A Beginner’s Guide to Basketball


Basketball is a team sport in which players score points by shooting baskets or passing the ball to teammates. The game is played on a court with a hoop or goal at each end and can be enjoyed by as few as two people for recreational purposes, but official games require 10 players. While some people play basketball professionally, it can be a fun and challenging hobby for anyone who wants to improve their skills.

In order to win a basketball game, you must score more points than your opponents in the allotted time. The game is divided into quarters of eight minutes each with a break of several minutes between each half. If the teams are tied at the end of regulation, overtime periods of various lengths may be played until a winner is determined.

The rules of basketball are designed to keep the game fair and competitive for all players. While contact is not prohibited, there are restrictions in place to discourage it, such as illegal use of hands, elbowing, blocking and tripping. The game also has rules pertaining to where players can stand and how long they can stay there. For example, a player cannot camp out in the area in front of the basket, also known as the paint, for more than three seconds. This is to prevent defenders from running into offensive players who are setting screens.

Dribbling is the action of bouncing the ball while walking or running. While dribbling, you can only move the ball one hand at a time, and you are not allowed to lift your pivot foot or carry the ball. If you stop dribbling for more than two steps without passing or shooting, it’s a violation called traveling. To dribble effectively, you should keep your head on a swivel so you can track the ball and see where your teammates are located. You should also vary the height at which you dribble, depending on your location on the court. If a defender is close, dribble the ball lower; if there are no defenders around, dribble higher.

The most common way to score a point in basketball is by making a basket, or putting the ball through the basket with your hand below the rim. A successful shot also includes proper follow-through, which involves extending your arms and fingers to ensure the ball passes completely under the basket and goes all the way into the net. It is important to practice at game speed in order to gain the skills needed to perform well during a real match.

In addition to shooting and dribbling, there are many other aspects of basketball that can be worked on. For instance, players can train to become more accurate by doing drills that focus on their footwork and the power behind their shots. They can also learn how to properly handle the ball and set themselves up for a good pass or shot by practicing with teammates.