Basketball rules are quite straight forward and easy to understand. Having said that sometimes the rules of basketball can vary depending on the level of play.

It is always better to know the rules of the game before you actually play the game.

The main object is to win the game, and to do so a team needs to score more points than their opponents.

However, to do so isn’t that straightforward. Like all games, basketball too has rules.

Lets get into the basketball rules.

Basketball Rules:

  • The area of play is called a court. It is rectangular in shape and is divided into two halves at the centre called the mid line. At each end of the court, a hoop is present.
Layout of Basketball Court
  • Each time can have only 5 players on the court at a given time. Substitutes can be made how many ever times. That’s on the discretion of the team
  • The ball can be moved around the court either by dribbling it or passing it. Once a player has placed both his hands on the ball, he either must pass or shoot. This obviously doesn’t apply if he/she has used his/her hands to catch the ball
  • After the ball goes into a partiucluar team’s half, after winning possession of the ball back, the ball must make it over the half way line within 10 seconds. If the ball fails to, a foul will be called
  • The team trying to score the basket is called the offensive team, while the team trying to prevent the ball from being scored is the defensive team.
  • After every successful basket, the ball is given to the opposition.
  • Fouls that are made throughout the game are accumulated. When reached a certain number, a free throw will be awarded. Depending the where the foul was committed, the player will get a number of free throws
Basketball rules- Points System
  • Depending on where the basket was made, a player is awarded by either 2 or 3 points.
  • A successful free throw results result in 1 point.
  • Fouling a shooter ends up in the shooter getting 2-3 free throws. This depends on where the shooter was shooting from. If it was beyond the 3 point mark, he will get awarded 3 free throws
Basketball rules- Ofensive play
  • The player must dribble the ball with one hand while running/moving with both feet.
  • Once the player stops dribbling, he can’t start again. He must pass or shoot the ball. A player who dribbles again gets fouled as it results in a double dribble. The only time the same player can dribble again is when a player from his or the opposite team gains control of the ball.
  • If the offensive team looses control of the ball and it goes out of the bound, the defensive team gains control of the ball.
  • Dribbling the ball should be done on top of the ball and not below. If the player dibbles the ball from the bottom, he looses the ball and it goes to the other team.
  • Once the defensive teams crosses the half court mark, they aren’t allowed to go back into the backcourt. Furthermore, this is called backcourt violation.
Basketball rules- Defensive play
  • The most important rule for the defensive team is to not commit a foul.
  • This mainly includes trying to gain unfair advantage by physical contact with the opposing team.
Basketball rules- Other important rules
  • At no point of the game, can any player use his legs or fist to pass the ball.
  • No player is allowed to touch the ball while it’s moving down into the basket or even if it’s on the rim of the basket. This results in what’s known as goaltending.
  • All the rules apply to all the players regardless of their position. A foul can be called to any player if he breaks the rules.


These are the basic basketball rules one must know before starting to play. There are more detailed rules to learn, but once these are rules are understood, it is advisable to learn those.

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