HomeSportsBasketballComplete Guide on How to Play Basketball for Beginners
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Complete Guide on How to Play Basketball for Beginners

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Basketball is one of the most popular games played and watched throughout the world. It is a physical game that demands fitness and shape. This makes the sport both challenging and fun at the same time. If you are a newbie in the game looking for the right direction to go to, you are at the right place. Here’s a complete guide on how to play Basketball for beginners. So, without wasting any more time, let’s get started.

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Basics of the Game

Before starting to play the game, it is important to know about its rules. Basketball is a 2 team game with 5 players of each team playing on a court at a time. The team having possession of the ball is called the offence and the other team is termed as the defence. It is played on a rectangular court with a hoop and ring system, known as the basket, set up 10 ft above the ground on each end of the court. The ultimate objective of each team is to put the ball in the basket and score more than the opponent team in the given time.

Basketball court | Kreedon
Top view of a basketball court

A team is awarded 3 points for scoring the basket from outside the 3 point arc and 2 points for scoring from inside the arc. In the case of free-throws, only 1 point is awarded per basket. Free throws are awarded in special scenarios where fouls are involved. Before we get into different player positions in basketball, here are some basics of fouls and violation rules of the game that one needs to keep in mind while playing.

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Basketball Fouls and Violations

Fouls and violations are the only reason apart from the ball going out of bounds for change of possession of the ball in a running game.

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How to play basketball for beginners, credits:


  • Personal Fouls

Hitting, pushing, slapping, holding, reaching (sticking out a limb to block the path of an offensive player) or any other illegal physical contact.

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  • Offensive Foul

When an offensive team player runs over or pushes a defender who has established his defensive position.

  • Blocking Foul

When a defender has not established his position while blocking a player’s drive to the basket.

  • Flagrant Foul

Hitting, kicking, punching or any other violent physical contact with the opposite player.

  • Intentional Foul

Intentional physical contact without enough effort to steal the ball.

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  • Technical Foul

Foul Language, obscenity, obscene gestures or any other unsportsmanlike conduct. Even misbehavior with the referee or audience can lead to techs.


  • Travel

Taking more than 2 steps while in motion or lifting the pivot foot from a stationary position with the ball is counted under travel violation.

  • Carry

Palming the ball or taking a hand too far to the side is termed jas carrying violation.

  • Double Dribble

Dribbling the ball with both hands or dribbling it again after once stopping the dribble.

  • Held Ball

If multiple opposition players gain possession of the ball at the same time, it makes for a held ball.

  • Backcourt

If the offensive team the ball back to the defending court, it is called a backcourt violation.

  • Time Restrictions

    1. The 3-second rule: A player can be in opposite team’s restricted area for a maximum of 3 seconds.
    2. The 5-second rule: A player has 5 seconds to inbound the ball in the court.
    3. The 8-second rule: Offensive side has 8 sec to move the ball to the opposite court.
    4. The 24-second rule: The offensive team has 24 seconds to attempt a shot and the ball is supposed to touch the rim.

Now that we know all the basic rules and regulations of the game, let’s get into different positions in basketball and corresponding skills that are required at that position.

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Positions in Basketball

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Positions on the court

Point Guard

The point guard is also known as ‘floor general’ or ‘coach on the court’. They are responsible for directing other players on the offensive end orchestrating a play like an orchestra conductor. He is generally the best ball handler in the team and also has the best court vision and decision making in the team.

Important Skills Required

a) Shooting: Long-range shooting is an important skill for a point guard to put pressure on the defensive. A good shooter forces the defensive team to guard the player closely even far from the rim. This spaces the floor more for other players to operate.

b) Dribbling: A point guard has maximum possession of the ball which makes it necessary for them to have good dribbling skill using both hands to beat the defence.

c) Passing: One of the most important skills for a point guard to have is passing. They are expected to direct run the offence by passing to the open players making the right play.

d) Communication: A point guard has the best court vision in the team which allows him to predict potential plays on the court. They must have great communication skills to be able to make his teammates understand where they are lagging on the court.

  • Some great point guards to follow: Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, John Wall, Kemba Walker.

Shooting Guard

Shooting Guard is generally the best scorer in the team. They are the best outside shooter on the roster. A shooting guard also has the ability to dribble fast and drive to the basket which makes them a problem for the defensive team.

Important Skills Required

a) Shooting: Long-range shooting is the most important skill for a  shooting guard. They are expected to get free and knock down the long shots without hesitating a bit.

b) Defence: A shooting guard generally has the responsibility of guarding the shooting guard of the opposite team. This makes it very important for them to have great defensive skills. A crucial steal or tight defence in the last minutes of the game can turn out to be game saving.

c) Move without the ball: One of the most important skills for a shooting guard is to move efficiently without the ball. Teams design plays which involves the shooting guards to run off the screens and somehow get just the space to catch and shoot the ball over the defender.

  • Some great shooting guards to follow: Klay Thompson, James Harden, CJ Mccollum, Lou Williams, Demar DeRozan, Donovan Mitchell.

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Small Forward

Small Forwards are the most versatile players on the court. They play in the wings of the court. They expected to be a double threat on the court i.e they should be able to both score and defend well.

Important Skills Required

a) Shooting: A small forward with good shooting skills from both long and short range makes the team great offensively.

b) Defence: Small forward is generally expected to have the ability to play the physical game inside as well as the fast-paced game outside.

c) Creating Space: To be at the right place at the right time is something very important in the game of basketball. The small forwards are players who have to be most alert on the floor, running the floor for fast breaks, cutting to the rim and reading opponent’s passes to make steals.

  • Some great small forwards to follow:  LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Khris Middleton, Kawhi Leonard.

Power Forward

Power forwards are also known as the post up players as they play close to the rim like centres. They spend most of their time inside the 3-point line. They are basically more agile centres who plays with aggression on both ends of the floor.

Important Skills Required

a) Shooting: They are expected to take position near the low post and hit some easy shots over the defender.

b) Defence: Generally the second tallest player the squad, they have to be active in the paint to block the shots. Also, because of their position on the court, they might end up defending the opposition’s centre. This is all the reason for a power forward to be quick and strong in defence.

c) Rebounding: Power forward makes all the difference in the extra rebounds that a team can collect on both the ends. Being close to the rim makes it a necessity for them to have great rebounding skills. It is about how hard one wants to get that ball bouncing off the rim.

  • Some great power forwards to follow: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Draymond Green, Pascal Siakam.

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The centre is usually the tallest and the strongest player of a team. They are positioned near the basket to dominate the opponent close to the rim.

Offensively they are expected to take high percentage shots near the basket. They are used as screens on the floor by other players to get rid of their defender and create a possibility of open shot, drive to the basket or a mismatch. Also, they are expected to grab rebounds to make some putbacks or to pass other players for open shots.

On the defensive end, they are expected to block the opponent’s shots and steal some passes in the vital area. Also, being closest to the rim and tallest player in the team, they have the highest probability to secure the rebound.

Important Skills Required

a) Shooting: Making the close-range shots plays a key role in building the team’s score.

b) Rebounding: Rebounding the ball coming off the glass or the rim helps a team to regain the possession of the ball.

c) Shot-blocking: Standing close to the basket makes them the last line of defence between the opponent and 2 points. This makes them the defender on the court.

d) Screening: Screening is a tactic used in the offence to free other players by standing beside or behind the defender.

  • Some great centres to follow: Rudy Gobert, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Karl Anthony Towns, Clint Capela, Demarcus Cousins.

Important Tips 

Here are some final tips you might want to remember while playing the beautiful game of basketball.

  1. Dribble and score with your off hand from the beginning, you are only half the player with your one hand.
  2. Always warm up before playing.
  3. Watch NBA games and observe the player of your corresponding position closely.
  4. Work on your overall fitness. Basketball is the fastest field game in the world. It requires a lot of stamina.
  5. Keep your body hydrated. The game is more tiring than what you would have thought.
  6. Try playing with more skilled players to improve.
  7. Never give up.

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What are the basic rules of basketball?

Basketball is played between two teams, aiming to score by shooting the ball into the opponent’s hoop. Each team has a hoop at its end of the court. Players dribble the ball, pass to teammates, and aim to score points while preventing the opposing team from doing the same.

What are fouls in basketball?

Fouls are breaches of the rules that encompass prohibited physical contact or other transgressions. Frequent fouls encompass actions like pushing, holding, charging, or tripping adversaries.

How many players are on a basketball team?

Each team consists of five players on the court at any given time. Teams can substitute players during stoppages in play.

What’s the three-point line in Basketball?

The three-point line is a semicircular arc beyond which field goals are worth 3 points.

Can I play basketball even if I’m not very tall?

Absolutely! While height can be an advantage, basketball values various skills like shooting, passing, and defense. Players of all heights can contribute to a team’s success.

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Raghav Heda
Raghav Heda
Raghav is a sports enthusiast and a content writer at Kreedon. Being a former state-level cricketer and Captain of the Basketball team at IIT Patna, he understands the problems faced by a student-athlete in India. He is also a die-hard NBA fan and has been following the league and American Sports Media for long. Comparing the Indian sports economy to American Sports' was something that motivated him to work for the development of Indian Sports.


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