Basketball basics and the basketball court

Basketball fitness and the court outlined

Our basketball introduction gives you an explanation of the basketball basics, including the basketball court floor and dimensions, as well as some of the fitness benefits of playing basketball.

Here's an explanation of the basketball basics in case your you are totally new to the sport or you need to brush up on your basketball knowledge:

Basketball basics

  • Basketball is an athletic non-contact sport played by opposing teams who score points by throwing a ball into each other’s basket. Basketball players can move the ball around the court by passing by hand or dribbling by bouncing the ball as they are on the move.
  • Basketball skills required include an ability to run quickly in short bursts on a small congested court, excellent hand-eye coordination, catching, dribbling, and shooting. The team who scores the most points is the winner.
  • There are five players from each team on the basketball court at any one time, with up to five substitutes sitting on the court side line.
  • The game begins with the basketball being thrown up by the referee and two players, standing in the center circle, jump for it and try to tap it to one of their team mates.
  • 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 75 (29.5in) to 78cm (30.7in), and weighs 600 (21oz) to 650g (23oz).
  • 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 and image of the basketball court

Basketball Court dimensions

  • 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.
  • Basketball boosts balance and concentration skills.

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