March 4, 2024


Basketball was invented at Springfield College in 1891 in the U.S.A. by Dr. James A. Naismith who was a physical education teacher. The game became an Olympic Sport in 1936. Since its creation, the game has become a popular sport in many countries of the world.



Basketball is played by both men and women teams in indoor and outdoor courts. The purpose of the game is for the teams, which consist of five players each playing at a time, to make points. A minimum of ten players and a maximum of twelve players make up a team. Basically, there are two forwards, one centre player and two guards.

The game is started with a centre jump by two players from opposing teams, after they have taken a toss to choose ends.

All players are required to be properly dressed and to remove all ornaments from the body. Finger nails should also be neatly cut. A game of basketball lasts for 40 minutes divided into 20 minutes each half with an interval of 10 to 15 minutes. At the end of the game, the team that has the highest number of points wins the game.



The Court

The basketball court is rectangular, flat, and hard surfaced without any obstruction. It is 26 m long and 14 m wide. The court is divided into two equal halves by a centre line. There is a centre circle at the centre and two restricted areas, one each at both ends. Within the restricted area is a free throw line which is 5.8 m from the end line. The other markings and dimensions of the basketball court are shown in the diagram below.


Baskets and Balls

The baskets are located in each half of the court. They are suspended on a backboard fixed to a support behind the endline. The basket is made of a ring and a basket. The basket is 3.0 m above the floor.

The ball is spherical in shape. It can be made of synthetic rubber or bladder covered with leather. Other equipment used for the game include the game watch, time-out watch, the score sheet and scoreboard, and markers.



There are some basic skills which should be mastered by all players. A summary of these basic skills is presented as follows:

1) Catching the Ball: The player catching the ball should have his eyes focused on it. The hands are out, with the palms open and fingers pointing to the direction of the ball. The feet should be spread a bit to maintain balance.


2) Passing: There are different types of passes, including the chest pass, bounce pass, and underhand pass, and baseball pass.

In the chest pass, the player holds the ball in front of his body with two hands. The ball is held at chest level. The feet are slightly apart with one leg in front. He extends the arms forward in the direction of the pass in order to execute the pass.

In the bounce pass, the ball is pushed to the floor with both hands in such a way that it bounces off to the receiver at waist level.

The underhand pass is executed by lifting the ball up from underneath using both hands.

The baseball pass is used for making long distance passes on the court. It is also referred to as the javelin pass. The ball is thrown from the side of the body to its target.


3) Shooting: There are three basic shots which all beginners should know and be able to execute. These are the lay-up shot, the jump shot, and the set shot/free throw shot.

The lay-up shot is used when the player is close to the basket. It is taken by holding the ball with both hands above the head and releasing it against the backboard so that it rebounds into the basket. The sequence is:

  • dribble close to the basket;
  • hold the ball, take a step or two;
  • jump up and at the same time bring the ball overhead and release against the backboard.

In the jumpshot, the player dribbles to a desired point near the basket, takes a step, and brings the second foot close. Then he lifts up and at the same time brings the ball to an overhead position. At the peak of the jump, he releases the ball to the basket by an extension of the elbows – upward and forward.

The set shot is a stationary shot (taken from a standing position). The feet are kept apart. The ball is held by the two hands above the head level, and is released to the basket by an extension of the hands and knees. When the set shot is taken from the free throw line, it becomes a foul shot or a free throw shot.


4) Dribbling: Dribbling is a means of getting the ball away from an opponent in order to advance it forward to the basket to take a shot at the goal or make a pass.

The ability to bounce the ball is a necessary requirement for effective dribbling. To bounce the ball, the player should push the ball down to the floor with the fingers so that it rebounds to waist level. The fingers should be relaxed and the wrist flexible in the bouncing process.

There are basically two types of dribbles, namely: the low dribble and the high dribble.

  • The low dribble is performed with the hands cupped. The body is bent low with the knees flexed. The ball is pushed down to the floor with the hands in a controlled manner. The dribble is useful to manoeuvre opponents at a close range.
  • The high dribble on the other hand is used to run down fast to the opponents basket. Usually. the body is in an upright position. The ball is pushed to the ground with a slightly cupped hand. The eyes look head.




Each team is headed by a captain who controls the game of the team. The captain can interact with game officials about the game.


Start of a Game

A game is started with a centre jump after the referee has tossed the ball up. At the beginning of the second half, the game is restarted with a centre jump.



A goal is scored from the field of play if an opponent correctly put the ball in the basket. Such a goal is counted as two points. A goal is also scored from the free throw shot. Such a goal is counted as one point. If a field goal is scored from the three-point score line, it is counted as three points.


Ball is Out of Bounds

A ball is out of bounds if it is caused to go out of the court by any of the players in the course of play. Game is restarted by a throw-in from the sideline at the spot from where it went out of play.


Winning a Game

A game is won by the team that makes the highest points at the end of playing time. If there is a tie in points scored, both teams shall continue to play in an extra time of five minutes each until a winner emerges.


Dead Ball

The ball is dead when a goal is scored, a violation occurs, or a foul is called when the whistle is sounded by any of the officials.



Time-out is a period in which the game is temporarily stopped. Time-out can be requested for by a team for the purpose of interaction among players and team coach. Each team is allowed two official time-outs in each half of the game. A time-out shall be for a period of 60 seconds. At the end of a time-out, a time-in is called for the restart of play.



Each team is allowed to make substitutes during a game. A substitute can be brought in when a foul has been called, a charged time-out is granted, and at any other intervals when the ball is dead.


Carrying the Ball

The ball is said to be carried when it is allowed to rest on the hand in the course of bouncing or dribbling. A carried ball is a violation which attracts a loss of possession by the violating team.


Three Seconds Rule

An attacking player is not allowed in the opponents’ restricted area beyond three seconds. A violation of this rule attracts loss of ball possession by the violating team. Any goal scored when this rule is violated is disallowed.


Five Seconds Rule

Any player who is required to put the ball into play from an out of bounds position and fails to do so within five seconds, loses the right to do so and a held-ball is called by the official.


Ten Seconds Rule

A team that gains possession of the ball in its own half of the court must cross with the ball to the opponents’ court within ten seconds. A violation of this rule attracts loss of right of ball possession by the violating team.


Thirty Seconds Rule

When a team gains possession of the ball, the team must take a shot at the goal within 30 seconds. A new count will be started if the ball goes out of bounds before a shot at the goal is made.


Back Court

This is a situation in which a player having crossed his own half of the court with the ball takes it back again. Any violation of this rule results in a loss of right of ball possession.



A foul is an infringement of the rule of the game which attracts a throw-in from an out-of-bounds position or a free throw shot. There are different kinds of fouls that can occur in a game. These are:

  • personal foul.
  • technical foul.
  • multiple foul.
  • disqualifying foul.
  • double foul.
  • intentional foul.


The definition of each of these fouls and penalties is presented below:

1) A Personal foul is any foul committed by a player due to illegal contact with the player in possession of the ball. If this foul is committed on a player who is in the process of taking a shot at the goal, a free-throw is awarded to the fouled player plus a foul charge against the other player. If a player commits five personal fouls he is sent out of the game. If a personal foul is committed on a player who is not in the process of taking a shot at the goal, a foul charge is recorded against the offending player and the ball is put into play by the opposing team from an out-of-bounds position at the spot where the foul occurred.


2) A technical foul occurs as a result of a player’s misconduct such as disrespect for officials, delaying the game unduly, or illegal entry into the court without official approval. For a technical foul, a foul charge is recorded and two free throws are awarded to the opposing team.


3) A multiple foul occurs in a situation where two or more team-mates commit personal fouls against an opponent. Each of the offending players is charged with a personal foul and a penalty is awarded in case of personal foul.


4) Any foul which in the interpretation of the referee is capable of injuring another player is known as a disqualifying foul and the offending player is immediately sent out of the field of play. Game is restarted by a throw-in from the side or two free throws are awarded to the opponents if the foul was on a player in the act of shooting.


5) A situation in which two opponents commit fouls against each other at the same time is known as a double foul. A foul charge is recorded against each of the players and the game is restarted by a jump-ball at the nearest circle in which the foul occurred.


6) An intentional foul is a deliberate foul on an opponent with or without the ball. A personal foul is charged against the offender and two free throws are awarded to the opponents.

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