The Game Of Basketball

So, you want to be a big-time ball player?
In order to understand where we are going, you have to understand where we are coming from. Basketball is a game where quickness, (not only with the feet, but with the mind), strength, and a firm hold of the basics are important. Any guarantee in the world isn’t going to make a person a better ball player unless they are willing to put in the time to understand the game and its fundamentals.

The Court

The NBA basketball court is 94’ long with a width of 50’. College and High School can play on a court that is 10’ less in length. The key is 12’ wide and the free-throw line is always 15’ from the background. In the NBA the 3-point line 22’ to the center of the basketball hoop from the sides, but at the arc outside the free-throw bubble, is 23’ 9” to the center of the hoop.

In college and high school the 3-point line is 19’ 9” at the center of the free-throw arc, and straightens 63” from the baseline.

The backboard will extend 4’ into the court from the baseline, and is 72” wide by 42” high. The inner square on the backboard is 24” wide, by 18” high. The basketball hoop is 18” in diameter and therefore has a 9” radius.

At center court, the inner circle has a 4’ diameter, and the outside circle is 6’.


The average size for a ball in the NBA, College, High School or international play is around 30”. The seams in a ball should not be any more than Ό”.

Aside from the ball, you’ve seen the different shoes, eyewear, headbands the college and professional players wear.

The Positions

There are five players on the basketball court, two guards two forwards and a center. Each player has a varied responsibility, and making sure their job is executed is key to any basketball team’s success.

Guard – Most teams put their smallest and quickest players at these positions, when you are talking about high school and some colleges. It makes sense when you consider the forwards and the center will be crashing the boards for rebounds.

There are two types of guards on many of the basketball teams that take the court today – the point guard and the shooting guard.

• Point Guard – This is the quarterback of your frontcourt play. A good command of how a game flows, and how a play is going to develop are fundamental traits for the point guard. Although ball handling is important for any position, many players believe the best dribbler is usually going to make the best guard. From experience, I can tell you that’s not the case. The point guard sets up the offence and typically needs to make the first pass, so accurate and smart passing are key to this position’s success. This player should be the assist leader on your team.

• Shooting guard / small forward – The shooting guard, depending on the offence a team decides to run, will be the player who helps get the ball down the court, but is also the primary shooter in the backcourt, and drives well to the basket. They can double as a small forward, and should be expected to set picks and have rebounding skills.

• Forward – Most forwards a larger and stronger than their guard counterparts and can generally out-rebound them. A forward needs to be able to recognize an open lane to cut to, and then be able to receive the pass and drive to the hoop.
Forwards are tall and strong, with rebounding and work in the paint being their primary concern. Forwards must be good medium range shooters – in the 10 to 12’ range. Many of their shots will either be under the hoop, or a pull up jumper. Forward is definitely one of the most versatile positions on the court.

• Center – This is the big man on the court. Usually the largest player on the court, the center provides the beef in the paint. Primarily responsible for rebounding and sinking the inside baskets, the center has to be willing to pay the price driving to the hoop and fighting for rebounds.

Now you have the real basics about the game and the positions. But, you are looking for a bit more to make your game better than the guy next to you. In the next chapters we’ll go through everything from post moves to dribbling and the drills you can use to master these skills and your opponents.