How to Play Basketball

Basketball is a team sport played on a court with a basket or goal at each end. Players advance the ball by bouncing it while walking or running (dribbling) or by passing it to a teammate. They may also shoot a basket to score, which requires good technique and the ability to read the defense. Players may defend against the other team’s shots by stealing the ball from a dribbler, intercepting passes, or blocking shots.

The game is played by two teams of five players each on opposite sides of a rectangular floor called the court. The tallest player on each team is the center, while the second-tallest player plays power forward. The next shortest player is the small forward, and the quickest and best ball handlers play the point guard and shooting guard positions. The point guard is in charge of implementing the coach’s offense and defensive strategies during the game.

To start a play, the referee tosses the ball up between two opposing players. The player that catches the ball tips it to a teammate, a practice called a “tip-off.” The tip-off may be repeated any number of times during the play. The game is played in halves that are twelve minutes long, with a few minutes of break between each half. The team that scores the most points in a half is declared the winner.

Fouls are penalized by touching an opposing player or illegally blocking a teammate’s path to the basket. There are also technical fouls, which do not involve contact with a player and can include using profanity or other obscene gestures or arguing with the referee.

When a player shoots, it is important to follow through on the shot. A proper follow through puts backspin on the ball, which increases its chances of going into the basket when it hits the rim or backboard. During practice, try to make your shooters keep their arms close to their body as they extend to the basket.

Practice a lot of lay ups, both with the right and left hands. This drill will help them improve their footwork and shooting technique. Make sure they jump off the correct leg for each hand, and that they dribble all the way to the three-point line before jumping. This will require a lot of repetition, but will pay off for the player in the long run. The more they practice, the better they will become at making lay ups.