Skip to main content

Basic Rules of Basketball

New to sports basketball hero

Understanding these four guidelines will help your child as he or she gets ready to play basketball.

Moving the Ball

Moving the Ball

There are two primary ways to move the ball in basketball. If a player wishes to move the ball themselves they must be dribbling, which is bounding the ball with their hand, while walking or running. If a player is dribbling and then stops and holds the ball they cannot move one of their feet. The only way they can move the ball is to pass it to one of their teammates. However, a player may pass to their teammates whenever they wish.

Basketball Court Boundries

Out of Bounds

There are boundaries around the court that mark out of bounds. If the ball, or a player holding the ball, goes out of bounds the opposing team is awarded possession. 



A foul in basketball is any type of illegal action that negatively affects the play of the opposing team. Fouls can result in free throws, turnovers, or the team with possession throwing the ball in from out of bounds. If a player records too many fouls they will be removed from the game.


Starting the Game

Games are often started with a tip-off, where one player from each team will start in the middle of the court and then jump up simultaneously at a ball that is lobbed into the air by a referee. The point is then for them to try and tip the ball to one of their teammates, so their team can start with the ball. Note: The team to get first possession in younger age groups is often decided by a coin flip.

Sports in this article


Tags in this article

New to Sports Parent Beginner SportsEngine