Basketball Basics for New Players and Coaches — Learn the Basic Rules, Concepts, Court Layout, and Player Positions

Basketball Basics for New Players and Coaches -- Learn the Basic Rules, Concepts, Court Layout, and Player Positions

Thankfully, basketball regulations are simple enough. When younger players join the field, these rules might be quickly forgotten, so keep that in mind if you’re teaching them. Other excellent examples include the three-second law (which will be covered later in this essay). However, you must first understand the rules to impart them to your team. As a result, please continue reading to learn all the basketball rules so you can instruct your players and aid in their growth during the season.

 The Rules

A team sport is basketball. To score, two teams of five players each attempt to put the ball through a hoop that is 10 feet off the ground. The court where the game is played is a rectangular surface with rings at each end. The mid-court line divides the court into two primary halves.

The offensive team has ten seconds to move the ball across the mid-court line if it places the ball in play behind the bar. If not, the defence has the ball. Once it crosses the midcourt line, the offensive team can no longer control the ball in the space behind the midcourt line. If it does, the ball goes to the defence. Passing or dribbling is used to advance the ball down the court toward the basket. The offensive team is the one holding the ball. The reason is that the team needs the ball. The defence tries to intercept passes, block shots, challenge shoots, and deflect balls.

The Rules


A team scores two points when they make a basket, and the ball then goes to the other team. A field goal or basket made outside the three-point line is worth three points. The value of a free throw is one point. Some formats consider the number of fouls committed to half, and the type of foul committed determines how many free throws a team receives. A fouled shooter always receives two or three free throws depending on where he was when he shot. If he was outside the arc, he is entitled to three shots.

 Other fouls do not result in free throws being awarded until a certain number have accumulated during a half (called “team fouls”).

The fouled player is given a “1-and-1” opportunity when that amount is achieved. He gets to make a second try if his initial free throw is successful. If he misses the first shot, the ball is still alive on the rebound.

Game Clock

Game Clock

All levels include two halves, and each game is separated into portions. Each half lasts twenty minutes in college. The halves are broken into eight (and occasionally six) minute quarters at high school and lower. Quarters last twelve minutes in the pros. The time between each half is several minutes. The intervals between quarters are generally brief.

If the score is tied at the end of regulation, then overtime periods of various lengths are played until a winner emerges.

Basket Assignment and Tip-Off

Each team is also given a goal or basket to defend. This indicates that their scoring basket is the other basket. The sides traded goals at the half.

The game begins with one player from either team at the centre court.

A referee will toss the ball up between the two. The player that gets his hands on the ball will tip it to a teammate. This is called a tip-off.

Fouls and Violations

A team can obtain the ball in other ways except by taking it from an opponent’s player. One way is if the opposing side makes a mistake or violates the rules.


Personal fouls: Personal fouls include any illegal physical contact.

  • Hitting
  • Pushing
  • Slapping
  • Holding
  • Illegal pick/screen — when an offensive player is moving. When an offensive player sticks out a limb and makes physical contact with a defender to block the defender’s path.

Personal foul penalties If a player is fouled while shooting, he will receive two free throws if his attempt is unsuccessful but just one free throw if it is successful.

  • o If a player is fouled while attempting a three-point shot and their shot is unsuccessful, they are given three free throws. A player receives one free throw if he is fouled while attempting a three-point shot and succeeds regardless. He may thus convert the play for four points.
  • o Inbounds. If a foul is committed while not shooting, the team that the foul was committed against receives the ball. They are out of bounds when they receive the ball at the nearest sideline or baseline and have five seconds to pass it onto the court.
  • One and one. The fouled player receives one free throw if the team committing the foul has seven or more fouls in the contest. He gets another free throw if his initial attempt is successful.
  • Ten or more infractions. The fouled player is awarded two free throws if the team that committed the foul has ten or more fouls.

Charging. A player pushing or running over a defensive player commits an offensive foul. The team on which the foul was committed receives the ball.

Blocking. Blocking occurs when a defender fails to take up a position in time to stop an opponent from driving to the basket, resulting in unlawful personal contact.

Flagrant foul. Violent interaction with a foe. Punching, kicking, and hitting are all included in this. The offence keeps control of the ball after the free throws are made, in addition to receiving free throws for this foul.

Intentional foul. When a player bumps into another player without attempting to take the ball, the decision-making rests with the authorities.

Technical foul. Technical error. A player or a coach can commit this foul. It is more concerned with the game’s manners than with player contact or the ball. Technical elements like incorrectly filling out the scorebook or dunking during warm-ups can be called technical fouls, as can foul language, profanity, obscene gestures, and even argument.


You are walking/Traveling. Travelling takes more than “a step and a half” without dribbling the ball. When you stop dribbling, you are travelling with your pivot foot.

They were carrying/palming when a player dribbled the ball too far to the side or occasionally even under the ball with his hand.

Double Dribble. A double dribble is when you dribble simultaneously with both hands on the ball or pick up the dribble and start dribbling again.

Held ball. On occasion, the ball will be in the possession of two or more opponents simultaneously. The referee halts play and alternately awards the ball to each team to prevent a protracted or violent battle.

Goaltending. It is goaltending, and the shot counts if a defensive player blocks a try as it is moving toward the basket, as it is moving toward the basket after touching the backboard, or as it is in the cylinder above the rim. When an offensive player violates the rules, the other side receives the ball for a throw-in.

Backcourt violation. The offence is not permitted to cross the mid-court line again while in possession once they have brought the ball across it. If they do, the other team receives the ball to pass inbounds.

Time restrictions. A player who is inbounding the ball gets five seconds to pass it. If not, the opposing team receives possession of the ball. A player cannot possess the ball for longer than five seconds when being tightly guarded, and in some states and levels, shot-clock rules that mandate that a team attempt a shot within a certain amount of time are in place.

Player Positions

player positions in basketball

Center. Your tallest players are typically your centres. They usually stand close to the basket.

Offensive — The centre aims to find an opening for a pass or a shot. They also choose or screen defenders to make room for other players to drive to the basket and score. Centres can anticipate a few offensive put-backs and rebounds.

Defensive — The centre’s primary defensive duty is to stop shots and passes in the crucial area from being made by the opposition. Because they are taller, it is believed that they will also get many rebounds.

Forward. Your forwards will likely be your following tallest players. A forward may be asked to play under the basket, but they may also be asked to work on the corners and wings.

Offensive — Getting open for a pass, taking outside shots, pursuing goals, and rebounding are all forward responsibilities.

Defensive — Preventing drives to the basket and rebounding are responsibilities.

Guard. These players may be among your shortest. Therefore, they should be excellent at passing, seeing the court, and dribbling quickly. They are responsible for moving the ball down the court to initiate offensive plays.

Offensive — A guard’s duties include dribbling, passing, and setting up attacking plays. In addition, they must be able to shoot outside the arc and drive to the basket.

Defensive — A guard’s duties include intercepting passes, blocking shots, stopping drives to the basket, and boxing out.

Where Should New Coaches Start?

Now that you are aware of the fundamentals, the best course of action is to help players hone their talents through organized drills and practices.

Our FREE 72 Winning Youth Drills and Plays resource is designed for coaches like you to help in:

  • Understanding the proper technique for the most critical skills like shooting, passing and dribbling
  • Teaching players these skills using easy-to-follow drills
  • Giving players structure with simple plays designed for youth athletes

It even includes pictures and detailed instructions to guide your players’ growth while having fun.

Even if you have little to no prior teaching or basketball expertise.


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