The Basics of Basketball


Basketball is a team sport that involves shooting the ball into a basket elevated 10 feet off the floor. A circular arc called the three point line separates the basket from the floor, and shots made inside this line are worth two points. The opposing team must guard the hoop and try to prevent you from scoring. Fouls, which penalize players for aggressive behavior or insulting the referee, can also give the opposition free throws and possession of the ball.

The game is played on a rectangular floor, the court, with a hoop at each end. The teams alternate possession of the ball. A player cannot hold the ball for more than five seconds without passing it to another player.

To pass the ball, players use a dribbling technique that involves pushing the ball with the fingertips. It is important to touch the ball only with the fingertips, as slapping or grabbing can result in a foul. If you are being closely guarded, you can make a fake pass by moving your body and shoulders while keeping the ball in one hand. This is called a crossover. You can also dribble with your non-dominant hand, but this is generally reserved for defensive players who must fend off opponents and protect the ball.

Each team has a center, forwards, and guards. Each player is assigned a specific position and a zone to cover. Generally, guards and forwards guard the top of the court and centers take the bottom by the hoop. The center can play defense in either zone or man-to-man, depending on the situation and opponent.

A team scores by shooting the ball into the hoop with the net attached, or a player may shoot a free throw. If the ball is missed, it will be retrieved by a teammate for a second attempt. The ball can also be passed to a teammate by an open player on the other side of the floor.

Games are divided into four quarters of varying length, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins. There are also overtime periods of varying length, and a few other rules that vary by level of competition.

During the game, teams may call time-outs to stop active play. This allows the coaches to talk with their players about strategies or other facets of the game. If a player becomes injured, they may also request a medical time-out. The game was invented in 1893 by James Naismith, an American physical educator. It was first played in Canada, then became popular in the United States and other parts of the world. The game is now played in more than 94 countries and territories, including China and India. The sport is regulated by the International Basketball Federation, an organization that sets the rules for the sport worldwide. There are also local and regional organizations that regulate the game in specific areas and countries.