What are the basic rules of basketball?

What Are The Basic Rules Of Basketball

The basic rules of basketball govern how the game is played and ensure uniformity for all levels of the sport.

Basketball is a sport that encompasses a wide variety of rules and regulations. Before discussing some of the more complicated rules of the game, it is important to first understand the basics.Other basic rules include violations that can result in fouls, turnovers or free throws for the opposing team. The following table displays some of the most basic rules and violations in basketball:

Number of Players

A team is required to have 5 players on the court at all times, making 10 players on the court at a time.

Player Substitution

Player substitutions can only occur in dead ball situations after the whistle is blown. For example, during free throws, timeouts, or after an out of bounds call.

Moving With the Ball/Traveling

Players must dribble the ball to be able to move while in possession of the ball. If a player walks or runs with the ball without dribbling, they will be charged with a traveling violation. A travel results in a turnover.

Dribbling/Double Dribble

Whenever a player gains possession of the ball they only have one opportunity to dribble at a time. Once the player stops dribbling, they are not allowed to dribble again until they first pass or shoot. If a player stops dribbling and starts again, they will be charged with a double dribble violation and forfeit the ball to the other team.

Out of Bounds

The ball and players in possession of the ball must always remain within the boundaries of the court. If a player or the ball goes out of bounds, the ball will be given to the opposite team of whoever touched it last.


On defense, players are supposed to stop the offensive player from scoring without unnecessary physical contact. If any player on either side of the ball uses physical contact to stop an opposing player, they will be called for a foul. Common types of fouls include personal fouls, blocking fouls, or charging fouls. Fouls will stop the clock and can result in free throws, turnovers, or taking the ball out of bounds.


In basketball games, points are scored by 1, 2 or 3. A free throw is worth one point, any basket inside the three-point line is worth two points, and any shot behind the three-point line is worth three.