How to Play Basketball


Basketball is a team sport where players aim to score points by shooting baskets while abiding by a fixed set of rules. The game is played between two teams, with five players each on the court at once. A player may pass or dribble the ball around the court, but must always have one hand on it in order to keep control of the ball. In addition, a player cannot be in the opposition’s rectangular ‘key’ area under the basket for more than three seconds without being called for a violation. This rule helps to prevent the ball from being ‘hogged’ by an individual player.

Basketball players are divided into five playing positions based on their height and skill level. The tallest player is the center, followed by the power forward and then the small forward. The shortest player is usually the point guard, who implements the coach’s game plan and manages team offensive and defensive execution.

Attempting to shoot a basket in the game of basketball involves running sideways with the ball, crossing your trailing foot over just ahead of your lead foot before pushing off again in the opposite direction. This move is known as the ‘pump fake’, and a player can use it to distract the opposing defender before shooting a basket.

A successful shot in a game of basketball earns the shooter three points. A basket scored from outside the area encircled by the three-point line is worth two points. If a basket is made while a player is being fouled, the shooting team is awarded two additional free throws. These are referred to as an ‘and one’ because the shooter receives two points from the normal shot and an additional free throw from being called for a foul during the attempt.

When attempting a basketball shot, a player usually rests the ball on the fingertips of their dominant hand (the’shooting’ hand). The shooter then raises the arm behind them to support the ball, and then jumps while extending the wrist and fingers. The shooter should try to put a backspin on the ball, which increases its distance from the hoop and decreases the likelihood that it will bounce off the rim or hit the backboard. After shooting the ball, a player should hold the arms and hands stationary for a moment after the release, known as a follow-through.

The’sharp shooter’ is a basketball player who can shoot the ball with great accuracy and speed. These players are usually able to shoot with both hands, although many young players develop a preference for their right hand and stick with it as they progress through the ranks of junior and senior clubs. However, it is important for all basketball players to practice with their non-dominant hand in order to develop a range of skills that can be used in a variety of situations.