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How to Play Basketball


Basketball is a team sport. Both teams have 5 players. The aim of each team is to shoot a ball in a basket of an opposing team. Each team "protects" its basket and tries to prevent the over team from getting a ball in it. It may sound easy, but just like any other team sport, basketball has a lot of rules and tricks. It is one of the most popular kinds of sport in the world and it is a part of the Summer Olympic programme since 1936.




The standard size basketball court is ~ 28 x 15 meters (about 91 x 49 feet). A basket is fixated ~ 3 meters (about 10 feet) above the floor level, which is pretty high. Even though only 5 players can be on a court, every team has 12 players total, and there can be as many replacements as necessary. The bigger the distance between the player and the hoop, the more points for a goal he / his team gets. Foul shot - 1 point, close range / middle range shot - 2 points and the long range shot - 3 points.



Here is the list of main basketball rules you want to know if you are willing to learn how to play basketball:

  • A player can throw a ball with either one or two hands.
  • Same rules apply to batting a ball.
  • Once a player catches a ball, he can't run with it, he must throw it to other player from the same spot.
  • Arms, or other body parts mustn't be used for holding a ball, one should use only hands for that.
  • Three fouls - a goal for the opposing team (see Rules # 1 - 2 in "Don'ts").
  • Goal = a ball in the basket (no matter thrown or battered).
  • Ball on the edges + opponent moving the basket = goal.
  • If a ball goes out of court, it will be tossed back and the first person catching it will play it. Once a player catches it, he has to throw it within 5 seconds, if he holds it longer - the ball goes to the opposing team.
  • An umpire notifies referee when 3 fouls are made (Rules # 1 - 2 in "Don'ts").
  • It's a referee who decides when the ball is in bounds, what team should keep it and etc.
  • The time is 15 + 15 minutes with a 5 minute break in between.
  • The winner is the team that gains more points.


  • There are rules protecting your opponent & you, too: no holding, striking or pushing players from an opposing team. This rule is very strict, one time you do it - it will count as a foul, you do it another time - you will be disqualified.
  • You also can't strike a ball with a fist.



There is a plenty of other peculiarities, but if you are planning on playing basketball with your friends, these ones will be enough. If you want to learn more details about how to play basketball professionally, you can read more about it on sites that are dedicated purely to basketball.

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