The Basics of Basketball

The game of basketball is played between two five-player teams trying to score points by shooting the ball through a round hoop (or basket) hung 10 feet above the ground. The team with the most points wins. Basketball is a fast-paced sport that requires good hand-eye coordination, agility and stamina. Players must also be able to read the court and anticipate the moves of their opponents. The game is regulated by the rules of basketball, which are managed by the international governing body FIBA.

The ball must be kept within the boundaries of the court at all times, otherwise a team forfeits possession of the ball. Players are not allowed to travel across the boundary lines or touch other players or objects outside of the court. A foul called against a player for illegal contact during a play may result in the award of free throws, or if the foul is severe enough, the player could be removed from the game.

A player cannot hold onto the ball while being closely guarded for more than five seconds without being called for a turnover. Additionally, players can only remain in the opposition’s rectangular ‘key’ area under the basket for three seconds; any player remaining longer will be penalised with a foul. There are also a variety of time restrictions and shot clocks in use at different levels and states of the game.

One of the most important aspects of the game is dribbling, which involves bouncing the ball off the floor continuously as you move forward. It is important to practice dribbling drills, especially when starting out, and to find your own rhythm with the ball. Ideally, you should bounce the ball with both hands to get a feel for handling the ball with both of them.

When a player shoots, they typically rest the ball on the fingertips of their dominant hand and extend it up into the air to create backspin. This makes the ball harder for defenders to block. A player must also follow through after shooting, which is vital to ensure proper arc and accuracy on the ball.

The most common game types include man-to-man, zone and halfcourt. Man-to-man defense involves each player being assigned another player to guard and following them around the court. Zone defense is a variation of this, where each player defends an area of the court regardless of who is in it. Halfcourt defense is similar to zone, but only in that each player takes turns defending the half of the court closest to their own basket.

Basketball is a high-impact sport, and injuries can be serious. It is therefore important to warm up, stretch and properly hydrate before playing. Adults should also check with a doctor before beginning any strenuous exercise. Additionally, because the game puts a lot of stress on the joints and muscles of the lower body, it is crucial to strengthen the legs and hips in order to be able to handle the demands of the sport.