Essential Skills for Beginners in Basketball


Basketball is a team sport where players work to get the ball through a hoop on offense and prevent opponents from doing so on defense. It is played with a round leather ball that has a circumference of 29.5 inches. Players can only move the ball forward by bouncing it on the ground (dribbling) or throwing it through the air to other players or toward the basket (passing and shooting). The game is divided into four-minute quarters, with several minutes of breaks between them. If the score is tied at the end of regulation, extra periods of various lengths may be played until a winner emerges.

Passing requires a strong arm, precise aiming, and lifting from the legs. Players must also be able to grab rebounds off missed shots. Jumping is another essential skill in basketball, and players must learn to jump with enough speed and accuracy to slam dunk the ball or make a layup. To dribble the ball, players must push at it with their fingertips to maintain control. Beginners often slap at the ball with their palm or chop at it with their fingers, but this is not efficient and can lead to turnovers.

The positions of the players vary depending on the type of team and the style of play. A point guard is usually the team’s “leader” and must have considerable ball-handling skills and be able to facilitate teammates during plays. A centre and power forward are the team’s primary rebounders and shot blockers. A small forward is usually the best shooter and is capable of cutting to the basket to score.

Learning to be a good teammate is one of the most important aspects of basketball. This includes setting clean picks or screens, which require a player to position themselves behind a defensive player with their body while the teammate drives into the pick with the ball. The player setting the screen must be static, so that the defensive player is forced to drive around the pick, not through it. The offensive player must then be able to pass the ball to the open player quickly and efficiently.

Other skills that are important in basketball include the ability to read and anticipate plays, the ability to perform fast-paced cuts, and the ability to catch and hold a basketball while in midair (especially after jumping). It’s also helpful for beginners to learn the rules of the game, including how long a player must wait before progressing past halfway (8 seconds in FIBA and the NBA; 10 seconds in high school and NCAA play for both sexes), before attempting a shot (24 seconds in FIBA and the NBA; 30 seconds in high school and NCAA play for both genders), and before shooting from within a restricted area known as the free-throw lane (3 seconds). A basketball that misses the basket and hits the backboard or rim completely is called a brick, while a successful shot that only hits the front-facing part of the rim is a trey.