No doubt, basketball is one of the most popular sports for both adults and kids in the 21st century. However, becoming a pro in basketball requires a good knowledge of basketball-related issues, such as; the history of basketball, basketball rules, the types of basketballs, basketball shoes, and the best ways to avoid injuries while playing basketball.
So, we've helped you put together all you need to know about the beautiful game of basketball.
The history of basketball goes as far back as 1891 and begins in Springfield, Massachusetts when a Canadian physical education instructor, James Naismith developed the idea for a less injury-prone sport than football that could help train young athletes during the cold season. Basketball gained instant popularity, and by the 20th century, it had become an established game in several countries in the world, but most notably, in America; where the American National Basketball Association (NBA) was eventually established in 1946.
Basketball was first played with a soccer ball and peach baskets with two teams consisting of nine players each. On December 21, 1891, Naismith proposed a 13-set rule for the game. However, over the years, the rules evolved into what we would eventually know today as the rules that guide basketball.
Naismith’s original rules are as follow:
- The ball may be thrown with one or both hands in any direction
- The ball may be batted with one or both hands in any direction.
- Running with the ball is not allowed; the ball must be thrown from the spot on which a player catches it and allowance is awarded to any player who catches the ball when running at a good speed.
- Holding the ball with the body or arms is not allowed. It can only be held in or between the hands.
- Pushing, striking, shouldering, holding, or tripping is not allowed. If this is done the first time, it is counted as a foul. If it occurs a second time by the same player, the player will be disqualified until the next goal is made and if it is obvious that the rule was violated with the intent to harm the opponent, then the player shall be disqualified for the whole of the game without substitute.
- Violating rules 3, 4 and 5 or striking the ball with the fist are considered as fouls in the game.
- If a team makes three fouls consecutively, the opposing team shall be awarded a goal.
- A goal is made if the ball is successfully thrown or batted from the ground into the basket and stays there, or if the ball rests on the edge and the opponent moves the basket.
- When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall only be played by the first player to touch it after it is thrown in. Any other player doing so is considered a foul. Also, in case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. No more than five seconds is allotted to the "thrower-in," if the player holds the ball for more than five seconds, the ball shall go to the opposing team. If any team delays the game, it shall be considered as a foul for the erring team.
- The umpire is responsible for judging and noting the fouls, and must inform the referee when three fouls are made consecutively.
- The referee shall perform all the duties required of a referee. These include;
- Judging and deciding when the ball is in play, in-bounds, and to which team it belongs.
- Keeping the time
- The referee will also decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals.
- The time allotted for the game is fifteen-minute halves, with five-minute intervals between.
- The team with the most goals automatically wins the game. In the case of a draw, the game may be continued until another goal is made.
The Goal of the Game
The goal of the game was simple; to throw the basketball into the baskets nailed to the lower railing of the gym balcony. However, this soon proved inconvenient, since the ball had to be manually retrieved every time it was thrown into the basket. This eventually prompted the removal of the bottoms of the baskets.
By 1906, metal hoops, nets, and backboards were introduced into the game, and over time, a Spalding ball was adopted, similar to what is used today.
Naismith’s students played the first basketball game on March 11, 1892, in Springfield, Massachusetts.
As basketball continued to evolve and progress, more countries began to develop a more professional approach to the game. The first professional basketball league was founded in 1898 but later fell apart in 1904. However, the 1920s and 1930s saw the rise of several professional basketball leagues. These included; Eastern Basket Ball League founded in 1909, Metropolitan Basketball League founded in 1921, and American Basketball League founded in 1925 successively.
On June 18, 1932, in Geneva, Italy, Romania, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Portugal, and Switzerland, founded the Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur, (FIBA). The creation of this organization led to the addition of basketball in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games which was won by the U.S. national team.
The popular basketball league; NBA, was founded on June 6, 1946, in New York City, first as the Basketball Association of America (BAA), but eventually became National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949 after a merge with the National Basketball League (NBL).
No doubt, basketball has evolved immensely from Naismith’s original idea of a slow-paced and defense-oriented game to a more fast-paced and offense-inclusive game.
The rules of basketball are still as simple as proposed by Naismith but have changed over the years. When any of these rules are flouted, it is termed a foul. The rules of basketball are as follow;
- Each team consists of 12 players with only a maximum of 5 players allowed on the court at any one time. The positions are broken up into Defensive Guard, Point Guard, Center, Offensive forward and Defensive Forward. Players are allowed to move around as they want.
- Substitutions are allowed as many times as a team wants while the game is on.
- The ball can only be moved by or passing or dribbling the ball. Once both hands are placed on the ball, it must be shot or passed.
- The moment the ball goes into a team’s half and possession of the ball is regained, they must cross the halfway line within 10 seconds. It will be regarded as a foul if the ball does not make it back within the stipulated time and the ball will be turned over.
- The offense team is the team that tries to score a basket, while the defense is the team trying to block or prevent the other team from scoring.
- Only 24 seconds is given to each team to make a basket; this could either be a shot going in the basket or hitting the rim of the basket. If a team fails to make a basket, the shot clock is restarted for another 24 seconds.
- The ball is turned over to the opposition after each successful basket.
- Fouls committed throughout the game will be noted and accumulated by the umpire. When the fouls reach a certain amount, a free throw will be awarded. The number of free throws awarded is determined by where the foul was committed.
- Violations in the game include:
- Traveling: When a player takes more than one step without bouncing the ball.
- Double Dribble: When a player picks up the ball with a dribble, stops and then resumes dribbling with both hands.
- Goaltending: When a defensive player obstructs the ball traveling towards the basket.
- Back Court Violation: When the offensive team tries to take the ball back over the halfway line.
Basketball Courts and Dimensions
The basketball court is a rectangular floor often made of highly polished wood or maple for indoor basketball or concrete or asphalt for outdoor basketball. The court features a halfway line with a small circle in the center where the game begins with a tip-off (the referee throws the ball in the air, and a player from each team tries to win the ball).
The outside ring is a three-point arc with the key in the middle; this is where the free-throw line is located. Two baskets, every 10 feet off the floor, are positioned at both ends of the court.
Basketball courts vary in size depending on the rules of the level or league. The sizes are as follow;
- National Basketball Association (NBA) – 94 by 50 feet (28.7 by 15.2 m)
- International Basketball Federation (FIBA) – 91.9 by 49.2 feet (28 by 15 m)
In amateur basketball, the court size may not conform to any of the NBA or FIBA size standards.
The dimensions of the basketball court also determine the points awarded to teams in the game. For example, a team gets three points when a basket is made from behind the three-point arc, two points; when a basket is made from within this line, or with a player's foot touching the line, and one point; when a foul shot is made. In some instances, a shot made from the foul line can count as two points, if the shot is made while in play.
The Foul Line
The standard foul line for all courts is 15 feet from the foul line to the front of the backboard.
Also known as the lane, the key differs in size according to level or league. For instance:
NBA: The key is 16 feet wide
NCAA: The key is 12 feet wide
High School: The key is 12 feet wide.
This is the line that separates the two-point area from the three-point area. The dimensions for the three-point line vary as follows:
NBA: 22 ft (6.71 m) to the center of the rim on the trim with a straight line which measures 16 ft 9” from the baseline. From the center of the rim, the line extends out by 23 ft 9”.
FIBA and WNBA: 2.95 ft (0.90 m) from the sideline in a zone starting at the baseline and ending when it crosses the 22.1 ft (6.75 m) arc. The 21.65 ft (6.60 m) distance exists only at the points on the three-point line that is directly at the left and right of the basket center
NCAA: 20.75 ft (6.32 m) from the points on the three-point line that is to the left and right of the center of the basket.
High School: 19.75 ft (6.02 m) from the points on the three-point line that is to the left and right of the basket center.
The Restricted Arc
This is a semi-circular arc drawn underneath the basket. When defense players are within the arc, they cannot make foul shots. The dimensions of the restricted arc vary:
NBA: 4 ft (1.22m) from the center of the basket
WNBA; 4 ft (1.22m) from the center of the basket
NCAA: 3 ft (0.91m) from the center of the basket
The Backboard and Rim
The dimensions for the backboard and rim are uniformed at all levels and leagues. Backboards are 6ft (72”) by 42” high. The backboard’s inner square measures 24” by 18”. Other line-markings are 2” wide. The standard diameter measures 18”.
How to Play Basketball
Basketball is easy if you have a fine grasp of the basics. However, getting the basics of basketball right may not be as easy as you think. To know the rules and basics of the game is to know the game itself. You’ll need to learn shooting, dribbling, defense, passing, and jump stops.
A good way to get acquainted with the essentials of basketball is to learn the skills that will help you sharpen and perfect your basketball skills. These include the following:
The first skill you need is to learn how to handle the ball. In basketball, handling the ball mainly involves a lot of dribbling. Thus, you will need to familiarize yourself with dribbling movements that will help you sharpen your ball handling skills. Some good exercises to help you better your ball-handling are...
- Dribble Tags: This involves dribbling the ball, while the other players avoid getting tagged by a player with the ball.
- Stationary Drills: This involves dribbling the ball in a circular motion around your legs or in between your legs without moving around.
- Tight Chairs: This involves the use of six chairs which are arranged in two rows of three chairs each, which you have to dribble around.
The next most important skill to learn is how to shoot. In basketball, you need to shoot to secure points. The various techniques that can help you become a shooting pro include:
- Air-Ball Drill: In the air-ball drill, there are several players, each with a ball. The trainee then gets in an offensive position, dropping the elbows, jumping and shooting from his/her highest points.
- Box Drill: With this technique, several players flank both sides of the court, but there is only one ball. The players on the right take a jump shot to the backyard, while the players on the left side run to receive the rebound making their own shot. The ball then moves from one player to another on the right side of the court.
Getting the ball to your co-players (passing) is the most important part of playing basketball. A great way to develop your passing skills is to practice overhead passes, chest passes and bounce passes with other players.
Offensive /Defensive Drills
Learning both offensive and defensive skills is a great way to up your basketball playing skills. These drills involve:
- Offensive Drill: This drill involves a struggle with players divided and lined up under each basket. Both teams dribble at full speed to the opposite baskets, and this drill is repeated until all players on the court have done this.
- Defensive Drill: With this type of drill, one defensive and one offensive player stand in between from the ball. The defensive player tries to keep the offensive player from getting the ball.
How to Choose a Basketball
When it comes to choosing the right basketball, two critical factors come to play – location and size.
If you are playing basketball in an indoor or outdoor court, you will need to consider the right basketball type to use for each type of court. Basketballs that work for indoor courts may not be appropriate for outdoor courts. Each court type requires different types of basketball. These are:
Indoor courts are a common sight in most colleges and high schools. The most common type of indoor court is the hardwood court. Hardwood courts are very durable and are made of hard maple, which means this type of court surface is smooth and resistant to splintering.
The best type of basketball for indoor hardwood courts are leather basketballs. This is because leather basketballs are not designed to withstand the wear of outdoor courts.
Another type of basketball that works well with indoor courts is composite leather basketballs. Just like leather basketballs, these are, also, not ideal for outdoor courts as the concrete surface will wear down the texture of the leather.
Outdoor basketball courts are more common with amateur or beginners' basketball. These types of courts are a common sight in community parks and neighborhoods. Most outdoor courts are made of concrete or asphalt. Concrete or asphalt outdoor courts offer more durability and strength than most indoor courts and can withstand extreme weather conditions.
The best types of basketballs for outdoor courts are rubber basketballs. Rubber basketballs are designed to withstand the rough surface of outdoor courts.
Using the wrong basketball size can lead to the development of incorrect playing techniques. This is why it is important to know the right basketball size according to the age of the player. The wrong basketball size can make it hard for players to shoot with the right technique. Experts and professional basketball manufacturers know the right circumference, weight and size of a basketball that would be proportionate to a player’s age and ability. These are:
- Size 7: 29.5”
Weight: 22 oz
This basketball size is perfect for men and boys aged 15 and above. This size is the stipulated size for professional players, high school and college players.
- Size 6; 28.5”
Weight: 20 oz
This basketball size is excellent for boys from ages 12-14, and girls and women from ages 12 and above. This size is the standard for professional players, women’s high school, and college players.
- Size 5: 27.5”
Weight: 17 oz
This is one of the most common sizes on the market. The size 5 basketball is the standard size for boys and girls between the ages 9-11.
- Size 4: 25.5”
Weight: 14 oz
The size 4 basketball is ideal for boys and girls between the ages 5-8.
- Size 3: 22”
Weight: 10 oz
The mini basketball is excellent for boys and girls between the ages 4-8.
- Size 2: 16”
Weight: 8 oz
This basketball size is also known as the “micro-mini” basketball and is ideal for boys and girls between the ages 2-4.
- Nerf Toy 9: 20”
Weight: 1-5 oz
There’s a basket basketball for everyone! The Nerf toy works best for toddlers from the ages 0-4 years old.
The right shoe can make all the difference to your performance. This is why it is important to get proper basketball shoes. You may think just any type of shoes will do when playing basketball, but basketball requires different types of movement, quick breakaways, and footwork that regular running shoes can't handle.
Basketball shoes are designed to offer extra flexibility, stability, durability, support, and shock absorption. Also, basketball shoes are designed to work with your playing style and capabilities. You won't get all these with regular shoes.
Sections of a Basketball Shoe
Basketball shoes can typically be separated into three main sections – the upper, the midsole, and the outsole.
Uppers were usually made of leather, but recently, basketball shoe producers are creating excellent uppers from a wide range of materials to offer varying textures and feel for players.
Soft uppers are often made from light-weight woven materials that offer great speed, agility, comfort and mobility. Hard uppers, on the other hand, are often made from rubber or synthetic materials. These types of uppers offer more durability and support, but may not work well in terms of speed and mobility.
There are also uppers made from synthetic materials which offer a balance between soft and hard uppers, and work for almost any kind of playing style.
The upper section of basketball shoes comes in different heights, so you can choose whatever height works best for you. These heights vary, from high, mid to low heights.
High - High-top basketball shoes are ideal for power players such as forwards and centers, since these types of basketball shoes provide extra comfort, coverage, stability and support for players with this playing style.
Mid – Mid-top basketball shoes provide great ankle support for basketball players with any playing style. This type of shoe also offers coverage, extra flexibility and comfort.
Low – Low-top basketball shoes are great if you want some speed and agility but do not offer excellent ankle support like the mid-top and high-top types.
Uppers also come with varying closure techniques. These help you ensure that your shoes stay secure on your feet throughout the game. For instance, most uppers come with laces, while some feature zippers, hook-and-loop closures, Velcro®, or straps.
The midsole is one of the most important sections of a basketball shoe. It is the part between the upper and outer sole that provides cushioning and shock absorption. This is the part that affects performance the most, because a badly constructed mid-sole will make it challenging for any player to explode off the floor.
You will find that most midsoles are made from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam, compressed EVA foam, polyurethane or a combination of these materials.
While EVA foam and compressed EVA foam mid-soles are more light-weight options, they do not offer much durability and stability.
Polyurethane midsoles, on the other hand, are denser and offer extra durability, but can add unwanted weight to the shoes.
Some midsoles also feature proprietary cushioning technologies in the heel and forefoot. This technology gives extra cushioning without adding weight.
The outsole of a basketball shoe is just as important as the other sections of the shoe. The right outsole will help any player glide around the court without any hassle. The outsole is often made of a synthetic or rubber material. These best outsoles are the wide and flat types; these provide excellent traction and balance. Also, outsoles that come with a herringbone or hexagonal pattern are an excellent choice.
Generally, all basketball shoes are designed for indoor basketball, but some basketball shoes that feature thicker outsoles can be used for outdoor basketball. Learn About - Non Marking Shoes
Basketball is an exciting and fast-paced game, but like any other sport, injuries can occur during game. Although basketball was created as a less injury-prone sport, an estimated 1.6 million injuries occur annually while playing basketball. The most common basketball-related injuries are:
- Ankle Sprains
- Knee Injuries
- Jammed or broken fingers
- Deep Thigh Bruising
- Facial Cuts
- Foot Fractures
However, these injuries can be avoided if the necessary preventative measures are taken. Here are six professional tips to help you avoid injuries while playing basketball.
Get a Physical Examination
One of the major reasons why basketball-related injuries occur all the time is because many players are not aware if they are physically fit enough to play. Basketball may be fun, but, it is also a rigorous game that requires you being in your best form. Getting a physical check-up will help you be aware of any unnoticed health issues and potential weakness which you can treat prior to playing. It is best to assess your physical health before the start of the season.
Wear Appropriate Attire
Your clothing and shoes are more important than you think. For instance, uncomfortable or inappropriate clothing or the wrong shoes can cause your injury rather than prevent it. Make sure that you get the right basketball shoes (running shoes are a big NO) and wear properly fitted and breathable clothing.
Dehydration can significantly affect your performance. It is best to keep your body fluids at an optimal level before and during the game to ensure that you do not tire easily and put yourself at the potential risk of an injury.
Warm-up before a Game
An excellent way to prevent joint injury is to warm up and do muscle stretching exercises before the start of a game. This will help your body respond effectively to the quick movements and nerve reactions that basketball playing entails.
Another great way to prevent injury while playing basketball is to maintain proper fitness. Try out drills and exercises during the off-seasons to help you prepare your body for the basketball season, especially after a period of inactivity. Injury rates are higher in athletes who have been physically inactive for a period.
Take a Break
This is especially easier said than done, but taking some time off from playing can help you keep in shape, and avoid burn-out-outs, and injuries. Overtraining or pressure is one of the most common reasons why many athletes get injured during a game.
Now that you know all you need to about basketball, learning and playing basketball should be a lot easier and more fun.