For Kids

About Basketball


The traditional game of basketball is played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court with the purpose of the game being to score field goals. The objective is to shoot the basketball through a Hoop (basketball ring) mounted on a backboard 10 feet (3.05 metres) off the ground. A field goal scores two (2) points for your team, whilst a shot made from behind the ‘3-point arc’ scores three (3) points. At the conclusion of the game, the team with the highest score wins. Basketball is played by both able bodied and disable bodied participants as well as those with an intellectual disability. A variety of non-traditional game formats also exist including ‘3x3’ (Three on Three) and ‘Street Ball’.


Unlike many sports a ‘coin toss’ does not take place in basketball. Teams also do not rotate scoring ends on a quarter by quarter basis, but rather rotate once at half time. Typically the home team shoots towards the opposition benches baseline for the first two quarters and then towards their own benches baseline for the remaining two quarters. The game starts with a ‘jump-ball’ in the centre of the court. When a point is scored the ball is brought back into play from the defensive baseline via an inbound pass from one teammate to another. At the recommencement of the second, third and fourth quarters the ball is passed inbound by one teammate to another on the halfway line. This possession is based on a rotation policy dependant on which team had possession of the ball at the conclusion of the previous quarter. For example if team A had the ball at the end of the first quarter, Team B starts with the ball at the start of the second quarter.


Basketball’s seven fundamental skills as recognised in the National Basketball Coaching Curriculum are:

1. Ball handling
2. Dribbling
3. Passing
4. Catching
5. Shooting
6. Body movement and footwork
7. Defence


All players should feel comfortable holding the ball. This is achieved through handling the ball as much as possible. When handling the ball keep it off the palms of the hand and on the fingers ensuring fingers are spread for better ball control. Confident ball handling greatly assists dribbling, passing, catching and shooting.


Dribbling is bouncing the ball on the floor repeatedly. A player may dribble the ball with either hand and can change hands but cannot dribble with both hands at the same time. Once a player stops dribbling they must pass or shoot – they cannot dribble again. The purpose of dribbling is to advance the ball to the offensive end when a pass is not possible or to improve an opportunity for passing or shooting.


The purpose of passing is to advance the ball up the floor as quickly as possible to achieve better court positioning and improved shooting positions. There are a variety of different passing techniques based on the ball carriers desires and court position. These include the two hand chest pass, two hand bounce pass, two hand overhead pass, push pass, lob pass, curl pass and the baseball pass.


Catching is a basic motor skill typically developed by children at an early age. With reference to a Basketball the basic skill requires both arms and hands to be extended forward and all fingers spread to grip the ball whilst watching it all the way into the hands. Practice and repetition is advised.


Shooting is the act of scoring points by shooting the ball into the offensive basket. Shooting techniques always differ and often require technical advice to maximise efficiency. Shooting the ball can take place anywhere on the court and can also be linked to other methods of point scoring such as lay-up’s, tip in’s and slam dunking.


Good movement and footwork is essential to developing best practice techniques. The correct execution of most skills in basketball start with good footwork. Good movement and footwork eliminates turnovers through ‘travelling’ and ‘double dribbling’ whilst facilitating effective passing and catching, drives to the basket, rebounding opportunities and improved shooting techniques. Effective and efficient movement and footwork rapidly bridges the gap between good and outstanding basketballers.


Defensive skills are typically developed with age maturation. In infancy defensive skills can be taught indirectly through maintaining a body position between the offensive player and the basket and reacting to the offensive player’s movement with the use of arms, hands and the body. Other focused defensive skills include rebounding, blocking, ‘Screen’ avoidance and zoning.


Each team typically has 10 players with 5 allowed on the court at any one time.

The five on court positions are typically referred to as:

“The 1” - Point Guard
“The 2” - Shooting Guard
“The 3” - Small Forward
“The 4” - Power Forward
“The 5” - Centre


What players CAN do:

• Score points by shooting or ‘laying-up’ baskets.
• Slam Dunk!
• Pressure, chase and block the ball.
• Dribble the ball towards the basket.
• Rebound the ball defensively and offensively.

What players CAN’T do:

• Draw any physical contact on an opponent.
• Intentionally pull, hold or trip an opponent.
• Carry the ball without dribbling.
• Receive more than 4 personal fouls in a game.
• Belittle, intimidate or argue with umpires.