Basketball Glossary: Terms Every Aspiring Player Must Know

As parents, sometimes you worry about how safe activities like sports are for your children. Especially when it comes to something as aggressive and sporty as basketball, before your child takes the court for the first time, please make sure they’re familiar with these baseline terms.

All players should know, whether on the sidelines or the court. Basketball is a team sport that requires communication between players, coaches and referees to keep the game flowing nicely. 

With the onset of basketball fantasy app in India, you are more prone to play fantasy basketball and come across new terms that might either baffle you or amuse you. Moreover, fantasy basketball has brought children and adults to the same arena. Therefore, here are a few terms you and your child will come across while either spectating or playing basketball at home that will help in their understanding of what they’re doing:

  1. Airball: A failed attempt where the ball doesn’t touch the basket or the backboard.
  2. Assist: It’s a pass that brings a score to your team.
  3. Backboard: It is one of the most common terms that refer to the basket’s surface. 
  4. Back Court: This refers to the court area that is far from the offensive team’s goal.
  5. Bang the Boards: When your partner tells you to “bang the boards,” they mean to go hard or go home. This term is used when you want to play aggressively.
  6. Bank Shot: This shot is when your ball bounces back from the backboard and goes into the basket.
  7. Baselines: The baselines are also known as “end lines”. It refers to the lines extending across the ends of the courts behind the baskets. 
  8. Basket: The only way to win the match is to “basket”! The basket is attached to the backboard and comprises a metal rim from which a net hangs. 
  9. Behind-the-back Dribble: One of the trickiest and confusing move for the opponent is the behind the back dribble. It refers to when a player dribbles the ball behind their back.
  10. Behind-the-back Pass: When a player passes the ball from their back, it is known as a behind-the-back pass.
  11. Between the Legs Dribble: It is one of the most challenging moves for every basketball player. In this, a player dribbles the ball between their legs using their hands.
  12. Blocked Shot: This is when you are trying to put the ball into the basket, and somebody blocks your shot.
  13. Blocking: When your opponents block you using their bodies.
  14. Catch and Face: This is an excellent move where a player catches the pass and turns directly towards the basket before taking a shot.
  15. Change of Pace Dribble: This is done when a player is tackling a difficult opponent, and they use the combination of slow and fast-paced dribbles to confuse them. 
  16. Curl Cut: When the defender is behind the cutter, an offensive player cuts off a screen and heads toward the basket.
  17. Double Dribble: This move is considered illegal dribbling where the player stops and restarts dribbling to confuse their opponent. 
  18. Drive: This move refers to briskly moving towards the basket while aiming to shoot.
  19. Elbow: When an opponent illegally contacts you or pushes you with their elbow. 
  20. Fake: It is a risky move by the offensive team to give a hard time to the defensive team.
  21. Fast Break: This move refers to a situation when a player rushes to the court to beat the opponent from scoring a basket. 
  22. Field Goal: When a player scores a basket when the ball is still in play.
  23. Fish Hook Cut:  It refers to the move where a player quickly changes their direction before the opponent can figure it out. 
  24. Full-court Press: The act of guarding the opponents over the entire court.
  25. Goal-tending: Aiming for a shot that is either above the basket or in it.
  26. Guard: To have a close eye on your opponent so they can’t possess the ball or take a successful shot. 
  27. Held Ball: When two opponents try to possess the ball but fail to do so.
  28. Help Side: It is also known as the “weak side.”
  29. Incidental Contact: This refers to legitimate contacts between the players while tackling or defending.
  30. Inside Cut: The opponent passes the ball to its teammate and moves toward the basket to take a shot. 
  31. Jump Ball refers to when the referee tosses the ball to start the game. 
  32. Jump Shot: A jump shot is taken while jumping to put the ball into the basket. 
  33. Key: This usually refers to the free-throw or area where the refresh might give you a foul.
  34. Lay-up: A player advances closer to the basket to ensure a shot off the backboard. 
  35. Live Ball: When the ball is in action!
  36. Loading the Gun: While many people might get confused by the phrase, it means cocking the wrist to take aim at the basket and score a point. 
  37. Low Post: The area where it is the easiest to aim and score a basket. 
  38. Mid-court Line: The central line divides the entire court between the two teams.
  39. Net: The mesh that hangs off the rimmed basket.
  40. Offense: The team that has the ball in their possession. 
  41. Off the Dribble: Aiming the ball while moving towards the basket.
  42. Personal Foul: When your teammate contacts an opponent in a way that injures them, it might bring you a personal foul.
  43. Pivot: F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fans must know his term to be coined by Ross Geller, however apart from Ross’s iconic dialogue, it refers to the center position when the foot remains stationary while the dribbler passes the ball.
  44. Reverse Pivot: It refers to the situation when a player turns on the picot foot while taking a step back. 
  45. Squaring Up: Squaring up is used in its literal sense, which means standing in front of the basket while preparing to aim the ball. 
  46. Starting Lineup: When the game begins with the five players. 
  47. Technical Foul: A technical foul takes place due to the misconduct of a player, and it awards an additional point to the opponent. 
  48. Timeout: A temporary break time for the teams which suspends the game for quite some time or allows them to strategize their gameplay. 
  49. Violation: When a player breaks a specific rule 
  50. Zone Defense: When the defender carefully protects the area. 

These were some of the most common basketball terms that one might encounter while playing fantasy basketball or battling on the ground. Happy playing!

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