A basketball court is a rectangle with a basket at each end, and can be either inside or outside.

A basketball court is a rectangle with a basket at each end, and can be either inside or outside.

How basketball is played

Basketball is a team sport. A team is made up of five players. The aim of the game is to throw a ball through a hoop called a basket to score a goal each time. There is a basket at each end of a court, which is a rectangle shape. The basket is a little over 45 centimetres (18 ins) in diameter, placed about three metres (10 feet) above the ground, with a board behind it.

 

Players shoot for goal. The ball must pass through the hoop and the basket for a score. ©iStock

Players shoot for goal. The ball must pass through the hoop and the basket for a score. ©iStock

Each goal is worth points, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins. If the game is a draw when the time is up, extra time is played until one team scores and wins.

Players move the ball up the court towards their team's goal by bouncing it while walking or running, which is called dribbling. They can also throw the ball to a team mate, which is called passing. When a player jumps in the air and pushes the ball down through the hoop to score a goal, that is called a slam dunk. It is usually the tallest players who can do this. There are fewer slam dunks in women's basketball because there are fewer very tall players than in the men's teams.

A referee is in control of the game. At times he throws the ball straight up in the air and players jump for it. It's called a tip off. ©iStock

A referee is in control of the game. At times he throws the ball straight up in the air and players jump for it. It's called a tip off. ©iStock

If someone breaks a rule, that is called a foul, and generally a free throw is given to the other team. A referee is in charge and makes sure the rules are being kept. There are times when the referee throws the ball straight up in the air and a player from each team jumps for it, then passes it to teammates. This is called a tip off.

Players in wheelchairs compete in basketball competitions. ©iStock

Players in wheelchairs compete in basketball competitions. ©iStock

There are basketball games for male teams, for female teams and for people in wheelchairs.

History

A game similar to basketball was played in Mexico in the 10th century. The players pushed a rubber ball with their elbows through a stone ring fixed to a temple wall. This game was called Pok-ta-Pok and the losers were sacrificed to the gods!

The modern game was invented by a Canadian-born American doctor, James A. Naismith, and was first played in January 1892

Australian basketball teams

The Australian men's basketball team is called the Boomers, the female team is the Opals, and the wheelchair teams are the Rollers and the Gliders.

Read about them here

http://www.basketball.net.au

Read about Olympic basketball

http://www.olympic.org/basketball