Basketball – Common Terms

We have listed here a few common terms frequently used in Basketball −

  • Offending team − The team possessing the ball is the offending team.

  • Defending team − The team that doesn’t possess the ball and tries to get control of it is the defending team.

  • Shot clock − Shot clock indicates the amount of time allotted to an offending team to make a goal. If the team cannot make a goal it is a shot clock violation and the ball is given to the opposite team to inbound it. The clock usually is set for 24 seconds in FIBA and NBA matches. The clock is set back to the full limit, when the ball touches the basket or passes through the basket. In some cases, after a foul the shot clock is usually set to a lower number, 14 in NBA and FINA matches.

  • Key − The painted area of 16 feet wide in professional basketball courts.

  • The basket ball gun − This ball gun shoots the basketball back to the player. It is used while training.

  • Dunk shot − A player takes a dunk shot when he/she jumps and pushes the ball through the basket.

  • Free throw − When a player is granted a free throw he/she can try to make a goal from 15 feet without any obstruction from the opposing team. Free throws are also granted to opposing team when a player makes technical fouls.

  • Penalty situation − A team falls in penalty situation if it commits five fouls in one quarter. Penalty situation grants free throws for the opposing team after a foul.

  • Held ball − Sometimes a player is surrounded by too many opponents that he cannot pass the ball to any of his teammates. He holds the ball tightly and sometimes even one of his opponents might also hold the ball at the same time. To take control of the ball, one of them should snatch it by force. This situation is called a held ball.

  • Jump ball − A referee may call for a jump ball to deal with a held ball situation and bring the ball back into play. The referee also starts the game with a jump ball. A ball is thrown vertically in the air between two opponents. Any one among them pushes it to a teammate.

  • Point guard, Shooting guard, Small forward, Power forward, Center − These are various positions of team members. It is not necessary for them to take a particular position, and a team may choose to discard team positions. It is sometimes used to attract attention and to satisfy viewers.