The Rules of Basketball


Basketball is a team sport in which two five-player teams try to score points by shooting a ball into a basket hung 10 feet above the ground. If the player makes a basket, their team scores two points. The game is played by running, jumping, dribbling the ball, and passing it between teammates. Players can also perform a variety of shots, including the popular layup, jump shot, and slam dunk. The opposing team tries to prevent scoring by guarding the dribbler or shooting guard, intercepting passes, blocking shots, and grabbing rebounds.

The game of basketball has many rules that vary between different levels and styles of play. For example, in a youth league game, the ball is usually not allowed to travel more than 10 yards without being passed from one teammate to another. However, in a professional game, the ball can move much farther because of the pace of the game and the need to pass quickly to open teammates. In addition, different leagues and even different schools may have their own unique rules.

To shoot a basket, the player holds the ball in their dominant hand, typically the right one, slightly above their head and extends it toward the basket. As the player releases the ball, they usually follow through with their arm, extending it forward and touching the backboard or rim to put a bit of a spin on the ball for greater accuracy and to help absorb contact when it hits the rim or backboard. The follow-through is an important part of a successful basketball shot because it increases the chances that the ball will travel all the way through the hoop and not get caught on the rim or backboard.

Typically, the players on a basketball team rotate playing positions throughout the course of the game. Those playing as guards can play anywhere on the court, while those playing as forwards are usually positioned closer to the basket. In addition, the tallest players play as centers, which helps them to be better able to control the ball and protect the rim.

While the game of basketball can be fun and social for people of all ages, it is important that adults check with their doctor before starting to play. The sudden stopping and starting and repeated movement that occurs during the game can place undue stress on knees, ankles, and other joints. For this reason, it is important to warm up before playing and to stretch and hydrate regularly during the game.

Those looking to learn the game of basketball should watch professionals play as well as join local club groups where coaches can teach them the fundamentals. It is often best to start with small goals such as learning how to shoot and dribble, then gradually increasing distance over time. Additionally, it is helpful to watch professional basketball games to learn how to defend and set attack tactics.