The Basics of Basketball


Basketball is a team sport in which players compete to score points by shooting a ball through a basket on offense and stopping the opposing team from scoring on their own basket on defense. The game requires considerable skill and physical fitness, with the ability to pass, dribble, shoot and guard being particularly important. The game can be played with as few as two people, although official games require at least 10 players. If you’re interested in playing competitively, contact local sports centres and associations for information about joining a basketball club or starting your own.

When dribbling, keep your hands away from your body and move them in a fluid motion to avoid putting too much pressure on the ball. Beginners often slap the ball with their palms or chop it at it with their fingers, but this can easily cause the ball to bounce out of control. The best way to learn is by constantly bouncing the ball with each hand, moving back and forth between both and keeping your eyes on the ball. A proper pass should be accompanied by a forward step to increase power and follow through with the hands to ensure accuracy.

Jump shots and layups are different forms of the same shot, which are usually made by jumping over or around an opposing defender to make the basket. Hang time refers to how long a player stays in the air after jumping, and a shot that hits the rim but misses the basket altogether is referred to as an “air ball” or, in some cases, a brick.

The most common way to score a point in basketball is to throw the ball through a basket, which may be either on the hoop or on the backboard. This requires precise aiming, arm extension and lift from the legs, and some shots are harder to make than others. Very long shots from behind a line called the three-point line are sometimes known as treys or triples.

Basketball also involves a great deal of running, which is one of the reasons professional players are so fit. It is also a fast-paced game with the clock constantly running, and in some competitions there are restrictions on how long a team can possess the ball before shooting.

As with most forms of exercise, basketball improves overall health and fitness levels. Regular physical activity is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, improved mental health and increased self-esteem, while the teamwork and communication involved in basketball can build character. It’s also an excellent form of stress relief, releasing feel-good hormones that help to lower blood pressure and alleviate depression. In addition, the vigorous movement associated with basketball may help to improve digestion and reduce the risk of diabetes. In fact, a recent study found that untrained men who trained for 3 months in street basketball saw a significant improvement in their body composition, with improved lean mass and lowered fat percentages.