OBJECTIVE OF BASKETBALL: Score the most points by shooting the ball through the hoop on the opposite side of the court.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 10 players, 5 on each team

MATERIALS: 1 ball, 2 hoops




Basketball is fast-paced, exciting, and competitive. Players must dribble the ball across the court and shoot from behind the 3-point line or close up to score 2 points. Seems simple enough, right? There are quite a few rules to basketball, so let’s dive in before you get yourself benched for the season!



A standard basketball court is about 91 feet long and 49 feet wide with a 10-foot high basketball hoop on each end. There are lines marking half-court, the sidelines, end lines, and free throw lines. There is also a large arc on each side marking the 3-point line.


A basketball team is comprised of at least 5 players plus substitutes, as only 5 players are allowed on the court from each team at any given time. All 5 players play a hybrid of defense and offense as the ball is turned over quite often in basketball.

Point Guard

Often described as the offensive leader. This is the team’s fastest player and best dribbler. Their main objective is to steal the ball from the opposing team and run the ball to the scoring end of the court.

Shooting Guard

This is the team’s best shooter. They are passed the ball often and excel at making 3-pointers and long shots.

Small Forward

Small forwards go where they are needed. They move around the court and are extremely versatile by nature. Small forwards are aggressive scorers and should be good at 3-pointers as well as layups and dunks.

Power Forward

Power forwards play close to the hoop but also step back and take longer shots. The power forward is a hybrid position for a powerful player that can catch rebounds and pass/shoot well.


The center is the defensive tank. They play close to the hoop. The center is oftentimes the tallest player who is able to block shots and collect rebounds.


A basketball game is split into four 12-minute quarters. However, the clock is stopped for time-outs, fouls, halftime, and other reasons.

Game Start

The game starts in the middle of the court with one player on each team in the center circle with the referee in between them. The referee throws the basketball into the air and both players jump up to gain possession of the ball. The team that gains possessions starts with the ball in the 4th quarter as well, while the losing team starts with the ball in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.


In basketball, the ball is advanced down the court by dribbling (or bouncing) the ball with one hand. If a player stops dribbling, they must either shoot the ball or pass it to another teammate. The ball cannot be carried in any circumstance and the ball must be dribbled from the top of the ball.


A basketball court is divided into 2 halves. When a team advances with the ball past the half-court line, they are unable to pass or dribble the ball back across this line. Doing so will result in a backcourt violation and the opposing team will gain possession of the ball.

The opposing team also gains control if a team knocks the ball out of bounds on the sidelines or end lines.


One of the most exciting parts of basketball is the various ways of shooting baskets. Players can dunk, jump shot, layup, hook shot, throw 3-pointers, or even go for half-court shots.

Making a basket from behind the 3-point line will land your team 3 points, while a shot within the 3-point line will give your team 2 points.

Shot clock

To keep the game fast-paced, a team is only allowed possession of the ball for 24 seconds before they must make a shot. If they fail to make a shot within this limit, the ball is turned over to the opposing team and the shot clock resets.


Defenders are allowed to block shots or guard players to prevent them from passing or shooting the ball, and they can even steal the ball. However, there are some limits to what defenders are able to do.


If the ball has been shot at the basket and is on a downwards trajectory towards the rim, a defender is not allowed to interfere with it. Doing so will result in the offensive team automatically getting those points.


Fouls include aggressive behavior, intentional contact, taunting, illegal screening, and more. If one player fouls 6 times in a single game, they foul out of the game and can no longer play.

Free throws

If a ball handler is fouled while shooting a basket, they are given 2 or 3 free throws depending on if they were going for a 2 or 3 pointer.

1 free throw is given to a team if the opposing team commits 5 fouls in a single quarter.

If a referee deems that a foul is excessively aggressive or flagrant, the fouled player is given a free throw.


A basketball game ends after four 12-minute quarters. At the end of the game, the team with the highest score wins. If the score is tied at the end of the game, the game goes into overtime. An overtime period in basketball is 5 minutes long and each period starts with a jump ball, exactly like the start of the game.

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