taking fewer than 20 seconds to shoot. According to Syracuse star Dolph Schayes, "We thought we had to take quick shots - a pass and a shot was it - maybe 8-10 seconds...But as the game went on, we saw the inherent genius in Danny's 24 seconds - you could work the ball around for a good shot."

The shot clock, together with some rule changes concerning fouls, immediately revolutionized NBA basketball. In the last pre-clock season, teams averaged 79 points per game. In the first year with the clock (1954-55), the average was up to 93 points; by the fourth year (1957-58), it was 107 points.Pluto, pg. 28]

When the rival American Basketball Association (ABA) was formed in 1967, it used a 30-second clock, as had the short-lived American Basketball League (ABL).

The shot clock was introduced into the college game in the 1980s. It started briefly as a 45 second clock but was reduced to the still current 35 second clock.


In the NBA (since 1954), WNBA (since 2006), and FIBA (since 2000; 30-second from 1956 through 2000), the shot clock counts down 24 seconds, thus often being called the "24-second clock." Failure to attempt a shot that hits the rim within this time results in loss of possession. A buzzer goes off when the shot clock reaches zero.

Furthermore, the shot clock is not reset on a foul in the frontcourt. Rule changes in the NBA since 1998, and in FIBA after 2010 state the shot clock will be reset only if fewer than 13 seconds is on the shot clock, after which it is reset to 14 seconds.

Men's college basketball uses a 35-second clock (since 1993; 45-second from 1985 through 1993) in the United States, and a 30-second clock in Canada. Women's college basketball in the United States and Canada, as well as high schools in some states, use a 30-second clock.

Other sports

ee also

*Play clock, used in American and Canadian football

* Stall Count, used in the sport of Ultimate.


External links

* [ 24 Seconds to Shoot]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • shot clock — noun Date: 1973 a clock in basketball that displays a countdown of the time within which shooting the ball is required …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • shot clock — a clock used in basketball games to limit to a specific length the time taken between shots. [1980 85] * * * …   Universalium

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  • Clock King — Publication information Publisher DC Comics First appearance (Tockman) World s Finest Comics #111 (August 1960) (Tem) Teen Titans #57 …   Wikipedia

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