Basketball is a team sport, played with as few as two people (although official games require at least 10 players). A player advances the ball by bouncing it while walking or running, or by passing it to a teammate. On offense, the most common goal is to shoot a basket, which is worth two points. Players may also score by knocking the ball through a hoop from behind or over a backboard, which is worth three points. Defense involves stealing the ball from a dribbler, intercepting passes, or blocking shots; either the offense or defense may grab a rebound, which is a missed shot that bounces from a hoop or backboard.
The game’s most basic rules state that a player must “have possession of the ball without any other player having it.” This is done by dribbling, which requires great skill. A good dribbler can move with the ball without looking at it, and will use a wide range of motions to keep the ball away from defenders. A good dribbler can also make overhead passes, grabbing the ball firmly over the head and throwing it forward to a teammate.
When shooting, a good player will anticipate the defender’s movement and time their shot to explode through them. A good shooter will also learn to use common tactics like curling when the defender follows them close, fading when they move out from under the basket, and cutting when their defender overplays them.
The rules of basketball vary by region and level of play, but most games are divided into four quarters of varying length. If a game is tied at the end of regulation, it goes into overtime. The player who scores the most points wins the game.
The lower body is the foundation of every shot that can score points in basketball, so it’s essential for new players to focus on their footwork and stance. When a player is moving quickly toward the basket, they should take a big step in one direction, crossing their trailing foot just behind their lead foot before pushing off. This is known as the crossover step, and is crucial for both acceleration and speed. The other fundamental footwork technique is the pivot, where a player moves their leading foot to face in the direction they are going and then to turn around the opposite way. A player should not lift their foot off the floor to avoid traveling, or hold the ball with both hands when they’re not dribbling. If they do so, they’ll be penalized with a traveling foul. Players should also train to box out their opponents, getting between them and the rim to prevent them from making jump shots or grabbing rebounds. Finally, it’s important to remember that basketball can be a physical game and to avoid injuries by warming up, stretching, and cooling down. Players should also check with their doctor before starting a new exercise program. In addition, they should be well hydrated during games and practices.