Basics of Basketball

Basketball is a team sport in which the opposing teams try to score by passing or dribbling the ball down the court toward the opposition basket, abiding by a fixed set of rules. Each time a player successfully shoots the ball through the basket into the net, his team scores one point. A team can also win by shooting a field goal outside the three-point arc, which is worth two points. In addition, a team may earn free throws depending on the game format and the type of foul committed. A basketball player can commit a number of personal fouls, such as blocking, charging, illegal guarding, pushing, and illegal screening.

The game is played by two teams of five players on each side, with the tallest player on either team playing in the center position, the second-tallest player on each side playing in the power forward position, the shortest and most agile players playing in the small forward position, and the best passers and shooters playing in the shooting guard and point guard positions. The coach manages the game by creating a strategic plan for his team and directing the execution of this plan by his players.

A game of basketball lasts for a predetermined amount of time, usually 20 minutes, and is won by the team that scores the most points at the end of this period. If the score is tied, the teams play several overtime periods until one team wins.

To move the ball quickly, players use a variety of passing techniques. For instance, an overhead pass is made by grasping the ball firmly and throwing it forward over the head and body to a teammate in the opposite direction. Another method of passing is the bounce pass, which involves bouncing the ball off the backboard or wall to a teammate.

During a shot, the player must take a stance with his feet about shoulder width apart. Typically, the shooter will take one step with his non-dominant foot before shooting to help gain momentum. During the shot, the shooter must follow through with his hands to ensure accuracy and a smooth release of the ball into the basket. A shot that hits the rim or backboard, but does not go into the basket, is called an air ball.

A player can only take two steps without dribbling, or he will be penalized with a traveling violation. The same rule applies to defending. A defensive player may not touch the ball on its downward path through the arc or directly above the rim, which is called goaltending. In addition, a defensive player cannot block a shot while it is in the air, which is known as blocking.