Rules of Basketball | How it is Played?

Basketball is a typical American game that is played by tall and fast athletes with premium fitness levels. Though there is a downside that not everyone can play basketball, a certain level of height is necessary to compete in this game, it is still quite a popular game – especially in European countries.

Rules of Basketball

The game dates back as far as 1891, and it has continued to evolve over the years. A few parts of Asia and countries like Russia, Germany and Spain regularly participate and organize basketball tournaments at various levels, but the most lucrative of Basketball leagues are played in America.

Objective of Playing Basketball

The objective of the game is to throw the ball into a hoop. The more times you’ll throw the ball into the hoop the more points you’ll earn. And in the end, the team with the most points is declared winner.

There are laws governing the game regarding the legal methods of throwing and taking the ball towards the hoop which we are going to discuss below.

How to Play?

Basketball is a fun game which involves lanky players running around with the ball, dribbling and throwing it to try to get the ball into the opposition’s basket. Players are allowed to pass the ball to their teammates by using their hands while kicking or using your head is forbidden. Both teams have baskets hung to their halves which they have to protect.

Is it all? No, this is not even 20% of the rules of basketball. If you want to learn more about how basketball is played and read the complete set of rules, you can find everything from fouls, legal ways of passing below.

General Rules of Basketball

  • In basketball, 5 players from each side can play on the court at one time. You can have up to 7 substitute players on bench, which differ from league to league.
  • You can’t catch or kick the ball. The ball can only be moved around by bouncing the ball or passing it.
  • There are two baskets in each half.
  • To score a basket, a player must send the ball into the opponent’s basket.
  • If you have possession of the ball and you put two hands on it, you can’t dribble or move the ball but it must be passed or shot.
  • Each team gets 24 seconds to shoot at the basket. If the ball doesn’t go in the basket then the shot clock is restarted and it ticks again for another 24 seconds.
  • If the ball goes into team A’s half and team A win back the possession of the ball, it must bring the ball back over the half line within 10 seconds. If they fail to do so, a foul will be called.
  • The attacking side is called the offence whilst the team trying to prevent them from scoring a basket is called the defence.
  • After every basket, the ball is turned over to the opposition.
  • You get 2 points for every score within the arc.
  • If a player scores the basket outside the arc, the team gets 3 points.
  • Any free throw successfully sent into the basket scores 1 point.

Violations in Basketball

There are a few violations that can occur in a basketball game:

  • Taking multiple steps without bouncing the ball.
  • Picking the ball up, stopping and then dribbling again.
  • Defensive team taking the ball back one it has passed the halfway line.
  • An offensive player can’t stand in the key for more than three seconds.

Every violation Results in a Free Throw.

Free Throw in Basketball

Free throws are the consequence of a foul on a shooter by the opposing team. A free throw is an unopposed attempt to score points by shooting from behind the free throw line. If you manage to score a basket off the free throw, you get one point.

Fouls in Basketball

There are three types of fouls in basketball:

Personal Foul

A personal is the infringement of rules that concerns intentional and illegal contact with the opponent. A player who frequently does this foul can be disqualified from participation in the remainder of the game.

Offensive Foul

If an attacker (offensive) player makes contact with a defender in defensive space, then it is called offensive foul against the attacker.

Defensive Foul

Similarly,if a defender makes contact with the offensive player, then it is called defensive foul against the defender.

Technical Foul

A technical foul is different from above mentioned fouls. It happens when a player abuses the referee, misbehaves with an opponent or other similar non-playing infringements.

Referee in Basketball

In basketball, a referee enforces rules and maintains discipline and order in the game. Two umpires are also part of the team of officials, and assist the referee in running the game in order.

Punishment of a Foul

  • Any general foul results in a free throw for the non-offensive side.
  • 2 shots (free throws) for the foul inside the arc.
  • And 3 shots for fouls outside the arc.

Toss in Basketball

In basketball, we don’t have a coin toss but a ball toss to begin or resume play. One of the officials toss the ball in the air between the two players – one from each side – and the play starts.

Time Duration of a Basketball Match

The agile game of basketball is played in 4 quarters of 10 (FIBA) or 12 (NBA) minutes. A rest time of 3-5 minutes is given between the quarters and in case of tie, extra time of 5 minutes can be added to have a winner of the match.

Important thing to note here is that the time duration of all basketball games are not the same, there can be small differences in the quarter duration and breaks, depending on the level of the tournament.

The Basketball Playing Field

Here are the measurements and areas found in a typical basketball field:

Overall measurement: It is always rectangular shaped and measures 91 feet long and 50 feet wide.

Halfway life: The halfway line is always found in the centre – it is the same line at where the game starts.

Baskets: At each end of the halves, there are two baskets both 10 feet in height.

Outside ring: There is also a three point arc, which is the outside ring, whilst in the middle of it is the key area which includes a free throw line.

Equipments Required to Play Basketball

Basketball is a simple game that doesn’t require much to get going. Teams wear matching strips with players allowed to put gum shields and wear face masks for protection.

A typical basketball measures 9.43 – 9.51 inches in diameter, or 29.5 inches (75cm) in circumference (as per NBA rules).

Roles of Basketball Players

5 players can be fielded from each side in a basketball game. Their roles are as followed:

Center: Usually all basketball players are tall but the one who plays in the center is the tallest. He plays near the basket and on offense, his job is to score on close shots. On defense, he tries to block opponents’ shots and rebound their misses.

Power Forward: A power forward is a versatile player. He plays near the basket while rebounding and defending taller players.

Small Forward: Small forward plays against both small and large players. They move all over the court and get the opportunity to score from long shots and close ones.

Point Guard: He is usually the team’s best dribbler and passer. His role is to defend the point guard and steal the ball.

Shooting Guard: He is the team’s best shooter. He can make shots from long distance and is usually a good dribbler too.

Famous Basketball Tournaments

Basketball has a great following in the United States of America. Gradually, it is becoming popular in other parts of the world as well. Some of the famous basketball tournaments that take place every year are:

  • FIBA World Championship
  • EuroBasket
  • FIBA Africa Championship
  • FIBA Asia Championship

Famous Basketball Venues

Here’s the list of some of the famous basketball venues:

  • Chase Centre, California
  • Fedex forum, Tennessee
  • Moda centre, Oregon
  • State farm arena, Georgia
  • Toyota center, Texas

Awards in Basketball

Basketball players and officials enjoy some great awards based on their yearly performances.

  • Rookie of the year
  • Most valuable player
  • Most improved player
  • Executive of the year (for team officials)

Governing Body for Basketball

FIBA (International Basketball Federation or Fédération internationale de basket-ball) is an association of national organizations which is the governing body of basketball worldwide. Its job is to promote basketball in different regions and organize international events.