Basketball Rules, History, Tips & Equipment

A history of Basketball, how to play, tips for improvement & necessary equipment

How to Play Basketball

Basketball is a team sport, where the object of the game is to score points by passing a ball through a 10 ft high hoop. Players can advance the ball up court by dribbling or passing.

Basketball History

Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith in 1891. Dr. Naismith, the physical education professor at International Young Man's Christian Association Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, sought to create an indoor game to keep students fit during the long New England winters. The first games of basketball were played with a peach basket with no bottom. Dribbling the basketball was not part of the original game. The game of basketball quickly grew in popularity in the early 1900s. Beach baskets were replaced with metal hoops and backboards in 1906. From the very beginning, basketball was played by both women and men. The Basketball Association of America and National Basketball League merged to form The National Basketball Association (NBA), in 1949. By the 1950's basketball was a major college sport. Today, basketball is played at the youth, amateur, and professional level, worldwide. Women's basketball has also grown in recent decades to be a major spectator sport.

Basketball Rules

The game of basketball is played between two teams, five players to a side, on a court 94 ft long and 50 ft wide, with two ten ft basketball hoops on either side. Under the International Basketball Federation rules the court is a little smaller. Indoor courts are usually made of wood. There are lines on the court marking half court, the three point arc around each basket (varies between 20 ft to 22 ft depending on level of play), and the key (12 ft to16 ft wide and 15 ft from the backboard).

The time varies depending on the level of play. College basketball games are composed of two 20 minute halves. Games at the professional level are made up of four quarters, 10 minute (international), and 12 minute (NBA). The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. In the case of a tie, extra time known as overtime is added, and the team with the most points at the end of overtime wins. The time stops when the ball goes out of bounds, a foul is called, or if a team calls a timeout.

The game begins with a jump ball at half court. Each team is assigned a basket to shoot. Teams switch baskets at halftime. Players can advance the ball up court by dribbling, passing, or shooting the ball. Players can only use one hand to dribble. Once a player has dribbled and caught the ball with two hands they cannot dribble again. Dribbling again results in a "double dribble" violation, and the opposing team receives the ball out-of-bounds. Similarly, if a player walks with the ball it is a "traveling" violation, and the opposing team gets the ball. An offensive player who stands in the key for more than three seconds is guilty of a "three second" violation, and the ball goes to the other team. When a ball goes out-of-bounds, the team that did not touch the ball last gets possession.

Teams score points by shooting the ball into the basket. Each basket inside the three point line is worth two points, and each basket outside the three point line is worth three points. If a player is fouled while shooting the ball, they go to the free throw line to shoot one, two, or three foul shots (depending on if they made the basket, and if they were shooting a two or three point shot). Foul shots are shot with no defense, and count as one point. After a made basket, the ball switches possession, and the team that was scored on, needs to pass the ball in from out-of-bounds.

Players "foul out", and must leave the game, if they acquire five or six fouls (depending on level of play). A player who has fouled out may be replaced by a player on the bench. Substitutions can be made when a player fouls out, on foul calls, and timeouts. Players acquire fouls by pushing, holding, reaching in, setting a moving screen, knocking over a stationary defensive player, and going over the back. Players receive flagrant fouls for unnecessary and /or excessive intentional contact. A flagrant foul results in the other team receiving two shots and possession of the ball. A player fouls out with two flagrant fouls. After five to seven team fouls in a quarter (depending on the level of play), teams begin shooting free throws on every foul.

Basketball Tips

Basketball is a sport that one can practice by themselves or with a partner. Players can improve their ball handling, by dribbling around objects, practice dribbling using either hand, and dribbling with a ball in each hand. To work on passing players can use a wall and practice chest passes, bounce passes, over the head passes, one hand passes, and side passes. Good players practice taking a lot of shots from different angles and speeds.

In addition there are many basketball drills and basketball instruction available online and offline for players to hone their skills.

Basketball Equipment

Basketball requires a basket and a ball. Players should play in basketball shoes to reduce the chance of spraining their ankles.