A basket made during normal play, a field goal, is worth two points.  A shot from behind the 6.25m arc is worth three points.  When a foul is committed, foul shots (free throws) may be awarded.  These are taken from the free throw line 4.6m from the basket and are worth one point each.


Four quarters or two halves of play.  The length of the periods varies between age groups and competitions. The clock stops whenever the referee blows his or her whistle and is re-started when the ball is touched by a player on court.


Each side has up to twelve (may vary between age groups and competitions) players on their team.  Any five can be on court at any time. A coach can make substitutions as often as he or she likes, but must wait for an appropriate stoppage in play.


Basketball is theoretically a non-contact sport. Therefore the referee will call a foul against any player who makes unnecessary contact. Deliberate contact is penalised more severely with an unsportsmanlike foul and unsporting behaviour by players or coaches can be punished with a technical foul.
Each player can only commit five fouls during the course of the game. Upon receiving their fifth foul a player has ‘fouled out’ and must leave the game. A substitute can take their place.


Each side is allowed to commit four team (this figure may vary between competitions) fouls in each quarter.  Upon committing a fifth foul in a quarter, and for each subsequent foul in that quarter, the opposing side will be rewarded with two free throws.


The free throw is awarded if a player is fouled in the act of shooting, a team has committed five or more fouls in the quarter, or a technical or unsportsmanlike foul has been committed.  A player is awarded two free throws unless:

     ·   The basket is made, in which case they receive the points for the basket and get one bonus free throw.

     ·   The player was shooting a 3 point shot in which case they will be awarded three free throws.


Other rule infractions are called violations.  These are punished with the possession being passed to the other team, either at the side or end line.

Violations include:

Running with the ball and not dribbling (travelling/walking)

    ·     Dribbling with two hands or stopping dribbling and then recommencing (double dribble)

    ·     Kicking the ball (football)

    ·     Punching the ball

    ·     Taking the ball back into your defending half after you have already had the ball in your opponents half (back court/front to rear)

Other violations are time related.  These include:

    ·     Eight second violation (failing to get the ball into your opponents’ half within 8 seconds of gaining control)

    ·     Five second violation (failing to inbound the ball or to pass while closely guarded and not dribbling within five seconds)

    ·     Three second violation (standing in the painted area (zone/key) underneath the basket you are attacking for more than 3 seconds)

    ·     24 second violation (a team failing to shoot within 24 seconds of gaining control of the ball)