Basic Basketball rules

There are many basic basketball rules that all players should know before stepping out onto the court. In this blog post, we will outline the most common rules and explain what they mean for you as a player.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, it’s important to be aware of all the rules of the game. So without further ado, let’s get started!

What are the Rules of Basketball?

The basic rules of basketball are simple and easy to understand. However, there are many different variations of the game that can be played, so it’s important to know which rules apply to which situation. Here are the most common basic rules of basketball:

Basic Basketball rules

Five Players per Team on the Court

Each team is allowed to have a maximum of five players on the court at any given time. If a team has more than five players on the court, they will be assessed a penalty.

If one of the players on the court commits a foul, that player will be required to leave the game and remain on the bench until the next dead ball. In some cases, if a player commits multiple fouls, they may be ejected from the game entirely.

Outscore your Opponent for a Win

The objective of the game is to outscore your opponent. This can be done by shooting the ball through the basket, making free throws, or adding points for other offensive plays. The team with the most points at the end of the game will be declared the winner.

If the score is tied at the end of regulation time, there will be overtime periods until one team has a higher score than the other.

Dribble the Ball to Advance it

The ball can be moved up the court by dribbling, which is when a player bounces the ball on the ground while they are moving. A player can only take one dribble before they must either pass the ball or shoot it. If a player takes more than one dribble, they will be called for a violation and will lose possession of the ball.

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A player can also advance the ball by passing it to another player on their team. The pass must be made within five seconds of receiving the ball, or else it will be considered a turnover.

Players can also move around the court without dribbling or passing the ball. They are allowed to walk or run, but cannot stop and start again without first picking up their dribble.

Ball and Ballhandler Must Remain within Court Lines

The ball and the player handling the ball must always remain within the boundaries of the court. If either one goes out of bounds, their team will lose possession of the ball.

If a player goes out of bounds while they are shooting the ball, their shot will not count, even if it was made before they went out of bounds. This is called an airball.

Offense cannot Pass Back to the Defense

Once the offensive team has advanced the ball into the frontcourt, they cannot pass it back to their defensive players, behind the halfway line. This is called a backcourt violation and will result in a turnover.

The frontcourt is the half of the court that includes the basket that the offense is shooting at. The backcourt is the half of the court that includes the basket that the defense is trying to protect.

Eyes on the Shot Clock!

Each team is given a certain amount of time to score before the shot clock expires. If the team does not shoot the ball within that time, they will lose possession of the ball. The shot clock typically starts at 24 seconds but can be different in some leagues or competitions.

If a team scores, the shot clock will reset and they will have 24 seconds to score again. However, if the other team gains possession of the ball before the shot clock expires, they will also have 24 seconds to score.

Five Seconds to Inbound the Ball

After a team scores, the ball must be passed inbounds within five seconds. If the team fails to do so, they will lose possession of the ball.

An inbound is when the ball is passed from one player to another on the same team. The player who is passing the ball is called the inbounder and must be behind the half-court line when they make the pass.

The receiver of the pass must be inside of or behind the three-point line when they catch it. If they are not, it will be considered a violation, and their team will lose possession of the ball.

Blocking or Stealing the Ball

Players on the defensive team are allowed to block or steal the ball from the offensive team. A block is when a defender tries to stop the ball from going through the basket by hitting it with their hand. A steal is when a defender takes the ball away from an offensive player who is not dribbling or passing it.

Blocks and steals can be used to help prevent the other team from scoring, or to gain possession of the ball for your team.

If a player commits a foul while trying to block or steal the ball, they may be given a warning, or they may be ejected from the game entirely.

Cannot Block a Shot on Descent

A player cannot block a shot that is on its way down toward the basket. If they do, it will be considered goaltending and the shot will count, even if it was not made.

Goaltending is when a defensive player interferes with a shot while it is on its way down to the basket. This can be done by blocking the shot, touching the ball before it goes in the basket, or grabbing the rim of the basket.

If a player goaltends, their team will lose possession of the ball and their opponent will be given two free throws. Free throws are worth one point each and are taken from behind the free-throw line, which is 15 feet from the basket.

Basic Basketball rules

Leave the Paint in Three Seconds!

When on defense, each player is allowed to stay in the paint for three seconds. The paint is the area inside of the foul line and extends to the end of the court. If a defensive player stays in the paint for longer than three seconds, they will be called for a three-second violation.

This rule is in place to prevent players from camping out under the basket and making it difficult for offensive players to score. If a team commits a three-second violation, their opponent will be given one free throw.

Illegal Contact result into Personal Fouls

Players are not allowed to make contact with each other while the ball is in play. This includes grabbing, holding, pushing, or hitting another player. If a player does make contact with another player, it will be considered a personal foul.

Personal fouls can be called on both offensive and defensive players. If an offensive player commits a personal foul, their team will lose possession of the ball.

If a defensive player commits a personal foul, the offensive team will be given one or two free throws depending on where they were when they were fouled.

In some cases, a personal foul can also result in ejection from the game. This usually happens if the player makes contact with another player in a way that is deemed dangerous or unsportsmanlike.

Excessive Contact result into Flagrant Fouls

A flagrant foul is a personal foul that is considered to be excessive or unnecessary. This can include hitting, kicking, or punching another player. Flagrant fouls often result in the ejection of the player who committed them.

In some cases, a flagrant foul can also result in the suspension of the player. This usually happens if the player has committed multiple flagrant fouls during a game or season, or if their actions are deemed to be especially dangerous.

Charges & Illegal Screens

A charge is when an offensive player runs into a defensive player who has established a position. This is considered a personal foul on the offensive player.

An illegal screen is when an offensive player sets a screen (a block) on a defender that is not moving. This is also considered a personal foul on the offensive player.

Charges and illegal screens are both personal fouls that will result in the offensive team losing possession of the ball.

Other Rule Violations resulting in Technical Fouls

There are a few other violations that can result in a technical foul. These include:

  • Dribbling the ball with your knees
  • Hanging on the rim of the basket
  • Using profanity
  • Arguing with the referee

Technical fouls are typically given to players who commit minor rule violations. They are also given to players who show poor sportsmanship or argue with the referees.

A technical foul results in one free throw for the opposing team. In some cases, a player may be ejected from the game after receiving two technical fouls.

All Teams are Allowed a Certain Number of Fouls

Each team is allowed a certain number of fouls before they are disqualified from the game. This number varies depending on the league or competition but is typically five per quarter.

A foul is when a player commits an illegal action while the ball is in play. Some common fouls include:

  • Hitting another player
  • Blocking or stealing the ball from another player
  • Grabbing or holding another player
  • Pushing or shoving another player

If a team reaches its limit of fouls, their opponent will be given free throws for each subsequent foul that is committed. In some cases, the opposing team may also be given possession of the ball.

Basic Basketball rules


These are just a few of the basic basketball rules that you need to know to play the game. Of course, many more specific rules apply to different situations. However, knowing these basic rules will give you a good foundation on which to build your knowledge of basketball. Thanks for reading! We hope this was helpful.

Do you have any questions about the basic rules of basketball? Let us know in the comments below!

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