Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world and one of the most widely viewed. It is a team sport that involves two teams of five active players each trying to score points against one another by throwing a ball through a 300cm (10 foot) high hoop (the ‘basket’) under organised rules. It is played on both indoor and outdoor courts.
The size of the court, height of the basket, size of the basketball, and length of time that the game is played, all vary according to the age, size and skill level of players.
Basketball is a fast moving game that involves a lot of variety, including shooting, dribbling, passing, rebounding, defence and much more.
Basketball involves a lot of starting and stopping. While not renowned as an aerobic sport, it is still a great workout that can help you:
- Burn calories (an hour of basketball can burn 630–750 calories)
- Build endurance
- Improve balance and coordination
- Develop concentration and self-discipline
- Build up muscle.
As well as being a great way to stay fit, basketball can also:
- Help you to make new friends and see them regularly
- Teach you about being a good team player
- Be played by people of all ages and all abilities
- Be played all year round because it’s usually an indoor sport
- Be a fun game that kids of all levels and ages can enjoy
- Be practised alone – all you need is a net and a hoop (and you can find a hoop in most local parks and school grounds)
- Be played and enjoyed with as few as two people (although official games require 10 players).
One of the great things about the game is that apart from having a basketball, you require very little other equipment to play. However, as basketball involves a lot of running and jumping, it can also be wise to have the following:
- Basketball or sports shoes that provide good ankle support
- Mouth guards
- Protective knee and elbow pads
Some general tips before playing;
- Adults should check with their doctor before taking up basketball.
- Be aware that basketball is a fast-action game with lots of running, jumping, pivoting and twisting, so injuries and accidents can happen easily.
- Basketball puts a lot of stress on the legs, especially the knees and ankles, and puts pressure on tight shoulders.
- Protect yourself by becoming strong and flexible, as basketball is a very physically demanding game.
- Warm up and stretch your muscles and joints before hitting the court. Also cool down and stretch after playing.
- Make sure you have plenty of fluids on hand and rehydrate regularly.
- Don’t overdo it (this will depend on your age and condition). Mix it up with other low-impact sports.
- While playing in a full team competition is great, you can also have fun and benefit from a small space, a basket and a game of one on one.