What are the rules of basketball?

What are the rules of basketball

Basketball is a team sport that emphasizes agility, cooperation, and stamina. The objective of the game is to score as many baskets in the opposing team's net as possible.

The team with the greatest number of baskets scored wins. The game is played with a regulations-approved basketball. Each team playing on the court consists of 5 players, with a maximum of five substitute players on the court sidelines ready to play. In college basketball, the game is divided in half and each half is 20 minutes long. In professional basketball, the game is split into quarters and each quarter is 12 minutes long.

The Court

basketball court

Basketball is played on a rectangular court, with a basketball hoop positioned in the middle of each end. The basketball hoops are raised to ten feet. The court is divided in two by the mid-court line, and around each basketball hoop is a smaller rectangular area, known as the key. At the end of the key looking towards the hoop is the free throw line. Free throws are awarded to a player after a foul, and players shoot at that line into the basket to earn a point. Surrounding each key is a large arc. The large arc is the three-point line, and any player who shoots successfully from the line or outside earns three points to their score.


basketball gameplay

Before the game begins, each team is assigned a basket to defend for the first half of the game, and after halftime, the teams switch their defending baskets. Once the players are in position on the court, including one player from each team meeting at the center of the court, the game begins with a tip-off. Tip-off is the referee tosses the basketball up into the air between the two center court players and the player who gets their hands on the ball first, will tip it towards a teammate to gain possession of the ball. The ball can then only be moved down the court by passing or dribbling.

The team that has possession of the ball is referred to as the offensive team. If the offensive team dribbles the ball into play behind the mid-court line into their half, the team has ten seconds to get the ball back into the other half. Once they cross over the mid-court line, they cannot go back into their half of the court and have possession of the ball. If the team fails to do this, the ball is turned over to the defensive team.


basketball scoring

There are different ways to earn points in a basketball game. Points for a successful shot varies depending on where the player was standing. If a player makes a basket within the large arc, then the team scores two points, and it is referred to as a field goal. If a player makes a basket outside of the large arc, then the team scores three points. A successful free throw shot is worth one point.

Fouls & Violations

Basketball Fouls and Violations

There are many different fouls in basketball. A personal foul is any physical action towards another player that is not allowed in basketball, such as hitting, holding, and pushing. The penalty for this are free throw shots, with the number of shots depending on where the personal foul was committed. Another foul is charging. Charging is when an offensive player pushes a defensive player. The consequence of this is a turnover. Blocking is also regarded as a foul. A technical foul can be given to a player or a coach when the manners of the game have been violated. This includes obscenities, and arguing.

There are also violations on the court for the players. Traveling is a term used to describe when players are taking steps with dribbling the ball. Carrying is when a player is dribbling the ball with the hand below or very far to the side of the ball. Double dribbling is when players dribble the ball with both of their hands. A held ball is when two or more players claim possession of the ball. All of these actions are considering violations and will result in a turnover.


What is goaltending?

Goaltending is considered a basket interference and a violation of the rules. Goaltending is when an offensive player interferes with a shot while the ball is on it's way down toward the basket, or while on the way up towards the basket after touching the backboard, or above the rim in the cylinder. This violation is only targeted towards an offensive player, and it results in a turnover. All of these actions, however, are permissible if done by a defensive player.

What is a shot clock?

The shot clock is the device that counts down the seconds in which the team that has possession of the ball must shoot the ball for a field goal. In professional basketball, the shot clock begins at 24 seconds. If the shot clock counts down to zero, and the offensive team still has possession of the ball without having an attempt to shoot a field goal, it will result in a shot clock violation. The penalty of a shot clock violation is the ball is turned over to the defensive player closest to the spot where the violation occurred.

What is a throw-in?

A throw-in refers to the action in which a player from the opposing team that touched the ball last stands behind the boundary line of the rectangular court and throws the ball back onto the court to resume play. The player who throws the ball into play has five seconds to throw it onto the court. Throw-ins are done when the ball bounces out of bounds.