A Beginner's Guide to the Basic Rules and Positions of Basketball

Basic Rules and Positions of Basketball
Basketball is an extremely popular sport and one of the most widely viewed in the world. This game is loaded with energy and excitement. Read on to know more...
Basketball is a team sport and fun-filled and enthusiastic recreational activity. This sport can be played indoors or outdoors, such as water basketball or beach basketball. The history of basketball reveals that this sport was invented in 1891, by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian physical education student and an instructor at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, USA. Within a short span of time, the game gained popularity and was being played all over the world. Czechoslovakia, Argentina, Latvia, Greece, Italy, Romania, Portugal and Switzerland together established the International Basketball Federation in 1932. Basketball was introduced to the Olympics, in 1936.
Basketball is played between two teams, with five players on each team. A standard basketball court is a rectangular, wooden surface that measures 28 x 15 meters, with two baskets at the opposite ends. It is played in four quarters of 10-12 minutes. The main idea of the game is to throw the ball into the basketball hoop of the opponent and score points.
A ball and two hoops perched at the height of about 10 feet are the main basketball equipment. Originally, basketball was played using a soccer ball. Tony Hinkle introduced the easily visible, orange colored ball in the late 1950s. Even today, orange colored ball is used for playing. The ball is made from 8 panels of leather and weighs about 600-650 grams. Each team has their own uniforms. Generally, basketball players wear loose and comfortable shirts, team jerseys, shorts, socks and shoes. Following is all necessary information about the game.
Basic Rules and Regulations
The Technical Commission of the International Basketball Federation has specified the international rules about how to play basketball. This game is a team sport, in which each team of five players tries to score by shooting a ball through a hoop. Generally, a shot made from the position within the three point line is worth 2 points; while a shot from outside the three point line gives three points. A free throw is worth a single point. The team that scores the highest points is declared as the winner. The key skills in basketball are shooting, passing, dribbling, jump stops, lay ups, pivoting, jab steps, screening, cutting, defense and rebounding.
The game of basketball consists of offense and defense. When any player of the team possesses the ball, then all the players from that team are on the offense. That team has to score points by shooting the ball into the opponent's basket. When the ball is with the opponent team, then all the team members in the first team are on the defense. Then, these team members have to prevent the offensive team from shooting the ball into their basket and try to take the ball away from them.
Rules for the Offense: The player must bounce the ball using one hand, while moving both feet. If the player touches the ball with two hands or stops dribbling, then movement of only one leg is allowed. The foot that is not moving is known as the pivot foot. The player is allowed to take only one turn at dribbling. That means; once the player stops dribbling, another dribbling can't be started. Restarting the dribbling is referred to as a 'double-dribbling violation'. If so, the ball goes to the opponent team. The players should touch only the top of the ball while dribbling. If the player touches the bottom and continues to dribble, then it is known as 'carrying the ball'. In such a situation, the ball is handed over to the opponent team. No player can kick or hit the ball with the fist.
The players in the offensive team should keep the ball in bounds. If they fail to do so, then the opponents get control of the ball. If the players in the offensive team cross half court, then they are not allowed to return to the backcourt. This is referred to as 'a backcourt violation'. If the defense team knocks the ball into the backcourt, then the opponents legally get control of the ball.
Rules for the Defense: Major rule for the defensive team is not to foul. The defensive players should strictly avoid any physical contact with the opponents. They should not push, hold, shoulder or strike the opponent in any way. The first violation of this rule is known as a foul. In case of second violation, the player is disqualified till the next goal is scored. If noticed that the defense player has an intention to injure his opponent, then that player is suspended from the game. In such a case, a substitute is not allowed.
Fouls: A foul is any illegal action committed by a player, of either team. Any physical contact with other players is strictly prohibited in the game of basketball. If any player attempts to hit, push, slap or hold another player, then it is considered as a foul. It results in one or more free throws awarded to the opponents. If any player has committed six fouls, then that player is eliminated from the game.
Violations: When the player breaks the rules of basketball or acts against the rules, then it is referred to as violation. Violations are of different types such as walking/traveling, carrying/palming, double dribble, goaltending and backcourt violation. When the player takes more than 2 steps without bouncing the ball, then it is known as traveling/walking. When the player stops dribbling once and restarts dribbling, or bounces the ball using two hands at once, then it is called a double dribble. When any kind of violation occurs, the ball is passed on to the opponent team.
The 5 Positions
There are no specific rules regarding the positions in basketball. During the first five decades after the invention of basketball, the positions were like this: one guard - two centers and two forwards, or two guards - one center and two forwards. Since the 1980s, more specific basketball positions have been developed, such as point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center.
Center: The tallest players are at the center. They are positioned near the basket. The center player from the offensive team passes and shoots the ball. He/she also stops the defenders and facilitates other players from his team to score a goal. The center player in the defensive team prevents the opponents from shooting the ball.
Point guard: The fastest player in the team takes charge of the team's offense by controlling the ball. He/she makes sure that the ball goes to the right player at the right time.
Shooting guard: Shooting guard is responsible for the shots on offense. He/she also guards the best perimeter player of the opponent team on defense.
Power forward: The player at this position plays offensively with his back to the basket. The player from the defensive team is below the basket or against the opposing power forward.
Small forward: The player at small forward is mainly responsible for scoring points via dribble penetration and cuts to the basket. The player from the defensive team tries to prevent the drives to the goal.
Basketball is a wonderful game that boosts energy and enhances stamina. It helps increase the strength of bones and muscles as well as improves physical fitness and overall health. Enjoy this exciting game but while playing, keep in mind the basic rules of basketball.