Basketball Basics And The Basketball Court

Fancy shooting some hoops but don’t know where to start? Brush up on what the sport’s all about with our basketball basics.

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What you need to know

  • Basketball is an athletic non-contact sport played by opposing teams who score points by throwing the ball into each other’s basket. The team that scores the most points is the winner.
  • Basketball players can move the ball around the court by passing by hand or dribbling the ball as they are on the move.
  • The skills required for basketball include an ability to run quickly in short bursts on a small congested court, excellent hand-eye coordination, catching, dribbling, and shooting.
  • There are five players from each team on the basketball court at any one time, with up to five substitutes sitting on the court sideline.
  • The game begins with the basketball being thrown up by the referee and two players, standing in the centre circle, jump up for it and try to tap it to one of their teammates.
  • No holding, tripping, hitting or pushing is allowed in basketball. If a player commits more than five fouls, they are sent off the court for the remainder of the game.
  • The basketball is round with a circumference of around 75cm (29.5in) and weighs around 600g (21oz).
  • The modern basketball game was invented by Canadian, James Naismith, who in 1891, while a teacher at YMCA Training School in Massachusetts, USA, was faced with the problem of finding a sport that was suitable for play inside during the winter. The first game of basketball was played with a football and two peach baskets used as goals.
  • Basketball was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1936.

The basketball court floor

An explanation of the basketball court

  • Basketball is played on a rectangular court of 28m x 15m (84ft x 50ft)
  • The baskets are 45cm (18in) wide and raised 3.05m (10ft) from the floor and fixed to back boards.
  • The four-sided area around the basket is known as the ‘key.’
  • At the narrow end of the key is the free-throws line where shots can be taken after a foul has been awarded.
  • The large arc (6.25m or 20.5ft from each basket) is the three-point line — successful shots from outside this line score an extra point on top of the usual two.

Fitness benefits of playing basketball

  • Improves upper body strength with strong arms required for throwing the basketball.
  • Develops hand-eye coordination through ball handling.
  • Improves lower body leg strength, with short bursts of sprinting required to cover the basketball court.
  • Increases flexibility with feet and hands needing to adapt to the fast pace of basketball.
  • Increases agility with the quick plays and changes of direction.
  • Basketball boosts balance and concentration skills.

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