Introduction Court and Teams Referees Play Offense
Defense Amateur Competition Professional Competition Olympic Basketball History
A. Offense
Playing offense is perhaps the most prominent part of playing basketball, as it allows players to demonstrate and improve upon individual skills necessary to being successful. Many of basketball’s best players have exceptional talents on offense. Basic offensive skills are passing, ball handling, shooting, and rebounding. Passing the basketball is the fastest and often the most efficient way of advancing the ball up the court. A team that passes well will be able to take uncontested shots, to score easy baskets by moving the ball up the court quickly, and to prohibit the defense from initiating its own game plan. There are five types of passes: chest, in which the ball is thrown from chest height; bounce, in which the ball is bounced on the ground on its way to the teammate; overhead, in which the ball is thrown with both hands extended over the head; baseball-style, in which the ball is thrown like a baseball; and behind-the-back, in which the player throws the ball at waist height with one hand whipping the ball around the back. All of these passing styles are used during the course of a game. Many of basketball’s best players are also adept at ball handling. To be a good ball handler, a player must watch the action on the court, keeping the eyes straight ahead and not focused down on the floor. The player must also keep the ball low, protecting it from defenders and bouncing it no higher than the waist. Good ball handlers can use either hand to dribble effectively and can change directions quickly. There are five types of dribbling styles: speed, in which the ball is dribbled while the player is moving; crossover, in which the ball is bounced and crossed from one hand to the other in front of the body; behind-the-back, in which the ball is bounced and crossed behind the back; between-the-legs, in which the ball is bounced and crossed between the legs; and spin, in which the ball is bounced and crossed while the player spins away from the defender. From the elementary school level to the professional leagues, shooting is the most important part of basketball. There are many types of shooting forms, the basic being the layup, the jump shot, the foul shot, and the hook shot. The layup is the easiest shot in basketball, taken right under the basket using either hand. Over the years, the dunk shot, a different style of layup in which the ball is slammed forcibly through the basket, has become one of basketball’s most exciting shots. The jump shot is taken when the shooter leaps in the air and at the top of the jump releases the ball toward the basket. The foul shot is an uncontested shot taken from the free-throw line following a foul. A hook shot is taken when the shooter turns sideways to the basket, places his or her body between the ball and the defender, and releases the ball over his or her head in a high arc toward the basket. When a shooter misses a shot, the team that retrieves the ball has recovered a rebound. When a member of the offensive team recovers the rebound, the offensive team regains possession and the shot clock starts over. When the defensive team recovers the rebound, it then plays offense. Strength, natural instinct, and good positioning and timing are important to good rebounding. Playing good offense requires strategic decisions. One style of offense is to use set patterns to get uncontested shots. The most important technique of a so-called slow-down offense is setting screens. This occurs when offensive players position themselves in a way that impedes the defenders’ movement. The screen is often accompanied by the give-and-go, in which one player passes to a teammate and then moves across the court, usually toward the basket in a position to receive a return pass immediately. In comparison to the slow-down offense, a fast-break offense involves quick shots as the ball is either dribbled or passed up the court rapidly.