A Beginner’s Guide to Basketball


Basketball involves lots of running and athleticism. Professional players must be in exceptional physical condition in order to withstand the fast-paced game. But, even if you never step foot on the court, understanding some of the basic rules will help you appreciate the sport. These include dribbling, the three-point line and free throws. There are also many technical terms used to describe different aspects of the game.

The game of basketball was invented by James Naismith at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. Naismith used as goals two half-bushel peach baskets, and the team enthusiastically took up his challenge. The game became popular and spread throughout the United States, and in the following decades it gained acclaim overseas as well. Its popularity led to the establishment of an international governing body, the International Basketball Federation in 1932.

There are twelve players in a game of basketball, five on each team. Each player must take up a position on the court, although they may switch positions at will during the course of a game. The teams are divided into forwards, centers, guards and defensive players. The point guard, or number one, organizes the team’s offense by controlling the ball and ensuring that it gets to the right place at the right time. He is usually the fastest player on the team, and his ability to pass and shoot the ball under pressure are essential skills in this role.

In basketball, the ball can only be moved up and down the court by passing or dribbling. Players must dribble continuously to move the ball, but they can’t stop and resume dribbling without passing or shooting. If a player stops dribbling and then moves their feet, the referee will call a traveling violation, which hands possession of the ball to the opposing team.

A good basketball shot requires precise aiming and arm extension, as well as lift from the legs. A good follow through is also important, as it helps to put backspin on the ball. This will increase the chance of the ball hitting the rim and the backboard and going in.

Fouls are called by referees when players get too physical with each other or when a player breaks the rules. A foul can result in the awarding of free throws, a change of possession or the forfeiture of a basket.

The goal of a basketball game is to score more points than the opponent. A game is played in four quarters of ten minutes each, with a break of several minutes between them. The clock is stopped when the referee blows his whistle, and it starts up again when the ball touches a player. If a game ends in a tie, overtime periods of various lengths are played until a winner is declared.