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Basketball Rules

Basketball Rules

Basketball is a fast-paced sport, so if you want to succeed, you must have a firm grasp of the rules.
Although pickup games can have any number of players, an organized, standard basketball game has five players from each team on the court at one time.  A team consists of two guards, two forwards, and a center.  Each position has important responsibilities, but it’s the center who is the team’s anchor.
Typically, the center plays near the baseline or close to the basket (the "low post").  The center is usually the tallest player on the floor – height is needed to reach the ten-foot hoop.  He or she usually scores near the baseline ("down low") or "in the paint."  The paint is the area inside the lines from the baseline to the free throw line.  Usually it is painted to distinguish it from the rest of the floor.  Any offensive player can stay inside the paint for three seconds.  If he or she violates the three second rule, the ball is turned over to the other team.  A turnover is any loss of the ball without a shot being taken.
Because they play near the basket, centers get a lot of rebounds.  A rebound is when a player controls possession of the ball after a missed shot.  If the ball is controlled by a member of the shooting team, it’s an offensive rebound.  If it’s controlled by a defender, it’s called a defensive rebound.
Turnovers can be a game-killer for a basketball team, and there are many ways to turn the ball over.  If the player with the ball steps without dribbling, he or she is called for walking or traveling.  A player may hold the ball without dribbling, moving, passing, or shooting for a maximum of three seconds.  Any longer and it’s a turnover.  If the player with the ball steps out of bounds or throws a pass out of bounds, that’s a turnover, too.
Sometimes players commit more serious violations called personal fouls.  This involves one player illegally touching or blocking another player’s body.  The penalty for a personal foul is a free throw – or foul shot – for the player who was fouled.  He or she will take a foul shot from the free throw line which is 15 feet from the basket.
Knowing the details of the rules will help you be a smarter – and better – basketball player.

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