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Basketball Court Diagram and Positions

1- History & Object of the Game
2- The Essentials (Offense & Defense, Scoring, etc.)
3- Fouls
4- Court Diagram & Positions
5- Glossary of Basketball Terms

Field of Playbasketball court diagram

Basketball court dimensions vary slightly by level. However, all basketball courts have similar features:

Mid-court line: The offense has 10 seconds to advance the ball past the mid-court line and, once past it, commits a backcourt violation if it fails to keep the ball in the frontcourt.

Frontcourt: The half court area where the offense accumulates points.

Backcourt: The half court area where a team defends its basket.

Baseline: Line that defines out-of-bounds at either end of the court under each basket.

Sideline: The boundary marking out-of-bounds on each side of the court.

Key: Rectangular area that spans from the free throw line to the baseline. Also called the lane. A three-second violation is called if an offensive player stays in the key for three seconds or more.

Free-throw line: The line from which a free throw is taken following certain fouls.

Three point line: An arc-shaped line about 20 feet from the basket (varies by level) behind which shots are worth three points.

Basket: To score, the ball must pass over and through an 18-inch iron circle that is mounted 10 feet off the ground to a wood or glass rectangular backboard. A net hangs below the basket to help determine when a shot is scored.


Two teams of five players each are on the court at all times, and everyone plays both offense and defense. Players are usually assigned to a unique position. However, any lineup is acceptable, and these specific roles do not have to be filled at all times.

CenterCenter: Usually the tallest player. Position demands a lot of physical contact. On offense, receives ball and shoots close to the basket. Serves as the last line of defense, blocking opponents’ shots and rebounding their misses.

Power ForwardPower forward: Tall player who relies on strength and toughness to control activity in the lane. Frequently rebounds, especially on defense. Has a decent shot from short-range and scores many points by rebounding missed shots and quickly shooting them.

Small ForwardSmall forward: Versatile and very athletic player. Aggressively attacks the defense by driving and cutting towards the basket, but also has a consistent outside shot.

Shooting GuardShooting guard: A tenacious defender with an aptitude for stealing the ball. On offense, serves as the secondary ball handler and sharpshooter. Has the ability to convert shots from three-point range.

Point GuardPoint guard: Leader of offense who uses superb passing and dribbling skills to set up teammates for open shots. Has a reliable jump shot and ability to break down a defense by driving into the lane.

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