How to Play Basketball

Basketball is a sport played by two teams of five players each trying to score by shooting a ball through a hoop hung 10 feet above the ground (the ‘basket’). The team who scores more points wins.

There are many different variations on the rules of basketball, but in general they all involve a ‘basket’ and two teams of five players. The team with the most points at the end of regulation wins. Overtime periods of various lengths are played until a winner is determined.

To play the game, you need to know how to throw the ball. There are many ways to do this, but the most common are chest passes, bounce passes, and overhead passes.

You should also practice your shot by shooting off-balance and with your legs. This will improve your accuracy as you get used to the feel of the ball flying through the air and hitting the basket.

Getting ready to shoot

A player should be positioned facing the basket with feet about shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and back straight. The dominant hand (the shooting arm) rests on the fingertips of the ball and the other is placed on the side of it to support the ball.

The player will then take a step towards the basket and shoot the ball. This can be done either with a full jump or with the hands slightly extended, and then extended again for a moment after release.

When shooting, the player should aim for a high shot that hits the basket and is in the air for a short time. The ideal trajectory is to hit the basket with the rim above the center of the ball and the backboard below it, but this can vary greatly by individual skill.

A shot that misses both the rim and the backboard is called an air ball. A particularly poor shot, or one that misses both the rim and backboard completely, is jocularly known as a brick.

Defending the ‘key’ area under the basket

The defensive team must keep the ball inside their own rectangle ‘key’ area under the hoop for 3 seconds before possession is given to the offensive team. A foul is committed if a player does not leave the area within these three seconds.

In basketball, if a player is fouled while attempting a shot and makes it, they are awarded ‘free throws’. These are usually thrown in combination with regular shots, and the team that made the foul is awarded an additional point for each free throw that is scored.

There are several types of free throws, including “three-point” and “four-point” plays. A three-point shot is made by a player who is closer to the basket than the three-point line, while a four-point shot is made by a player beyond the three-point line.

Fouls and violations are called by the opposing team if a player commits an offense, such as passing or dribbling without moving their feet. There are many penalties, such as travelling and double-dribbling, and each violation can result in a loss of possession for the team that committed the offense.