Basketball Basics

By: Brian A. Humphrey


Basketball is actually a pretty easy sport. However, the only way it’s easy is if you know how to play it. An example are the rules of what you can and cannot do. The equipment needed, such as a water bottle to keep you hydrated. The positions, which require special skills needed to play each position on the court. All of these together will make someone a great player.

Basketball Basics

Basketball is a five on five game where teams go back and forth from defense to offense. On offense you dribble (see glossary), pass (to your teammate), and shoot to score. On defense you’re trying to stop this from happening. Once someone shoots the ball a few things can happen. One, the defense can block it and the defense rebounds the ball to become offense. Two, the shooter could miss and the defense could rebound it (once again the defense becoming offense). Three the offense could rebound it and they would stay offense, giving themselves another chance to get a point. Lastly, they could make it. If they make one of the defensive players pass it from out of bounds to their teammate, the person who passes it in (A.K.A in bounder) has five seconds before it is a turnover. Now they are the offense. On offense you try to get points. Whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins. That is the basketball basics.

Need To Have's

Obviously you need at least 5 players per team, but there are also other things you should have. First and foremost you need water or you could pass out from dehydration. You also need a basketball hoop. The hoop needs a net to go through (attached to the rim), a rim to make the net circular for the ball to go through (the rim should be attached to the backboard), and a backboard so you can bounce the ball from the backboard to the net. The goal should also be different sizes for different people. An example is an 8 feet tall goal for kids until there 8, and 9 and older should have 10 feet tall goals. You also need flat 94 feet (long) 50 feet (wide) surface. Another thing affecting age is the size of the basketball. An example would be 3 for really small kids, 5 for kids up to 2nd grade, 6 for boys until 6th grade and girls 2nd grade and beyond. Lastly, size 7 for boys 12 and beyond. You also need the right shoes. I would recommend flat tennis shoes when you play. One more thing you need is a ref, to make the right calls. This is what you need for basketball.


When I said you needed a ref, I meant it. A ref makes a lot of the game changing calls, or decisions. The most common call is a foul. There are two fouls, offensive (less common) and defensive (more common). The reason a defensive foul is more common is because when you defend and try to block the shot you might hit the player’s arm. Or if you try to steal the ball and hit the player, that is a foul. When this happens the ref will put a fist in the air as a signal for a foul. The reason an offensive foul is less common is because the only way it happens is if you drive into the player while they are standing still (which rarely happens) and if you move while setting a pick (which also rarely happens). But the ref still makes the same hand signals. A few other calls refs make is when you go to in front of half-court and then go back behind it. This is a half-court violation. Some other ones are if you take 3 steps without dribbling (travel) or dribble the ball with both hands (double dribble). These are basic rules of basketball.


On offense one thing you have to do is come up with types of plays. A play is a flowing offense where people set picks to get open, make cuts (also to get open), pass, dribble, and hopefully get someone open for a shot to get some points. A simple play is a pick and roll. A pick and roll is when someone dribbles the ball until someone sets a pick for them. Then normally the player with the ball dribbles forward while the player who set the pick goes to the basket. Two things can now happen. One the player guarding you and the player guarding the person going to the hoop will double team you and you can make an easy pass to you teammate for a layup. Another thing that could happen, is you they could double team the guy who rolls. Then the person dribbling the ball will have a wide open shot. There is also another simple play called motion offense. First, you have to have people in certain positions. One person on top of the middle part of the 3-point line, two people on each side of the 3 point line, and two people on each side of the basket. Then the wing players (people on the side of the 3-point line) set a pick for the low-post players (players on the side of the basket) so the player who was in the post is on the wing. When this happens the guy with the ball can pass it to the guy on the wing so he can shoot, or the he can throw it to the guy going to the hoop for an easy layup. Something else that helps you on offense are three pointers. If you shoot behind the 3 point line you get three points. This will help you in the long run so you can have more points. One more thing are tricks. On offense you can dribble and fake so good you can make someone fall, or you can do cool dunks, such as a 360. This is when you do a full spin in the air and dunk it. Lastly is the buzzer beater. This is when someone makes a shot right before the buzzer goes of. These are the cool features of offense.

Damian Lillard's Ridiculous Game Winner Lifts Blazers Over Rockets: Taco Bell Buzzer Beater
Taco Bell Buzzer Beater: Andre Iguodala vs The OKC Thunder
Derrick Rose Banks in Game-Winning Triple - Taco Bell Buzzer Beater


Defense is in my opinion the most important part of the game. This is also an opinion by my basketball coach and basketball camps around the world. The reason for this is because if you can stop the offense from scoring then they don’t get as many points. There are many defensive strategies. A very common and easy one is man to man defense. Since there are 5 players on defense, each player guards one player from the other team (you should preferably guard someone your height) It is so common, because it’s easy and simple. Another strategy is 2-3 zone defense. You need to two people on each side of the wing, while three people are spread out across the baseline. If the offensive player dribbles to your right then everybody moves to the right and the players closest to the offensive player double-team him. Lastly, when you defend you must be careful of fouling. The rules of fouling are if you foul five times in youth basketball then you are fouled out and have to sit out the rest of the game. In professional basketball it’s the same rules, but instead you have to foul six times. There are lots of ways to foul, but here is a very common way. If you hit someone while trying to block or steal the ball, and hit the person instead of the ball it’s a foul. This is simple defense.


See I told you basketball was easy. Now you know about, positions, rules, offense, defense, and equipment. So if you want to play basketball, you know what you need to know. You are officially an expert at basketball!


Baseline: The baseline is the line separating in bounds and out of bounds.

Block: A block is when someone hits the shot someone shoots so it doesn’t go in.

Cut: A cut is when someone fake runs one way, and then sprints to the destination wanted to get the ball.

Double-Team: A double-team is when two people guard one person. There is also triple teams and quadruple teams.

Dribble: A dribble is when you bounce the ball to the floor and back to your hand.

Half-Court: Half-Court is a line that marks halfway on the court. If you go in front of it on offense and then go behind it (still on offense) it is a half court violation.

In Bounder: An in bounder is someone who throws the ball inbounds from out of bounds.

Pass: A pass is when someone throws it to someone else on their team.

Pick: A pick is where someone stands completely still and tries to block the defender from staying with their man. If they move or take a step while setting the pick it is an illegal foul.

Rebound: A rebound is when someone grabs the ball after a missed shot.

Turnover: A turnover is when the defense gets the ball because of the offensive player’s mistakes.

Fun Facts

1. The most points scored in a game was by Wilt Chamberlin on March 2, 1962.

2. James Naismith created basketball in 1891.

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored the most points of all-time with 38,387 career points.

4. The Chicago Bulls won the championship each time they played (6).

5. Michael Jordan scored the most points in the playoffs with a total of 5,987

Try This

A fun game you can play with your friends is knockout. The rules are when you shoot you first shoot at the free throw line. If you miss you can shoot it from anywhere unless the person behind you makes it first. That is how you get out. The last person left is wins.