Why is it important for football and basketball cheerleaders to know how scoring works for each game? It’s because they are tasked with knowing which cheers are the right cheers at any point in a game, and inspiring school spirit at both! Does your team need to push defense or offense? How many points do they need to catch up or take the lead? (The answer is likely more complicated than ‘1’!) Did that touchdown or basket just put them ahead of the competition, or did the opposing team’s score just put them in the lead? The scoreboard is your lifeline to understanding what is happening in the game, but unless you understand how scoring works, the scoreboard is just going to look like a bunch of random numbers. Here’s a quick breakdown of how scoring works for competition football and basketball games. The point systems and terms are very different, and it’s even a good idea to talk to an actual player to get a better understanding of each game! Scoring in Football Touchdowns are worth 6 points. A team scores a touchdown when someone from their team carries the football across the opponent’s goal line (the end zone). After scoring a touchdown, the scoring team is allowed the opportunity of scoring conversion points. They can try to score 2 points by running or passing the ball into the end zone (starting from the 2-yard line, or they can go for 1 point by kicking the ball through the goal posts (starting from the 2-yard line). A field goal is worth 3 points. Teams can kick for a field goal if they are in fourth down and think their kicker can make the goal. Another way to earn 2 points is with a safety. A safety is when a team tackles an opponent in the opponent’s end zone. The scoreboard will also tell you how much time is left in a quarter, which quarter it is and who has possession of the ball. These are also important components of scoring. Scoring in Basketball In basketball, the amount of points earned for a basket is based on where the player is standing when they make the shot. If the player is behind the 3-point line, they will earn 3 points. If the player is inside the 3-point line, they will earn 2 points. This includes jump shots, layups and slam dunks! Basketball players also have the option of scoring if they are fouled. A player that is fouled can shoot a free throw, which is worth 1 point. The scoreboard will include the game clock and quarter indicator, which will let you know exactly how much time your team has left to hold off their opponent or score enough to take the lead.