The Basics of Basketball


Basketball is a team sport where the objective is to throw a ball through an elevated basket on the opponent’s end of the court. Players move the ball around by dribbling and passing. A basketball is a round, hollow, leather or composite ball with a raised basket attached to the backboard. The game was invented in 1891 by James A. Naismith at YMCA College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The game is played with two teams of five players each on a rectangular, often wooden, court with a basket at each end. The game can be played with as few as two people, although official games require at least 10 players. The team that catches the ball first is known as the offense, and the opposing team is called the defense. The defense tries to steal the ball, contest shots and deflect passes in order to prevent the offense from scoring a goal.

One of the most important aspects of a good basketball game is proper technique. Many players have good form during solo dribbling and shooting sessions, but that may not translate when the pressure is on during a game. To help improve their skills, players should practice at game speed. They can simulate this by pretending that they are playing against defensive players to help them mimic the pace of a real game.

The ball must stay within the boundaries of the court, and if it travels out of bounds, the last team to touch it forfeits possession. Players are also not allowed to pass the ball back into their own half of the court once they have crossed over it, unless they are attempting to shoot a basket. This is referred to as a backcourt violation and is considered a foul.

A player’s hand positioning when shooting affects the power of the shot. The index finger of the dominant hand should rest on the air valve of the ball, and the elbow and wrist should be in line with the basket. The shooting arm should be extended fully so that it ends above the eye at the point of release. A high release point makes it more difficult for a defender to block the shot.

Another important aspect of a good basketball game is the ability to read the movement of the opposing team’s players. Players can gain an advantage by predicting where the defenders will be when they are in a position to cut or screen for a teammate.

When a player dribbles the ball while facing inward towards the opponent’s side of the court, they are said to be going “sideways.” The quickest way to get to the basket is by making this type of move. However, this style of play can be dangerous if a player isn’t careful. In addition to a quick dribble, players should try to keep the ball as low as possible when moving laterally to avoid losing control of it.