Game Guide

Basketball was invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith who was a professor at the YMCA. Two peach baskets were nailed to either end of the gymnasium, the object being to get the ball into the basket for your team.

Basketball today is a team sport that pits two teams against each other with a goal or hoops on each end. Basketball is played on a court, typically made of wood, measuring 94 X 50 feet for the NBA=National Basketball Association. Five players representing each team take to the floor to play with up to ten basketball players on each bench.

Basketball is the fastest growing sport in the world, mainly due to the simplistic nature of the game and the minimal and inexpensive equipment needed to play. The only equipment necessary to play is a ball and a hoop/basket.

At the end of the game, after four quarters or two halves depending on the league, a winner is determined by highest points scored. In the instance of a tie, overtime periods are played until one team leads in scored points when time has expired.

Basketball Offense & Defence


On offense, the person with the ball must dribble or pass the ball up the court without taking any steps while holding the ball stationary in hand. Goals can be scored in increments of one, two and three. Foul shots are worth 1 point on the scoreboard, field goals inside the three-point line=2 points and outside the three point boundary=3 points.


On defense, the objective is to stop the offensive team from scoring by taking the ball away, thus changing possession. The defender must do this by stealing the ball from the dribbler or passer or by blocking a shot or attaining the ball from a rebound after a missed shot by the offense. The key to defense is to accomplish possession without touching the opposing player and impeding their progress. Otherwise, the offending player is charged with a foul.

Basketball Glossary

Basketball Games Glossary A

a shot that entirely misses the backboard, rim and net.
ball is up for grabs when set in motion by a shooter and/or during a jump ball.
Alley Oop
occurs as the ball is high near the basket, the player grabs and scores in one smooth move.
direct pass made from one player to another resulting in a score.

Basketball Games Glossary B

term for area, approx. 6 X 4 ft that secures the basket.
the area of the court extending from half court to the baseline where the other team's basket is located. This area must be passed in order to score. Once crossed, a player must not reverse or cross back into this area, otherwise a violation is called.
Backcourt Violation
time is up, if after 10 seconds, a player does not move the ball from the back to frontcourt.
Backdoor Play
player moving up behind the defense and open to a pass.
Ball Fake
tossing this way, no the other, a deke to trick an opponent.
Ball Handler
refers to basketball player who is either in possession of the ball or moving the ball with skill.
Bang the Boards
jargon for moving in on that rebound very forcefully.
Bank Shot
a shot scored by banking the ball off the backboard into the basket.
two line markings that determine the court boundaries.
Baseline Drive
term for an aggressive rush moving along the baseline to the basket.
Basket or Bucket
the main focus of the game is 18 inches around to include net material.
Beat the Defender
player moving skillfully beyond the cover shadowing him/her.
basketball games glossary reference to the ladies and gents in waiting to get into the game.
Blind Pass
not focused on the intended target, but here goes the pass.
Blocked Shot
that shot is down before it reaches the basket.
a defender physically impeding the progress of an offensive player.
Bonus Free Throw or Bonus Situation
after the personal fouls tally is over the limit, a freebie is given to the opposing team.
Bounce Pass
one bounce is all it takes to get to your teammate.
term for a team strategy formation where 4 players are 'the box' and a fifth chases the ball.
a player positioning themselves between the goal and another player in order to secure the rebound from a missed shot.
jargon for a lazy shot that deflects off the rim or backboard.
Bunny or Bury
on the other hand, these terms refer to an easy score.
Buzzer Beater
shot that is made on the right side of the buzzer signaling the end of period/game.

Basketball Games Glossary C

Carry the ball
forwarding the ball without dribbling.
pick the tallest player to be the center of the offense—he/she do the tip offs and assist with offense.
Center Circle
jump balls to start play occur here in this 12-foot circle.
Center Line
marking point that divides the court into two, also referred to as the mid court line, ten-second line, and time line.
Center Official
game official who monitors and calls the play between the free throw line and mid court mark.
occurs when an offensive player initiates contact with a defensive player who has established position, resulting in an offensive foul.
Charity Stripe
jargon for free throw line.
Chest Pass
motion using 2 hands and passed from chest level.
jargon for play strategy where 4 players are placed on one side of the free throw line leaving a fifth to play one-on-one against a defender.
Coast to Coast
jargon for moving the entire court to score!
Collapsing Defense
refers to players moving in on the center player of the other team.
a free throw score---sweet!
basketball games glossary term for basketball net.
term for region close to the baseline and sideline.
another name for a forward.
this is where the action is, the game playing area.
smooth playing score involving no opposition.
basketball games glossary term for quickly dribbling the ball from the right hand to the left hand or vice versa.
rapid movement around a challenger or to a court opening.
jargon for a part above the basket that is not attainable by players.

Basketball Games Glossary D

Dead Ball
no play here, occurs after a whistle stop or a score requiring a re-start of play.
Defensive Rebound
receiving the ball after a play by an opposing player.
Deny the Ball
that challenger just lost possession of the ball.
strategic format where 4 players are 'the diamond' while a fifth goes up against a single defender.
Double Double
occurs when any player achieves double-digit statistics in a single game, example=10 points and 10 rebounds.
Double Dribble
dribbling the basketball with two hands at the same time or picking up the ball, coming to a stop, and beginning to dribble again.
Double Foul
occurs when a foul is called against each of the team players resulting in a jump ball between these two specific players.
Double Pump
basketball games glossary term for two quick fake shots in a row.
Double Team
the use of two defenders to guard one offensive player.
heading down to the basket.
way long shot from the three-point line.
action of moving the bouncing ball using 1 hand.
forceful action to the basket while in possession of the ball.
Drop Step
the flow of this motion is-- step back from a defender, turn and drive on past him/her.
Dunk or Slam Dunk
the action of throwing the ball hard through the basket with one or two hands.

Basketball Players Terms E

foul worthy because of over-use of the elbows against an opponent. Rises to a game ejection if opponent is elbowed above the shoulders.
End Line
refers to the baseline boundary behind the baskets.
Establish Position
making a stand in a specific area of the court before the challenger arrives there.

Basketball Players Terms F

Fake or Feint
action to deceive your opponent. Skillful players can perform a fake with not only the eyes, but other parts of the body as well.
False Multiple Foul
one foul, two foul in a row. The second foul is assigned a separate penalty as it happened before play resumed after #1 foul.
Fast Break
the fast movement of the ball up the court after a rebound in order to gain advantage on defenders.
Field Goal
the act of putting the ball through the basket.
Fill the Lane
moving rapidly close to the sideline to disperse the defense. Divide and conquer is the strategy.
Finger Roll
jargon for a smooth shot off the fingers to the basket.
Flagrant Foul
a foul that is intentional, can cause harm and uses unnecessary force.
this is where the basketball game is played.
Floor Violation
a mini penalty resulting in a possession turn over where the challenger's movement is not illegally blocked nor is he harmed. No harm, no foul.
players whose duties include moving on offense and defense.
impediment of the offensive player by the defender either while advancing the ball or while shooting. The phrase 'foul worthy' is used to describe examples in this gamerisms glossary.
Foul Line
the line 15 feet from the basket where foul shots are attempted.
Foul Out
big-time penalty worthy resulting in game disqualification because of accumulating too many personal fouls.
Foul Trouble
yikes! a player is very close to the foul limitation, therefore a candidate to be fouled out.
Four-point Play
occurs when a player is fouled while going for a 3-pointer resulting in a freebie throw.
Free Throw or Foul Shot
a free shot given to the shooter who has been fouled.
this is the guarding position between an opponent and the ball.
refers to all players center and forwards on one team or a team's attack area from the centerline to the baseline.
Full-court Press
occurs when the challengers get ball possession in their backcourt, then the move towards the basket is intense.

Basketball Players Terms G

Game Clock
measures time left in the playing period.
term for impeding a basket bound shot that has touched the backboard. There is a throw-in given to the challenger if this motion is performed by an offense player.
players whose duties include carrying the ball from the backcourt, taking outside shots and setting up plays.

Basketball Players Terms H

foul worthy on the player who strikes a challenger's hand or arm in an attempt to loosen the ball from him/her.
Half-court Offense
strategic movement to get a basket once a team has possession of the basketball into the frontcourt.
Half-court Press
occurs when the challengers get ball possession in their frontcourt, then the move towards the basket begins with earnest. So, 1/2 a full-court press, then.
Hand Check
foul worthy for the act of striking the opponent with one or both hands.
Held Ball
term for two players fighting over one ball resulting in a jump ball to settle it.
High Percentage Shot
bet on this one going in the basket.
High Post
you will find the center here near the free throw line.
action to limit or impede a challenger's movement.
Hook Shot
smooth move where the ball is set up to score from the side with the hand that is the farthest from the basket.
term for basket rim.
popular jargon for a basketball game.
Incidental Contact
a minor motion that goes unnoticed by game officials.

Basketball Players Terms I

In the Paint
area of the free throw lane.
Inbound or Inbounds pass
place the ball into motion from a throw-in.
Inside Shot
occurs near the basket.
Intentional Foul
foul worthy strategy to stop the clock resulting in a free throw and/or possession of the ball awarded to the challengers.

Basketball Players Terms J

Jump Ball
result of two players having the ball at the same time.
Jump Hook
jump up and take a shot in one smooth move.
Jump Shot
jargon for an attempted shot with two hands while jumping.
Jumping Circle
occurs within a 4 ft. circle where participating players must keep one foot inside the jumping circle.

Basketball Players Terms K - L

Keepaway Game
strategy by the leading team to slow down the game to avoid point scoring by the opposing team. Known as freezing or 'using up time'.
Kicked Ball
foul worthy caused by the ball hitting the foot.
refers to the free throw lane.
Lane Violation
occurs when a player steps into the free throw lane before completion of the free shot or a 3-second violation.
another smooth move—leap up and ball scores with 1 hand.
refers to a lay-in with a difference—ball scores off the backboard.
Lead Official
game official who monitors and calls the play between the baseline and free throw line.
Lead Pass or Leading the Receiver
ball passing strategy targeted at a moving teammate. Ideally, the ball meets up with the player at just the right moment to continue play.
Live Ball
either from a free-throw shooter or from a throw-in, this ball is in play.
Loose Ball
no player has possession, so the ball is up for grabs.
Lower Percentage Shot
hardly an easy shot, so don't bet on it.

Basketball Players Terms M

defense where each man on defense is assigned one man on offense to guard.
you guard him and/or she guards her, the pairing of opposing players.
Midcourt Area Marker
refers to one of four marked lines from a sideline to baseline.
Multiple Foul
penalty worthy because a single player suffers 2 fouls by the challengers at about the same time.

Basketball Players Terms O

Offensive Board
either a rebound or referring to the basket backboard.
Offensive Foul
penalty worthy resulting in a throw-in by the opposing team.
Offensive Rebound
bounce back from a player or teammate.
Offensive Team
term for team in possession of the ball.
Off the Dribble
jargon for shot taken on the way to the basket.
two opposing players on their own.
Open Shot
unguarded player takes this shot with a smile.
Out of Bounds
called when the ball is outside the established playing area resulting in a throw-in by the opposing team.
Outlet Pass
follows a defensive rebound to resume play.
Outside Shot
a long shot that travels some distance.
Over and Back
occurs when the ball moves into the frontcourt and returns to backcourt, the challengers are then given a free throw for this violation.
Over the Limit
penalty worthy as team has exceeded the foul limit, thereby awarding the challengers a bonus.
strategy to guard an opposing player's best side, so the weaker side plays the shot.
5-minute period(s) played after a tie game until one team wins by more points scored.

Basketball Game Terms P

the free throw lane.
act of securing the ball in the palm of a hand resulting in a violation if performed during dribbling.
Passing Lane
refers to passing area between defenders in order to move the ball to a teammate.
portion of playing time to complete a game, example=NBA rules allow for four 12 minute periods.
Perimeter & Perimeter Shot
term for location behind free throw circle in the forecourt used to put outside shots in play.
Personal Foul
when there is physical contact between challengers, a foul is sure to follow.
Pick and Roll
jargon for this player movement=set screen, pivot, move towards basket to receive pass.
Picked Off
term for a successful screen that prohibited a defender from reaching the opposing player in control of the ball.
Pick-up Games
basketball game terms for 'let's play' among a group of amateur players.
Pivot Foot
refers to either the right or left foot that is stationary on the floor when a player has ball possession. When 'doing the pivot dance', be sure the pivot foot remains stationary while 'step dancing' with the other foot. If a player moves the pivot foot, then he/she is considered to be traveling and a foul called that results in lost ball possession.
Pivot Man
basketball game terms that refer to the team's center. Can also be Pivot Woman, yes?
jargon for player who is a huge asset to the team in that he/she sets up and plans the strategic moves of the team.
refers to either the point guard playing position or points scored. Foul shots put 1 point on the scoreboard; field goals inside the three-point line=2 points and outside the three point boundary=3 points.
Point Guard
player whose duties are moving the ball up the court and running offense.
term for location either near the basket or foul line, but outside the free throw lane.
Power Forward
skillful player who can ably score and grab rebounds.
the pressure is on the ball carrier by the opposing defense team.

Basketball Game Terms R

attaining the ball after a shot on offense or defense.
game official who monitors and calls all violations, field goals, fouls and issues penalties.
basketball game terms for motion to block a shot.
term for exact time that the ball is released from the shooter's hands.
Restraining Circle
term for area where no other player can enter while a free throw attempt is being made until the ball strikes the backboard, rim or net. The same rules applies when a player from each team are going for a jump ball.
Reverse Dunk
a backward dunk, over the shooter's head.
Reverse Lay Up
let's do another lay up as the first one was blocked. See lay up.
term for 18-inch ring that holds the net and is attached to the backboard.
a rapid strategic move by the challenger that avoids a defender and rolls on down to the basket.
jargon for a 'green player' in his/her first pro season.
view of the team players.
this player is on the run and taking a shot.
Running Jumper
and this player is still running, but taking a jump shot.

Basketball Game Terms S

Scoop Shot
underhand shot made by a scooping motion advancing to the basket.
game official who monitors and records points, field goals, free throws and all fouls for every player and team. The scorer also updates the referees about changes.
refers to a blocking move by an offensive player either by standing beside or behind a defender in order to free up a teammate to shoot, receive a pass, or drive in to score.
Shooter's Roll
skillful move that bounces softly off the rim and in to score.
Shooting Guard
term for a skillful shooter who often scores 3-pointers.
Shooting Range
the point or distance that a player makes his/her shots.
Shot Clock
this clock counts down from the 24 seconds in NBA play as to when a team must shoot and hit the intended rim or basket.
boundary lines running from baseline to baseline.
Sixth Man
basketball game terms for the best sub that a team plays.
Sky Hook
jargon for a shot that is released from above the level of the rim.
Small Forward
term for an agile, shorter player who can make awesome jump shots.
Square Up
stare that basket, line up the ball and shoot.
Starting Lineup
the best of the team, these 5 players start the game.
term for getting the ball from an opposing player. Now watcha going to do?
Strong Side
this is the area where the ball and the action takes place.
a player is out and the sub is in to play.
Swing Man
jargon for versatile player who can play 2 positions.
jargon for a shot that scores without the ball hitting the rim or backboard—a thing of beauty!
term for exchanging defensive assignments with a teammate.

Basketball Game Terms T - Z

abbreviation for time out or technical foul.
Team Foul
is called on the player and the team. If the team goes over the limit of these fouls, the opposing team wins free throw(s).
Technical Foul
term for a foul called that is not physical in nature, but rather called because of verbal abuse or cursing usually towards officials--just plain bad mouthing. Opposing team is given a free throw or throw-in. Anyone who has watched basketball knows that a coach or other team member along with players have and can receive this type of foul.
Ten-second Line
refers to the center line when the 10-second rule is ongoing.
Ten-second Rule
refers to rule where the team in possession of the ball must take it to the centerline in 10 seconds or take the foul.
Three-point Line
semi-circle marking out from the basket center.
Three-point Play
term for the 2-step success of a two point field score then a free throw.
Three Pointer
a field goal shot behind the three-point line, worth three points.
Three-second rule
3 seconds is all you get within the free throw lane and that includes your feet, or you suffer a three-second violation.
5 seconds is all you get to move the ball inbound. Throw-ins result after a ball lands out-of-bounds or a personal foul has been called not requiring free throw(s).
the line that divides the two halves of the court.
Tip in
tap that rebound and tip it in.
refers to jump ball that starts the game action.
Top of the Key
location near the free throw circle just behind the free throw line.
Trail Official
game official who monitors the ball as it moves up court after a possession turnover.
this player scoots behind his/her teammates on a fast break.
term for strategic move to focus on offense rather than defense when team has ball possession in their backcourt.
basketball game terms for rapid double-teaming of the ball carrier.
occurs when a player illegally moves his/her feet while in possession of the ball. Examples are moving 3 steps without a dribble, lifting the pivot foot before dribbling/jumping and landing without releasing the ball. The penalty for traveling is loss of possession.
Triple Double
occurs when any player achieves double digit statistics in a single game in three statistical categories (i.e. 10 points and 10 rebounds and 10 assists). Well done!
Triple Threat
positioning that will allow a player to pass, shoot or pivot.
Turnaround Jumper
quick move by a player whose back is to the basket. This 3-step 'dance' is pivot, jump and shoot.
basketball game terms for loss of possession.
Two-shot Foul
opposing team wins 2 free throws after this foul is called.
the bigger, better team just lost to a supposedly second-rate team or underdog.
Weak Side
the area of the court where the ball is not; therefore, not much action here.
defense where players are assigned an area to guard as opposed to a single opposing player.