Best HORSE moves

How to Play HORSE (And My Favorite Moves)

HORSE is one of the most popular schoolyard basketball games. It’s an excellent test for your creativity and skills. Here’s how to play the game and some moves I like.

He was down to his final letter and I was about to win for the first time.

I had to get creative and think of a move he couldn’t do. 

“What are his weaknesses?” I thought to myself. “Ah, he’s bad at bank shots.”

But I couldn’t do any bank-shot. I had to make a bank shot that wasn’t close to the basket because he had a chance at scoring those. I had to challenge myself as well by making a wing three-pointer.

I walked over to the wing on the right side and got into my shooting stance. I bounced the ball three times and rolled it in my hands twice. Then, I adjusted my feet and repeated the sequence. 

I took a moment to aim my shot then went up for it.

Bank and sink.

Now, it was his turn.

“I have to shoot from here?” he asked.

“Yeah, on the left wing,” I answered.

He did his pre-shot routine, took the jump shot, and swished the jump shot.

“Ha! E! You lose!” I yelled in excitement.

“What? Nah, that shot went in,” he protested.

“But you didn’t bank it in. It was a swish. I said you had to bank it.”

“No, you didn’t!”

“Yeah, I did!”

“Fine. Take the win. It’s your first one anyway.”

I had lost dozens of games before this one and this first HORSE victory felt great.

And if you want to replicate this feeling by getting your first win, here are some moves you should try.

How to Play HORSE (Or PIG)

But first, here’s how to play HORSE, if you don’t know how:

  1. Decide who goes first
  2. The first player does their trick shot and if it misses, the next player gets to do their trick move
  3. However, if the shot goes in, the next player has to copy the exact move and score it
  4. If they miss, they get an H (or the first letter)
  5. If there are more than two players, the next (or third, fourth, and so on) players have to do and make the move as well. Or else, they get the first letter.
  6. After every player has tried the initial trick shot, the first player gets to do their next move.
  7. Keep playing until every player (except one) has spelled out the word HORSE (or PIG).

My Favorite HORSE Moves

Bounce Shot

The bounce shot is one of the most fun trick shots to do. 

The reason is it requires aiming, power, and geometry because you have to bounce the ball on the ground hard enough so that it either hits the backboard for a bank shot or swishes in.

Bank Shot

Though the bank shot is a fundamental move, it is also a hard shot to make. 

It’s a shot that needs practice to be good at. That’s why if you have this move in your arsenal, you need to take advantage of your skill and use it in HORSE.

Not a lot of people will be able to make it.

You can learn how to do it here.

Kareem’s Skyhook

What I said about the bank shot also applies to Kareem’s Skyhook.

You can learn how to do the skyhook here.

Three-Point Granny Shot

The granny shot is one of the funniest (and most fun) shots to see ( and do). It’s also a difficult shot to make because you’re doing a granny shot from beyond the perimeter.

So, if you can do it, definitely do it to knock out your opponents.

Half-Court Shot

The half-court shot is a shot many players practice because it’s cool to do. But it’s also a highly difficult shot to make.

So, if you’re confident you can sink one of these, go for it. I only do it when the stakes aren’t high because I’m not confident in my ability to make it. 

But when it does go in, it feels great and the chances of your opponents missing it are high.

Like this game? Click here to learn how to play Bump next.

Final Thoughts

These basketball moves are fundamental trick shots and not many players will be able to do them.

So, practice them a few times and give them a try next time you play a game of HORSE (or PIG).