The Basics of Basketball

Basketball is a team sport in which players compete to score points by throwing (shooting) a ball through the opposing team’s basket. The game is played on a rectangular floor called a court, with a hoop at each end. It is contested between two teams of five players, and each player must pass or dribble the ball while moving around the court. Some rules limit the time a team may have possession of the ball, and others require that players shoot within certain time frames. A team wins a game when it has more points than its opponent at the end of four quarters or a designated period of play.

The game was developed by a physical education professor named James Naismith at Springfield College in 1891. He was inspired by a number of games that he had seen in Europe and Asia, including handball and lacrosse. Naismith wrote down the basic rules of basketball and presented them to his students. By 1905, there were several different sets of rules in use, including collegiate, YMCA-Amateur Athletic Union, and state militia-style rules. A joint committee of college and professional rules makers established a standard set of rules for the game in 1915.

A skilled player can dribble without looking at the ball, relying on the movements of his/her feet and peripheral vision to keep track of its location. There are also some restrictions on how long a player may hold the ball before shooting, or passing it to a teammate; these restrictions are designed to encourage offense.

In addition to the basic rules of the game, there are many variations in playing style and strategy. For example, a player may attempt to score a basket by jumping and throwing the ball from behind the basket’s backboard, known as a “bank shot.” In the United States, players must stand at least 6 feet, 6 inches apart.

Other rules in basketball include the use of a rebound net that hangs 15-18 inches from the rim, and a clock to track the limited time that a team may possess the ball before shooting. The clock is started when the defending team gains control of the ball, and stopped when a coach requests a time-out or when a buzzer signals the end of a quarter or half.

The game is governed by the FIBA and NBA rules, which include timeouts, the rules of illegal picks and holds, and the requirement for teams to shoot within a specified period of time. There are also some variations in the rules between sexes and levels of competition. For example, the NBA has different rules for fast breaks and offensive fouls. A game consists of four quarters of 10 minutes each, and is scored by a team with the most points at the end of the match. If the teams are tied at the end of regulation, overtime is played. A game can be won by either team in overtime.