Basketball fundamentals for players and coaches- Gain an understanding of essential concepts, facts and rules of basketball

If you are a new player or a coach looking for all the basics of basketball in an assembled form in one place, then your search is finished. Below we have mentioned each and every detail starting from basics to rules, court setup and positions of players. Being a coach you must learn these basketball fundamentals first before you teach them to your team.  Beginners can also read the article below to be able to develop their game and take it to a whole new level.

So, let’s get started. Before we speak of rules and concepts, let’s discuss the basketball court layout first.

Court layout

Court – Basketball is played on a rectangular ground which is known as a basketball court.

Mid court line – This line divides the court into two main sections.

Hoop – Each section has a hoop at one end which is 10 feet raised from the ground.

Basket – Each team is provided with a basket or in other words, a goal is assigned to both teams to defend. The basket of the opposing team is thus the scoring basket. Players perform passing or dribbling actions to move the ball in the court and towards the basket.

Team pattern

Basketball is a game between two teams. Players are categorized into two opposing teams that play to win.

Player’s number – Each team consists of five players in it.

Offense – The term offense is used for the team having the ball. Offensive players head towards the opponent’s end to score.

Defense – the term defense is used for the team without the ball.

The defense is further of two main types i.e. man – to –man and zone defense. Defensive players are meant to oppose shots, steal the ball and get the ball after a missed shot.

Player’s placement/position

Guard – These players are responsible to drive the ball down the court. Players of a team with great dribbling and passing skills and that are remarkably good at seeing the court are placed in this position.

Defensive guards are in charge of stopping shots, taking the ball from the offense and hindering the way of ball to hoop.


Offensive guards are responsible for executing passing & dribbling actions and setting up offensive plays.

In addition, they should also know how to drive ball to basket and how to shoot from the perimeter.

Center – These are the players that are placed near the basket. They are usually the tallest players among a team.

While playing defense, the job of Centers is to prevent passes near the basket and blocking shots. Since they are taller they must garner rebounds.

Whereas offensive centers are responsible to pass and shoot the ball. They open way for the players to drive the ball to the basket by stopping defenders. Players good at screening are placed in this category.

Forward – Forwards are the players that are needed to play in corner and wing areas. They are the ones that play under the hoop.

When playing defense, it is the duty of forwards to keep ball drive to the basket. Rebounding is also their responsibility.

 Offensive forwards– their job is to catch outside shots, play rebounds and drive ball to the goal.

Basketball game clock

There are two halves of each game. These halves have a gap of some minutes. When the game is tied due to same points, game continues. This period is of varying length and the game is played until a team turns up to be the winner.

  • Time period of halves might differ but the number of halves is same as that is two. For example, at college level one half is of twenty minutes.
  • If we talk about high school and below level, then their each halve is split up into eight minute quarters.

Basic Rules and regulations

We have discussed information regarding basketball court and basketball team. Now, we will explore and summarize the rules of basketball game.

Tip-off: Ball is tossed upward between the two teams by the referee. The first player to get his hand on the ball tip it to one of his teammate which is termed as tip-off.

  • When the team playing offense puts the ball beyond mid court line, they only have 10 seconds to bring the ball over the mid court line.

In case they fail to bring ball in 10 seconds, then the defense gains the ball.

  • After getting the ball over the mid court line, offensive players no longer owns the possession of the ball on the floor behind that line.

In case they try to have the possession, the ball is granted to the defense.

Basketball scoring

  • A team scores two points when they make it to the basket after which the opposing team gains the possession.
  • The team scores three points if the basket/ goal is made exterior to the three-point arc.
  • Whereas a free throw deserves three points. A team is granted free throws depending upon the type of foul performed and a number of fouls done in a half.
  • Two or three free throws are granted to the shooter if he is fouled while shooting. The position of the shooter is kept in mind before awarding him. He will get three free throws if he was behind the three- point line.
  • For other types of fouls, there is a limit. Free throws are awarded when the limit is reached. These are termed as team fouls. On reaching the limit, the player who was fouled is granted 1 and 1 chance. He will be able to attempt a second throw if he makes the first throw.


When a foul is committed or any rule is violated, the ball is awarded to the opposing team. One such foul is personal foul.

Personal foul – It includes illicit physical contact such as holding, pushing, slapping and hitting. Penalties of personal fouls include

  • If a shooter is fouled and his shot goes in then he will be awarded one free throw. However, if the ball doesn’t go in he will get two free throws.
  • When the number of fouls becomes seven or more, then the player being fouled gets one free throw. If he is able to make his first shot, then he gets another free throw.
  • When the number of fouls becomes ten or more, then the player being fouled gets two free throws.

Intentional foul – when there is no visible effort to steal the ball and the only intention is to make physical contact with the opposing player.

Other fouls committed in basketball are blocking, charging and a technical foul.

Final words

Now you have got an understanding of the basics of basketball game. All the above written facts and concepts will help you develop your game. Being a coach you can use it to train your team in a better way.