Basketball Rules List

Basketball Rules List

There are many rules that make basketball the sport that it is today. They include:


Scoring Rules

In basketball a point is worth two points or three points depending on the location of the shot. Any shot taken from on or within the 3-point line is worth two points. Any shot taken from outside the three-point arc is worth three points. On free throws, a successful basket is worth one point.

Dribbling Rules

Basketball Dribbling

In order for a player to move with the ball in their possession, they must dribble the ball. Dribbling is when a player bounces the ball on the court in a continuous motion with one hand. The player must keep a live dribble at all times in order to move with the basketball. If the ball is knocked from the player's possession when they are dribbling then they are allowed to resume dribbling if they get it back.

Traveling Rule

Basketball Traveling

A travel is when a player who has possession of the ball moves without dribbling the ball. Traveling is most common with players going for a contested layup or players who try to create space to take a jump shot. A player may take at most two steps without dribbling the basketball, but they must be moving with the intention to score.

Carrying Rule

Basketball Carrying

A carry is when a player either palms the ball, their hand gathers the ball from underneath the ball or their forearm is able to carry the ball and pause then continue their dribble.

Double Dribble Rule

Basketball Double Dribble

A double-dribble is when a player ends their dribble and picks it up again to continue their dribble without passing, shooting or losing possession of the ball.

8-Second Backcourt Rule

When dribbling the ball up the court a player has 8 seconds to get the ball beyond the half court line, if they fail to do this then it results in a backcourt violation. If a team has already moved the ball into the front court they can not go back and pass the ball into the backcourt. If there is a loose ball and a player touches the ball and causes it to go into the backcourt, they are not allowed to be the first one to touch the ball if the ball was in their control.

3-Second Paint Rule

A three seconds violation occurs when a player stays in the paint for longer than three seconds. There are two variations of this penalty, one being on offense and the other is on defense.

Offensive 3-Second rule

An offensive three seconds violation occurs when a player is in the paint for longer than three seconds. However, if a player is in the act of shooting during the third second then it is completely legal and no penalty shall be applied. The three second count cannot begin until the team is in full control of the ball.

Defensive 3-Second rule

A defensive three seconds violation has the same rules that apply. However, in this case the rule doesn't apply if the defender is actively guarding someone who is close to the paint. Also, the count does not begin until the offensive team advances the ball into the front court.

Out of Bounds Rule

basketball Out of Bounds

If a player steps out of bounds in any direction then they lose possession of the ball. The ball is considered dead and must be put back into play with a throw-in. If the ball itself goes out of bounds, whichever team touches it last the opposing team is granted possession of the ball. If a player touches the ball and saves it from going out of bounds, they are not allowed to be the first person to touch the ball even if they have regained position within the boundaries of the court, this incident will also result in a turnover.

Free Throw Rules

basketball shooting a Free Throw

A free-throw is a shot that is given to a player as an opportunity to score one point due to a foul from the other team. The player must shoot from the free-throw line which is 15 feet from the basket. If the basket is made, that team is awarded 1 point.

When shooting a free throw a player has less than ten seconds to take their shot or else their shot will not be counted and they will forfeit their chance to take a free throw shot. A player is not allowed to step over the free throw line when they take their shot or else their shot will not be counted, even if the shot goes in. Also, a player is not allowed to fake a free throw shot on purpose. The free throw shooter is not allowed to purposely throw the basketball off the back of the backboard in order to catch it and regain possession of the ball, that is considered a violation.

Number of Players Rule

Both teams are allowed to have five players on the court at any given time. This ensures that each player on the opposing team is able to match up properly with another player on the other team. Given this dynamic, it allows for fair play for each team to play the sport on an equal playing field.

Substitution Rules

Basketball Substitution

Players can leave the court and be substituted for another player on the bench. This happens relatively often throughout the course of a game to give a player a much needed rest. There is no limit to how many times a player can be substituted during a game, so this allows for different matchups and in-game rotation strategies to be used by coaches.

Physical Contact Rules

basketball fouls and violations

A foul occurs when a player comes into illegal contact with another player on the opposing team. Examples of illegal contact include personal fouls, shooting fouls, illegal screens, charging, and blocking fouls. Players are not allowed to hit, hold, or push other players.

Goaltending Rule

basketball Goaltending

Goaltending happens when a defensive player touches the ball when it is above the rim, on the rim, or if the shot is on its way down and the player blocks the ball from entering the rim. It is also considered goaltending if a player touches the ball after it has been shot and has touched any part of the backboard above the rim and appears to have a chance of going down.