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Basketball Possession

What does it mean to have control of the ball in basketball? Which team gets the ball? Get ready to learn about possessions in a basketball game.

Basketball Possession

A team has possession of the ball when they are on offense, while the team without possession is on defense. Having possession of the ball is a powerful thing in basketball. After all, a team can only score points when they have possession.

Basketball Possession

REMEMBER: When a team is on offense they are trying to score points. The team with the most points at the end of the basketball game is the winner.

Basketball Plays

There are three ways that players can move the ball in basketball while their team has possession:

  1. dribbling
  2. passing
  3. shooting


If a player has possession of the ball, he can dribble it on the court and move towards the basket. To dribble, the ball-handler (dribbler) will bounce the ball repeatedly on the court with one hand.

Basketball Dribbling


The ball-handler can also pass the ball to a teammate. To pass, a player can throw the ball with one or two hands to a teammate from anywhere on the court.


Players can also shoot the ball towards the hoop. If a basket is made from outside the three-point line, a team will earn three points.

Basketball Three-Point Line

Basketball Turnovers

In basketball, a turnover will cause teams to switch possession of the ball and go from offense to defense.

Basketball Turnover

Here is a list of turnovers and some of the ways that teams lose possession of the ball:

If you want to learn more about turnovers, check out Basketball Turnovers.

Basketball Transitions

A transition in basketball describes the way a team will react to a change of possession.

Basketball Transition

Remember, the same five players on the court play offense and defense. Basketball teams need to be quick to transition and get into position on the court.

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