Basketball is a team sport played on a four-sided court with a hoop attached to the back of a glass board (the basket). Players advance the ball by bouncing it while walking or running (dribbling); they may also pass the ball to other players. A successful shot puts the ball in the basket, resulting in points for the attacking team. The defending team can block shots or steal the ball from a dribbler, and defensive players can collect missed shots off the backboard or rim.
The game was invented by James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. It soon became popular in the United States as an indoor sport, and the first governing body, called the National Basketball Association (NBA), was formed in 1932. Today, the sport is played around the world and is considered one of the most popular sports in the United States.
In a game of basketball, each team is made up of 5 players. The rules of the game are regulated by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The most important rule is that each player must touch the ball with both hands before passing it to another player. A player cannot hold the ball in his or her hand for more than five seconds before shooting. The game is divided into quarters of varying length depending on the level of play and the winning team is the team with the most points at the end of the fourth quarter.
A successful shot scores 1 point, but a successful shot in the paint (the area around the basket that is outlined by a large rectangle) is worth 2 points. Shooting from outside of the paint is only worth 3 points. The basketball used in a game of basketball is laced and measures about 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter, or about twice as large as a soccer ball.
The most important skill in basketball is the ability to control the ball with dribbling. The best way to develop this is by practicing the fundamentals of dribbling, such as dribble tags and stationary exercises. It is a good idea to try to practice at game speed to replicate the pace of a real game; this will help you improve your form while under pressure. It is also a good idea to pretend that defensive players are guarding you when you practice your shooting and dribbling skills to simulate the intensity of a game. The ability to rebound is also a key component in the game of basketball, and players can train to be better at this by performing repetitions with the ball off the ground, such as in tight chairs. By focusing on developing these basic skills, a novice can become proficient in the game of basketball in a short amount of time. However, the most important thing is to be sure that you enjoy playing basketball. If you do not, it will be very difficult to maintain the enthusiasm required for a long-term commitment to this challenging yet rewarding sport.