Rules of basketball

Rules of basketball

The rules of basketball are the rules and regulations that govern the play, officiating, equipment and procedures of basketball. The international rules are governed by the Technical Commission of the International Basketball Federation. Most leagues, including the National Basketball Association, govern their own rules. The 12 rules of basket ball are...

13 original rules

When James Naismith invented "Basket Ball" in December 1891, the ruleset consisted of exactly 13 rules with less than 600 words:Citation
last = The Triangle
first =
title = Dr. James Naismith's 13 Original Rules of Basketball
url= | accessdate = 2008-09-30

#The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
#The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands, but never with the fist.
#A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man running at good speed.
#The ball must be held in or between the hands; the arms or body must not be used for holding it.
#No shouldering, holding, pushing, striking, fingering, or tripping in any way of an opponent. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game. No substitution shall be allowed.
#A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violations of Rules 3 and 4 and such as described in Rule 5.
#If either side makes three consecutive fouls it shall count as a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the meantime making a foul).
#A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.
#When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it. In case of dispute the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.
#The umpire shall be the judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.
#The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals, with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.
#The time shall be two fifteen-minute halves, with five minutes rest between.
#The side making the most goals in that time is declared the winner.

Under this early version of "Basket Ball", dribbling and most physical contact is outlawed, and only rudimentary anti-fouling rules exist.

Players, substitutes and teams

Naismith's original rules did not specify how many players were to be on the court. In 1900, five players became standard, and players that were substituted were not allowed to re-enter the game. Players were allowed to re-enter a game once from 1921, and twice from 1934; such restrictions on substitutions were abolished in 1945 when substitutions became unlimited. Coaching was originally prohibited during the game, but from 1949, coaches were allowed to address players during a time-out.

While originally a player was disqualified on his second foul, this limit became four fouls in 1911 and five fouls in 1945. This is the current limit in most forms of basketball, where the regulation part of the game (before any overtime periods) is 40 minutes. In games of four 12-minute periods, such as the National Basketball Association in the United States or the National Basketball League in Australia, a regulation game is 48 minutes; accordingly, a player is disqualified there on his sixth foul.

hot clock and time limits

The first time restriction was introduced in 1933, where teams were required to advance the ball over the center line within ten seconds of gaining possession. This rule remained until 2000, when FIBA reduced the requirement to eight seconds. NBA followed suit the following year.

The three-second rule, which prohibits offensive players from remaining in their opponents' restricted area (referred to as the lane or the key) for longer than three seconds, was introduced in 1936. A game central to this rule's introduction was that between the University of Kentucky and New York University. Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp did not take one of his referees with him, despite being warned of discrepancies in officiating between the midwest and east by Notre Dame coach George Keogan, and the game became especially rough. The rule was adopted to reduce roughness in the area between big men; it is now considered to prevent tall players from gaining an advantage by waiting close to the basket. When the NBA started to allow zone defense in 2001, they also introduced the three-second rule for defensive players.

The shot clock was first introduced by the NBA in 1954, to increase the speed of play. Teams were then required to attempt a shot within 24 seconds of gaining possession, and the shot clock would be reset when the ball touched the basket's rim or the backboard, or the opponents gained possession. FIBA adopted a 30-second shot clock two years later, resetting the clock when a shot was attempted. Women's basketball adopted a 30-second clock in 1971. The NCAA adopted a 45-second shot clock for men while continuing with the 30-second clock for women in 1985. The men's shot clock was then reduced to 35 seconds in 1993. FIBS reduced the shot clock to 24 seconds in 2000, and changed the clock's resetting to when the ball touched the rim of the basket. A missed shot where the shot clock expires while the ball is in the air constituted a violation. In 2003, this became legal, as long as the ball touched the rim.

Fouls, free throws and violations

Dribbling was not part of the original game, but was introduced in 1901. At the time, a player could only bounce the ball once, and could not shoot after he had dribbled. The definition of dribbling became the "continuous passage of the ball" in 1909, allowing more than one bounce, and a player who had dribbled was then allowed to shoot.

Running with the ball ceased to be considered a foul in 1922, and became a violation, meaning that the only penalty was loss of possession. Striking the ball with the fist has also become a violation. From 1931, if a closely guarded player withheld the ball from play for five seconds, play was stopped and resumed with a jump ball; such a situation has since become a violation by the ball-carrier. Goaltending became a violation in 1944, and offensive goaltending in 1958.

Free throws were introduced shortly after basketball was invented. In 1895, the free throw line was officially placed fifteen feet (4.6 m) from the basket, prior to which most gymnasiums placed one twenty feet (6.1 m) from the basket. From 1924, players that received a foul were required to shoot their own free throws. You only get one free throw shot if you made the shot on the foul. You got two free throw shots if you make nothing when fouled.

Charge is physical contact between an offensive player and a defensive player. In order to draw an offensive charge the defensive player must establish legal guarding positioning in the path of the offensive player. If contact is made, the officials would issue an offensive charge. No points will be allowed and the ball is turned over. The defensive player may not draw an offensive charge in the "restricted zone" (see below for more details). [ BLOCK-CHARGE] . National Basketball Association.]

Blocking is physical contact between the offensive player and the defensive player. Blocking fouls are issued when a defensive player arbitrates the path of the offensive player in the shooting motion. Blocking fouls are easily called when the defensive player is standing in the "restricted zone".

Restricted zone: In 1997, the NBA introduced an arc of a 4-foot (1.22 m) radius around the basket, in which an offensive foul for charging could not be assessed. This was to prevent defensive players from attempting to draw an offensive foul on their opponents by standing underneath the basket. FIBA will adopt this arc with a 1.25 m (4 ft 1.2 in) radius starting in 2010.cite press release|url= |title=The FIBA Central Board approves historic rule changes |publisher=FIBA |date=2008-04-26 |accessdate=2008-04-27]

coring and court markings

While originally, only the number of goals was counted, and when free throws were introduced, they were considered a goal each, these were changed to two points for a field goal and one point for a free throw in 1896. The American Basketball Association introduced a three-point field goal, which was one scored from beyond the three-point field goal arc, when it began in 1967. FIBA introduced its three-point line 6.25 meters (20 ft 6 in) from the center of the basket in 1984.

The restricted area, also known as the free throw lane, had its width increased from 6 feet to 12 feet (1.8 to 3.7 m) in 1951. In 1956, FIBA adopted a trapezoidal lane, 3.6 metres (11 ft 10 in) wide at the free throw line and 6 metres (19 ft 8 in) wide at the baseline. In 1961, the NBA increased this width to 16 feet (4.9 m). Both these lanes have since remained.

On April 26, 2008, FIBA announced what it called "historic changes" to its ruleset which will result in its court markings being much more similar to those of the NBA. These changes will take effect for FIBA's major competitions (Olympic basketball, world championships at senior, under-19, and under-17 levels, and zone/continental championships) on October 1 2010, after the 2010 World Championships for men and women, and for other competitions on October 1 2012. The list of changes is:
* FIBA will adopt the rectangular restricted area, with the same dimensions as the NBA.
* The three-point line will move to 6.75 m (22 ft 1.7 in) from the center of the basket.
* FIBA will adopt the "no-charge semicircle" currently used in the NBA. An offensive player cannot be called for charging if the defensive player is within this semicircle near the defender's basket. The NBA's semicircle is 4 feet (1.22 m), while the FIBA semicircle will be 1.25 m (4 ft 1.2 in), both measured from the center of the basket.

Officiating and procedures

Originally, there was one umpire to judge fouls and one referee to judge the ball; the tradition of calling one official the "referee" and the other one or two the "umpires" has remained (the NBA, however, uses different terminology, referring to the lead official as "crew chief" and the others as "referees"). Today, both classes of officials have equal rights to control all aspects of the game. NBA introduced a third official in 1988, and FIBA did so afterwards, using it for the first time in international competition in 2006. The use of video evidence to inform referee's decisions has always been banned, except in the case of determining whether or not the last shot of a period was attempted before time expired. This exception was introduced by the NBA in 2002 and adopted by FIBA in 2006. The NCAA, however, has permitted instant replay for timing, the value of a field goal (two or three points), shot clock violations, and for purposes of disqualifying players because of unsportsmanlike conduct. Like the NCAA, the NBA starting in 2007, changed its rules allowing officials the ability to view instant replay with plays involving flagrant fouls. In Italy's LEGA A, an American football-style coach's challenge is permitted to challenge (at the next dead ball) to challenge an official's call on any situation similar to the NCAA.

The centre jump ball that was used to restart a game after every successful field goal was eliminated in 1938, in favour of the ball being given to the non-scoring team from behind the end line where the goal was scored, in order to make play more continuous. The jump ball was still used to start the game and every period, and to restart the game after a held ball. However, the NBA stopped using the jump ball to start the second through fourth quarters in 1975, instead using a quarter-possession system where the loser of the jump ball takes the ball from the other end to start the second and third periods, while the winner of that jump ball takes the ball to start the fourth period from the other end of the court.

In 1981, the NCAA adopted the alternating possession system for all jump ball situations except the beginning of the game, and in 2003, FIBA adopted a similar rule, except for the start of the third period and over time. In 2004, the rule was changed in FIBA that the arrow applies for all situations after the opening tap.

In 1976, the NBA introduced a rule to allow teams to advance the ball to the center line following any legal time-out in the final two minutes of the game. FIBA followed suit in 2006.

International rules of basketball

The most recent international rules of basketball were approved on 31 March 2006 by FIBA and became effective as of 1 October that year.cite web | year = 2006 | url = | title = Official Basketball Rules 2006 | format = pdf | work = | publisher = International Basketball Federation | accessdate = 2006-11-02]

There are eight rules encompassing fifty articles, covering equipment and facilities, regulations regarding teams, players, captains and coaches, playing regulations, violations, fouls and their penalties, special situations, and the officials and table officials. The rules also cover officials' signals, the scoresheet, protest procedure, classification of teams and television time-outs.


External links

* [ Official Basketball rules] @
* [ "Official NBA rules - NBA rules and regulations" at]
* [ "NCAA Basketball Rulebook"]
* [ "Referee Signal - Picture Description of referee signal" at]
* [ basketball rules]
* [ Basketball Drills and Practice Plans]
* [ "FIBA / USA basketball rule differences and rule changes for various rule making bodies"]

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