A Beginner’s Glossary

TERM – Description

Backboard – The rectangular board from which the basketball ring is suspended.

Baseline – The out of bounds line behind the backboard at each end of the court.

Baseball Pass – A long one handed pass thrown with the same method used to throw a baseball.

Basket – The goal. The basket has a hoop (metal ring) with a net hanging from it. The hoop is attached to a backboard 3.05m above the court surface.

Bounce Pass – A pass in which the ball is bounced once between the passer and the receiver.

Box Out – When a player turns or pivots into the path of another player who is attempting to rebound the ball.

Centre Circle – The circle in the middle of the basketball court.

Chest Pass – A two handed pass that is thrown from the chest.

Coach – The team’s leader. The coach educates and develops players, determines player positions and applies strategy and plans for games.

Court – The playing area for basketball. The court is 28 metres long and 15 metres wide.

Defence – The act of retrieving the ball from the opposition or making it harder for the opposition to score.

Dribbling – Bouncing the ball with one hand. Either hand can be used but not both at the same time.

Fake – A misdirection ploy using body language and the ball to fool the opponent.

Field Goal – A shot that goes into the basket is a field goal except for free throws.

Forward – A playing position. There are two forwards on a team. Power Forward and Small Forward. These players are typically tall and powerful.

Foul – The act of illegally interfering with an opponent during play. Personal fouls and team fouls exist.

Free Throw – After being fouled by an opponent, a player gets one or more free throws from the free throw line.

Free Throw Line – A line on the court 5.8 meters from the baseline by which free throws are taken from.

Guard (Position) – A playing position. There are two guards on a team. Point Guard and Shooting Guard. These players are typically smaller and faster players who handle the ball well.

Guard (Defend) – An act of defence.

High Percentage Shot – A shot with a low degree of difficulty.

Inbound Pass – A pass made from outside the court of play to recommence the game.

Jump Ball – Used to commence play at the start of the game. The basketball is tossed into the air between two players by the referee and they jump to tip the ball to a teammate for possession.

Jump Stop – When a player stops by landing with two feet hitting the floor simultaneously. The player can then choose which foot to pivot on.

Lay Up – A type of basketball shot using the backboard as an aid to place the ball in the ring. A lay-up occurs when a player is near the ring and is generally considered a high percentage shot.

Low Percentage Shot – A shot with a high degree of difficulty.

Mid Court (Halfway) Line – The line that divides the court into two halves.

Offence – When your team has the ball you are playing offence.

Officials – The referees, score table officials and statisticians.

Out of Bounds – Outside the court of play.

Overhead Pass – A pass thrown from above the head with one or two hands.

Pass – One player throwing the ball to another player.

Personal Foul – The act of illegally interfering with an opponent during play. Each player can only foul personally five times in a game before being disqualified from further involvement in that game.

Pivot – When a player turns or pivots on one foot in order to change direction. The foot that they turn on is called the pivot foot. They can pivot in a forward direction (chest leading) or a reverse direction (back leading).

‘Man on Man’ Defence – A defensive strategy in which each defender guards a certain offensive player by standing as close to them as possible.

Possession – When a player has the ball in their hands they are in possession. A team is in possession when one of its players has the ball in their hands.

Rebound – When a shot hits the hoop or backboard and misses the basket players will compete to catch it. This is a rebound. Rebounds can be offensive or defensive.

Referee – An official who makes sure that the rules of the game are followed.

Shot – A type of shot attempting to get the basketball in the ring (jump shot, three point shot, trick shot, corner shot).

Shoot – To shoot the basketball at the basket in an attempt to get it in the ring (entering from the top only).

Sideline – There are two sidelines, one on each side of the court.

Square Up – When a player turns their body toward the basket after catching the ball.

Stride Stop – When a player lands with a stride action, one foot touching the ground before the other. The first foot becomes the player’s pivot foot.

Substitution – Interchanging of players from off court (substitute) with those on court (player). This is done during breaks in play.

Team Foul – Any personal foul becomes a team foul. If your team incurs more than 4 teams fouls per quarter the opposition shoots foul shots on any further fouls in that quarter (varies by competition).

Team Manager – The person responsible for looking after the players off court requirements and game day requirements. Not related to coaching.

Travelling – A violation occurring when a player walks or runs with the ball without dribbling.

Triple Threat Position – A stance that gives the offensive player the option to shoot, pass or dribble the ball.

Turn Over – An error that gives possession to the other team.

Violation – When a rule is broken.

Find a coaching course or clinic