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Basketball Basic Rules

The basic rules of basketball are easy to follow and learn quickly. After you learn basketball basic rules and fundamentals, you and your friends can start up a pick-up game of 3-on-3 or 5-on-5.

Basketball Basic Rules

The most important aspect of basketball is dribbling. It’s important to master dribbling because so much of the game revolves around it. As you already know, you cannot advance the ball with your own two feet without dribbling.

“Traveling” is basketball’s most basic rule. It follows a pretty simple formula. If you take a step you need to dribble the ball. Anytime you walk without dribbling the ball, you travel. A travel results in a turnover, awarding possession of the ball to the other team.

Once a player receives the ball from a teammate, he or she is free to use his dribble. As soon as you pick up the ball, or discontinue the constant dribble – you cannot start dribbling again.

The player has one of two primary options. Either pass the ball to an open teammate or shoot the ball. When a player dribbles, picks up the dribble, and proceeds to dribble again, the team losses possession of the ball because of a “double dribble.”

Each offensive player is allowed to use a “pivot foot.” By this I mean that when you pick up the dribble or receive a pass and have yet to dribble, you can move one of your feet anywhere you want so long as your other foot, the pivot foot, remains in the same location on the court.

Basketball Basic Rules do little in regard to passing and shooting. Basically you can shoot or pass however you please. Most basketball rules revolve around dribbling and enforcing that aspect, which brings us to fouls.

While there are a number of types of fouls, there are a few simple ones you must follow when first learning the game.


Shooting Foul: The offensive player is allowed the shoot the basketball towards the hoop at any given moment. Because making a basket is rather difficult, the game of basketball enforces several shooting fouls on the defense. The major type of shooting foul whistled by the referee is when the defensive player comes into contact with the offensive player’s shooting hand.

If the defensive player touches the shooting hand or arm (even if it’s minor) he or she will be called for a shooting foul. Shooting fouls allow the offensive player a decent chance of making the shot. If a shooting foul is called, the player automatically goes to the free throw line to shoot two free throws.


Illegal contact: As with shooting, the offensive player is also protected from the defense when it comes to dribbling. The basic theory is if the defensive player does not go for the ball, he or she is charged with a “reaching in” foul. Defensive players may steal the ball from the dribbler at any time; however they must refrain from doing so with major contact on the offensive player’s hand, arm, or any other part of the upper body.

“Reaching in” fouls are usually called when the defensive player reaches in for the ball, preventing or delaying forward motion of the offensive player. Generally you want to steal the ball when it’s being dribbled away from the body and not close to it, because it reduces the chance of your hand or arm coming into contact with the offensive player’s body.


Over the Back: Rebounding is critical in the game of basketball. In order to rebound well, team’s must “box out.” Box out entitles the rebounder keeping the opponent on his or her back side while he or she pushes the opponent away from the hoop with the back. Over the back fouls are often called because the opponent boxed out well.

The reason? If you are being boxed out and prevented from going forward with your lower body, the natural reaction is to reach over the back with your upper body and arms. You cannot reach over an opponent’s back to get a rebound. The rule was instated to prevent taller players from merely grabbing the ball over shorter opponents.


Other basketball basic rules…

3 Seconds in the Key: An offensive player cannot stand inside the paint or key for more than 3 seconds at any given time. Originally this rule was not enforced, allowing extremely tall players to just stand under the hoop and receive passes for easy buckets. 3 Seconds in the Key is a defensive rule that gives smaller team’s a shot of winning.

Shot Clock: High school and pick-up games do not utilize a shot clock, but college and professional leagues do. A shot clock is a predetermined amount of time the offensive has to shoot the ball before they are called for a shot clock violation.

The ball must hit the rim to reset the shot clock. Every time the possession of the ball changes, the shot clock resets. Shot clocks are enforced to prevent offenses from holding onto and delaying the game especially when they have the lead late.

Submitted by Anonymous

over the back

Over the back is explained incorrectly here. A player that is boxed out can jump over the top of the player boxing them out as long as there is no contact.



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