The game of basketball was invented over a hundred and twenty years ago by Dr. James Naismith, who was a physical trainer at a YMCA center in the United States. It was raining outside, and he did not want his gym class to sit idle. So after a few thoughts and ideas, he came up with the game of basketball. Although the game has undergone a lot of changes over time, the fundamentals of how to play basketball still remain the same. Before we talk some more about this game, let us have a look at some images, which will tell us more about the equipment used and the type of shots that are played.
To start playing the game, we need to first gather the equipment. This should be very easy as the game only requires a ball and two hoops perched at a height of ten feet at the opposite ends of a court. It is also a good idea to wear proper basketball shoes, and not any jogging pair while playing. A nice team jersey can be worn when you get better at playing and are part of your school or college team.
Basketball can be played outdoors too, but the norm is to play on an indoor court on a maple-wooded highly polished floor. The size of the court varies according to the level of competition. For school games, the court size is usually 74′ × 42′. High school games are mostly played on a court size of 84′ × 50′. Games played according to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rules are played on a court that measures 91′ 10.4″ × 49′ 2.6″. As far as the NBA is concerned, the court size is 94′ × 50′. The height of the rim of the basket is 10′.
Next, we need to set the teams. There are two teams with 5 players per team. The object of the game, very obviously, is to score baskets. As for the length of the game, the famous National Basketball Association (NBA) teams play a 48-minute game with four 12-minute sessions. The length can vary based on the type of tournament and organization.
The game starts with a jump ball. A jump is when one person from each team goes in the center of the court and jumps to tip the ball to their teammates after the referee throws the ball straight up. The goal here is to direct the ball towards your team. Each goal or ‘basket’ is worth 2 points. However, if a basket is scored from outside the 3-point line, that is the arc-shaped line outside the free throw line, then the basket is worth 3 points. The 3-pointer distance from the basket is 23.75′ in the middle of the court, and it gradually decreases to 22′ at the sides. 4′ around the basket is the restricted area arc where a defending player cannot force an offensive foul. The free throw line is at a distance of 15′ from the backboard. A free throw that results in a basket is worth 1 point.
The game of basketball consists of offense and defense. When the ball is present with a player of your team, then all the team members of your team are on the offense. The goal here is to score points by shooting the ball into the defending team’s basket. Similarly, when the ball is present with the opponent team, then all the team members of your team are on the defense. The goal here is to stop the other team from shooting the ball into your team’s basket, and also to steal the ball from them so you can again attack and score.
While on the offense, you can pass on the ball either via dribble or passing. Bouncing the ball continuously and moving forward simultaneously is known as dribbling. It is important to remember here that once you have dribbled the ball past the mid court, you cannot go back into your own half. A pass can be used to advance your offense. Most passes are accompanied by a step forward to increase power and are followed through with the hands to ensure accuracy.
A dribble ends when you stop and hold the ball. If you hold the ball for more than five seconds, then you incur a penalty as well as lose possession of the ball. An attempt to unfairly disadvantage an opponent through physical contact is illegal and is called a foul. For all types of competition worldwide and even in the US, you are allowed four personal fouls per game. On committing a 5th, you have to sit out and be substituted by another player who has less fouls to his name. The NBA though, allows 5 personal fouls, and a player needs to sit out on committing a 6th. On offense, you cannot remain in the “key” (area designated underneath and directly in front of basket) for more than 3 seconds. If there is a 3-second violation, there will be a subsequent change of possession.
(click on images to enlarge)
Basketball & Hoop
Now that we know about the basketball court, equipment, scoring details, the game and the fouls, here are some basketball tips to end the article. Always shoot with both the hands. Using a single hand may look very fancy, but it is best to use both the hands for better control. It is very important to learn to dribble the ball without actually looking at the ball. Repetition is the key to improve your shooting. Lastly, quality training equipment will make the difference in your game. Well, the game is simple and the equipment is easy to procure. Now that you know how to play basketball, it is time to go out there and shoot some baskets!