The Basics of Basketball


Basketball is a team sport in which players compete to score points by throwing the ball into a basket. The game was invented in 1891 by James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States, and has since grown to be one of the world’s most popular sports. It is played at all levels of education, and the National Basketball Association (NBA) is the highest level of professional basketball in North America. The top clubs from national leagues qualify for continental championship tournaments run by FIBA.

In the game, teams of five players each play on a rectangular court with raised baskets at both ends. The ball may be moved around the court by bouncing it while walking or running, or passed between teammates by hand. Skillful players can dribble without looking at the ball, using their dribbling motion and peripheral vision to keep track of its location. A player may shoot a basket by throwing the ball over the rim and through the net; this is called a shot.

The defensive team tries to prevent the offensive team from scoring by stealing the ball from a dribbling player, intercepting passes, or blocking shots. The defense may also collect a rebound, which is a missed shot that bounces from the rim or backboard. A defender may block only a shot while it is in the downward path of its arc, and must be positioned completely above the hoop to do so.

While the game’s basic rules are straightforward, many of its nuances require considerable skill and understanding to execute effectively. For example, a player must be able to judge when it is best to “air ball” a jump shot, or to pass the ball to a teammate who is better positioned for an open layup. Players must also be able to read the flow of play, and use their speed and strength to make good decisions while avoiding contact with opposing players.

A good coach understands each player’s strengths and weaknesses, and uses these to the advantage of the entire team. This requires a high level of coaching knowledge, practice, and ethics. Many of the world’s most famous coaches have been basketball players themselves, including Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, and Steve Kerr.

Although basketball is a fun and social activity, it can place a great deal of stress on the knees and ankles. Because of this, it is recommended that older people and those with preexisting conditions consult their doctor before deciding to play the sport. In some cases, the abrupt stopping and starting of basketball may cause joints to become irritated or inflamed, and the sudden movement can also contribute to arthritis. If a person decides to play, they should also check with their doctor for advice on the appropriate footwear and attire. In addition, players should always warm up before a game. This helps to prevent injuries, especially those resulting from muscle and ligament strain. These precautions can be augmented by using support garments and practicing proper stretching techniques.