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Basketball is an athletic non-contact sport played by opposing teams who score points by throwing a ball into each other’s basket. Basketball players can move the ball around the court by passing by hand or dribbling by bouncing the ball as they are on the move.
Basketball skills required include an ability to run quickly in short bursts on a small congested court, excellent hand-eye coordination, catching, dribbling, and shooting. The team who scores the most points is the winner.
There are five players from each team on the basketball court at any one time, with up to five substitutes sitting on the court side line.
The game begins with the basketball being thrown up by the referee and two players, standing in the centre circle, jump for it and try to tap it to one of their team mates.
No holding, tripping, hitting or pushing is allowed in basketball. If a player commits more than five fouls, they are sent off the court for the remainder of the game.
The basketball is round with a circumference of 75 (29.5in) to 78cm (30.7in), and weighs 600 (21oz) to 650g (23oz).
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Basketball is played on a rectangular court of 28m x 15m (84ft x 50ft) The baskets are 45cm (18in) wide and raised 3.05m (10ft) from the floor and fixed to back boards. The four-sided area around the basket is known as the ‘key’.
At the narrow end of the key is the free-throws line where shots can be taken after a foul has been awarded.
The large arc ( 6.25m or 20.5ft from each basket ) is the three-point line — successful shots from outside this line score an extra point on top of the usual two.
There are also time limits on a player in possession of the basketball with five main rules:
Basketball players can be penalized for making an infringement or foul on another player, with the loss of possession or the award of a ‘free throw’.
• Pushing — this is exactly as it sounds, and applies even when a player does not have possession of the ball.
• Illegal screening — an attempt to slow down or stop an opponent who does not have control of the ball.
• Hand checking — when a defending player uses their hands to grab or slow an opponent.
• llegal hand use — when contact is made on an opponent when they are attempting to release the ball.
• Technical foul — these are awarded against any player or coach for unsportsmanlike behaviour such as swearing or arguing with a referee. This leads to at least one free throw and possession of the ball. If a player or coach receives two technical fouls, he or she is removed from the game.
• Persistent fouling — this can lead to a player being removed from the game. If a player commits five fouls they must leave the game permanently, but can be substituted.
• Team foul — this is called when a team has committed five fouls of any kind in any one period. The opposing team is awarded with two free throws.
• Violation — a violation of the rules covers such things as an illegal dribble or not releasing the ball within the specified time limits. Possession is handed to the opposition.
• Backcourt violation — an attacking player with the ball may not cross back over the half-way line once he or she has advanced the ball beyond it.