What Does Poss Mean In Basketball? (Find Out Here)

Anyone who is new to basketball, even if they are only a spectator, will have to learn several abbreviations, acronyms, symbols, and representations if they want to follow along with gameplay, scoring, tournaments, and basketball statistics. These symbols, acronyms, and abbreviations can be challenging to understand. Poss or POSS is a common abbreviation seen in basketball, and many wonder what this word means in context.

Poss or POSS in basketball is an abbreviation for ‘possession’ and indicates which team has possession of the ball, which team will gain possession of the ball next, and can also indicate the possession percentage of a team during an individual game or a tournament, especially in basketball stats.

Understanding all of the words and abbreviations in basketball is important for following the game. This use of words in basketball makes it easier to take in more information at once and makes following the game or the tournament easier overall if you understand what to look for and if you what they all mean. Let’s explore this common abbreviation and find out what it means for basketball.

What Does POSS Mean In Basketball?

Basketball is a somewhat complex sport, especially when considering all of the many rules and regulations. The gameplay of the sport can be very difficult to follow, and watching as a spectator makes it even more difficult. This challenge led to the use of shortened words and symbols in basketball scoring and statistics.

These abbreviations and word symbols make it far easier for basketball spectators to follow along with the action and keep up with what is happening in the game. A common symbol in basketball scoring and spectating is POSS, but many fans find themselves without an explanation for what this symbol represents.

The word symbol or abbreviation POSS means ‘possession’ in basketball and can be used in various contexts depending on what you are looking at and what is happening in the game.

While watching a basketball game, the POSS symbol may be displayed with an arrow, indicating which team will receive passion after the next possession-changing event in the game.

The abbreviation can also be seen when analyzing basketball statistics or displaying the performance of a deal or multiple teams over a game or over an entire season tournament.

Possession statistics indicate the percentage of the game or tournament that a team has controlled possession of the ball. This statistic is important for analyzing the performance of a team and their chances of moving forward in tournaments and also for comparing one team to another.

Teams that have better overall ball possession tend to be better teams and are better at working together. This possession and teamwork usually mean that a team plays very well and has a better chance of scoring, a higher chance of moving forward in the tournament, and a better chance of winning overall.

The POSS abbreviation is a quick way to identify this statistic when looking at the performance of a team, and it is a space-saver on scoreboards and indicators during games.  

How Does Possession Work In Basketball?

Possession in basketball is counted when a team keeps the ball without letting it be taken or intercepted by the opposing team. Possession is important because e the team that has the ball usually has control over the game, and the team that has the ball is the only team that can score at that moment.

Controlling possession of the ball in basketball is a critical aspect of the game, and the team that has better ball possession is more likely to score and win.

Possession of a basketball is simple. The beginning of the game and overtime begins with a jump ball, where the ball is thrown above the players into the air, and the teams attempt to grab the ball. The team that wins the jump ball established first possession.

Possession of the ball then alternates after every possession-changing event, such as a point scored or when the ball goes out of bounds.

Every time the possession of the ball changes teams, it alternates to the next team when possession is changed unless there is a foul committed, in which case possession of the ball defaults to the team that did not commit the foul.

Possession statistics are measured by time in the game or overall time in the tournament. A team that has 70% possession during a game has maintained control of the ball for 70% of the time of the game overall.

Ball possession in games can be added up or averaged throughout a tournament to analyze the consistency of a team and how well they perform overall, rather than just considering the points that the team scores.  

Possession is an important aspect of the game, and any team that functions better as a whole and any team that is more focused on consistency and high athleticism are more likely to control the ball and, therefore, more likely to score points and win games than teams who do not manage ball possession well.

Why Is The Possession Arrow Important?

The POSS or possession arrow that is commonly seen on scoreboards in professional and college basketball leagues can be a confusing symbol to understand. There is usually an arrow like this on the scoreboard, both live and digital, for remote viewing, and understanding the arrow is important to help spectators follow the events of the game.

The possession arrow in basketball indicates the team that will gain possession of the ball next. The arrow will point toward the team that lost passion at the beginning of the game or overtime and will alternate every time possession changes.

This is a good way to keep track of which team has the ball and which team will gain passion next, giving that team a slight advantage over their opponents.

The possession arrow is important for spectators, as it helps fans to follow the action and stay ahead of the ball, which makes it less likely that a fan will miss an important event in the game.


Possession symbols and abbreviations occur in several places in basketball, and understanding what they reprisent and how to interpret them is important for every fan and spectator of the sport. POSS usually stands for possession of the ball in any context in basketball, be it statistics or gameplay.

Follow these symbols closely during a basketball game, and you will gain a much clearer understanding of the events of the game and following the game will be significantly easier overall.


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