How to Play Basketball: What Are The Rules Of Basketball

Basketball is a very familiar name among sports enthusiasts. It is one of those very few games both adults and kids can enjoy. If you are a beginner, the first thing could come in your mind that how to play basketball?

Basketball is a team sport consisting two teams, each containing five players; these teams compete with each other while aiming to shoot a basketball (which is approximately 9.4 inches in diameter naturally) through the defender’s hoop (A 18-inch basket in diameter attached to a 10 feet high backboard at each end of a rectangular court.

They battle one another preventing the opposite team from shooting the ball through their own hoop. The team who scores the most point at the final round wins the game. However, if it is a tie, an additional period of play is granted. Despite some hard and fast rules basketball is immensely popular and has come a long way since its inception.


Basketball was invented in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts a Canadian-American physical education instructor James Naismith as a less injury-prone game than Football.

Since then the game has gone through several iterations and eventually garnered worldwide popularity; first in America then gradually in other parts of the globe. After it gained enough recognition in American colleges, it cemented its place in the world of the professional game.

In 1946 The American National Basketball Association (NBA) was established and eventually became world’s most popular and richest professional basketball league; thus basketball became a significant part of American culture.

Besides North America, The EuroLeague from Barcelona, Spain and FIBA Americas League from Mexico qualify to the global championship. Basketball is also one of the fondest games for women. The WNBA (NCAA Women’s Division), The FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and the EuroLeague Women have been supporting Women’s basketball passion for several times now.

Recreation, amusement and health benefits are the reasons why basketball became popular within the short span of time.

Basketball Rules: How to play Basketball

Being a vigorous and challenging game Basketball follows certain rules. As mentioned before, it takes place in a rectangular-shaped floor called court which is divided into two main sections the mid-court line. It also needs two teams, one basketball and a hoop. Let’s see what are the requirements and how to play basketball in real life!

The rules of basketball may vary based on the level of play (for e.g. professional rules are different from high school rules) or where the game is played (International rules are not same as the US professional rules). However, the basic rules which apply for all kinds of games are fairly easy.

As a beginner, you may find it a bit puzzling but with practice, commitment and determination it can be understood and learned. The fundamentals of basketball game including dribbling, shooting and passing needed to be focused on in the initial stage in order to make your way into the professional level. There are some common rules which will help you get your grip on basketball and improve your overall skill on the court. Those are discussed below:

Ball Handling

The first and foremost skill is how you handle the ball. The basic objective is to chuck the ball through the hoop of the opposite team’s hoop; therefore handling the ball requires a lot of your attention and skill. While reaching for the hoop, you need to dribble the ball around the court and preventing the opponents from snatching it away. For that, you need to master some tricks which would help you handle the ball with full control. Those are the following:

Dribbling constantly

As you start dribbling you have to dribble it nonstop until you shoot, pass or stop dribbling to stand on your pivot foot. Once you stop dribbling, you cannot re-start dribbling because it’s a foul called “double dribble”. You also have to avoid “over/under dribbles” or “carries” where you pick up the ball from underneath spin it dribbles it down. Your knees should be bent, shoulder-width apart and you have to be crouched while dribbling in order to protect the ball.

Bounce the ball with fingertips

In order to maintain your proper grip on the ball, you have to bounce it with your fingertips instead of the palm of your hands. Your wrists should be flexed and elbows need to be moved as little as possible while bouncing the ball. Your ball should be inflated enough for you to do that with ease.

Low dribbles

As a beginner, it is difficult to keep the ball down while bouncing. But dribble should be close to the ground and ball needs to be pointed at your waist rather than the chest. Otherwise, it would be easier for the opponent to pick it off.

Keep your heads up

Another important thing you need to learn while honing your ball handling skill is keeping your head up and look around the court as opposed to looking down and bouncing your ball. You have to observe your teammates, opponents and hoop simultaneously while dribbling lest you are going to lose control of the ball.

Practice dribbling with both hands

Beginners generally use their dominant hand or the hand they write with while dribbling. However, as you progress you have to phase out from that and start using both of your hands to handle your ball in order to play more smoothly.


Stationary drills

The stationary skill requires you to dribble in a circular motion around your legs at a different height.

Tight chairs

This skill involves six chairs where the chairs are arranged in two rows of three chairs each. You need to dribble around each chair with different skills like figure 8.


Another important step you must know to excel at basketball is how to shoot. Your objective would be to throw the ball through the basket of the opponent. It is imperative to know different tactics to shoot the ball right down the hoop.

Square up with the basket

Before you proceed to shoot you need to square up. That means you have to point both of your feet towards the hoop and make your hip parallel front-side while aiming at the hoop. In this way, you will be able to focus more accurately and shoot perfectly.

Balance the ball on your fingertips

Make sure to balance the ball on your fingertips of the dominant hand before you throw it. Use your other hand to hold the side of the ball but your dominant hand should hold most of the power while shooting the ball. While practicing shot motion you have to hold the ball straight up with your dominant hand.

Spin the ball off your hand

After setting the perfect shooting position, you have to raise your elbow while rolling your wrist; thus continue doing this as you proceed towards the hoop. Chuck the ball when your elbow extends to the end rolling backward.

Jump straight up

You need to jump straight up instead of jumping forward the hoop while shooting. Roll the ball through the basket instead of casually releasing it.

Have the ball go over the rim and into the basket

In order to avoid hitting the rim, you have to aim the center of the rim so that the ball goes right into the basket.

Free throws

You have to practice shooting free throws to hone your shooting skill.

Box drill

Box drill is played with one ball but with players on both right and left side on the court. In this case, the player on the right makes a jump shot to the backyards and player on the left runs towards the receiving end making their own shot. Thus they keep passing the ball from one player to another on the right side before shooting.


Another integral part of this game is passing the ball. You need to make smooth passes so that your teammates don’t have to move back and forth. There are three drills you need to master to make a comfortable pass.

Chest passes

Take the ball on either side, in both hands and then bring it closer to your chest. After that, you have to flip both of your hands outwards and pass the ball to your teammates. The ball shouldn’t touch the ground while passing.

Bounce passes

Bounce passes require you to aim the floor about three-quarters between you and your teammate. You have to pass it in a way so that ball bounces just once and reaches straight to your teammate’s chest.

Out of bounce pass

In case of out of bounce or throw-in passes, pass the ball either over your head or to a point guard standing behind the line.

Offensive and Defensive Drills

The game basketball combines offense and defense. There will be multiple shifts in the game, therefore, a beginner must learn both offensive and defensive drills.

An offensive drill

In this case, the ball is in hand of the player of your own team. All players are divided and aligned under each basket. Since the ball is with you, your teammates including you are on the offense. So you have to dribble the ball and shoot it through the defending team’s basket to score a point. Then rest of teammates repeats the drill.

A defensive drill

When the ball is present with the opponent team, you and your team members are on the defense. In this case, you have to prevent your teammates from shooting the ball through your team’s basket, and also try to snatch the ball from them to further attack and score. While playing for the defense, you have to remember a couple of things.

  • You need to know the proper defensive stance
  • Practice side-to-side movement so that you swipe from side to side smoothly and rn sideways faster.
  • Try to grab the rebound. If your opponent fails to make a shot, grab the ball as quick as possible so that they don’t get any second chance.
  • Try to avoid foul as much as possible. Hitting, slapping or pushing the opponent is considered as foul and can have you disqualified if you cross the line.

There are other important elements you need to go over when you are all up for basketball. Those are the following:


Traveling: When you take more than a step and half without bouncing the ball, that’s called travelling.

Carrying/palming: Dribbling the ball with your entire hand to the side of or under the ball is called carrying or palming.

Double dribbling: You are allowed to dribble once then you have to pass it to another player. If you start dribbling again once you stopped dribbling it, it’s called double dribbling.

Over and back: When the offensive team receives the ball, they are not allowed to go back into the defender’s half-court with the ball. This is known as over and back.

Kicking: Players are not allowed to kick the ball intentionally.

Goaltending: If a player interferes with a shot when it’s above the rim but already downward through the basket, interferes with the ball when it has already touched the backboard and accidentally touches the rim or the net when the ball is being shot; it’s called goaltending.

Lane violation: During free throw shot, the player will line up on both sides of the lane. If any player jumps into the lane before the shot is made, it’s called lane violation.

Players’ Positions

Center: Usually tallest players are positioned at the center. That means they stand right under the hoop

Forward: Second tallest players occupy this position where they have to operate the wings and the corner areas.

Guard: Normally shortest players of the team are positioned for this. They have to very good at dribbling fast, guarding the court and also passing.

List of Basketball Equipments

Once you know and master the basic rules of basketball, you must have a vast knowledge about the mandatory equipment of the game. As mentioned earlier, basketball requires a basket, a ball and a flat court. Proper attire also falls into this category.

Basket: A hoop or basket with net enclosing it and of 18-inch diameter slung over horizontally from a rectangular shaped backboard of 3.5 height and 6 feet width. The rim is usually 10 feet above the ground and made of high tensile carbon steel. You can get an idea about the basketball hoop.

Ball: Basketball is an orange color round ball made of synthetic materials as in rubber, nylon and polyester combined with leather. The pressure of the ball is between 7.5 and 8.5 pounds. The size is around 29.5 inches around in perimeter.

Court: The basketball is usually made of concrete, wood, asphalt and dirt. It can be both indoor and outdoor. Here you can get an idea of how to prepare a basketball court.

The uniform: Your performance, mood and confidence largely depend on your uniform. A proper uniform boosts your energy and triggers your confidence. Typical basketball uniform consists of a jersey, shorts and a pair of stylish shoes. You can add some detail wearing headband, gloves and arm sleeves.



Basketball is a great game from every aspect. It can be both for time pass as well as an energy booster. By acquiring and learning proper skills, you can enjoy this easy yet exciting game and eventually become a professional like your very favorite Lebron James or Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The rules are not at all difficult as it seems at first. With enough practice, you can rule the game like a pro because practice makes a man perfect.

Sharing is caring!