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Is Basketball Hard to Learn?

Is Basketball Hard to Learn?

Around the world, there are over 800 different sports played by individuals from nearly every country. From the more popular ones such as soccer, football, basketball, and baseball, to the more obscure ones such as aggressive inline skating and camel racing.

However, from the full list of 800 sports, perhaps none are as easily understood, or grasped, as basketball. One of the most straightforward sports in the world, basketball has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity and viewership, largely due to the NBA and its ease of play.

However, although basketball is relatively easy to learn, it can be one of the more difficult sports to master.

Below, we are going to discuss just whether or not basketball is hard to learn. In addition, we will review the basic rules of the sport, the most common formats of the game, and offer some tips and tricks to help you better excel and grasp the game.

Basic History of Basketball

Basketball was invented in December of 1891 by Dr. James Naismith.  A Canadian professor of physical education and instructor at the International Young Men’s Christian Association Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, Dr. Naismith was looking for an activity to keep his class busy and active on a rainy day.

However, in looking for a proper indoor sport, Dr. Naismith sought to find a sport that was both vigorous and one that would keep his students occupied and provide them with a proper level of fitness during the long, cold New England winters.

After sifting through a number of ideas, rejecting many as either too rough or poorly suited for indoor play, Dr. Naismith landed on a game which would require players to pass a ball to teammates and to score points by tossing the ball into peach baskets mounted on an elevated track.

Initially, however, the peach baskets used for the first few games had their bottoms intact.  This meant that the ball had to be manually retrieved after each point scored.  This proved to be a cumbersome requirement and Dr. Naismith quickly removed the bottom of the baskets, allowing for the ball to poked out after each score.

Furthermore, in the original game, the sport was played with a soccer ball.  These soccer balls were made with a set of laces, causing the ball to bounce chaotically and unpredictably.  However, in the original game, the act of dribbling was not set-forth.  Rather, to move the ball forward, players were expected to pass the ball to their teammates.

It was not until 1906 when the peach baskets were finally replaced with metal hoops and a backboard.  Further changes were made, including allowing for enough space for the ball to pass through the hoop and for specialized basketballs to be made for the sport.  These basketballs removed the laces from the exterior and were even approved by Dr. Naismith himself.

And lastly, the baskets were originally nailed to the mezzanine balcony of a playing court.  However, this proved to be quickly impractical as spectators above the balcony would interfere with shots.  As such, the backboard was introduced to help prevent this interference and would allow for rebounding of shots to occur.  

Is Basketball Easy or Hard to Learn?

Admittedly, basketball is one of the easiest sports to learn how to play. However, in order to excel at the game, an individual must put in the time, focus, commitment, and effort. That is, while the sport itself is relatively straightforward, in order to excel and play a starting position, you will need to put forth significant time, commitment, and effort into the game.

However, if you are just looking to learn the basic mechanics and rules of the game, then basketball is relatively easy to understand. For beginners and newer individuals to the game, the basic rules and fundamentals of the game can be learnt in just a couple of hours.

From shooting the basketball, to dribbling, passing, and rebounding, many of the core basketball techniques can be learnt quickly and easily.

However, becoming a great shooter, dribbler, passer, or rebounder does take time to learn and master. And, depending on your level of effort and your own goals, becoming an expert can take multiple years and countless hours of practice.

What Are The Basic Rules of Basketball?

The basic rules of a basketball game can vary dependent on the level of play.  For example, the rules of the NBA differ slightly then those of the college game which may differ slightly from those of the high school game. 

However, there are some basic rules of basketball that are present throughout any stage of the game. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common and basic rules of the sport to help you get started.

  • Dribbling – The player with the ball, the offensive player, must dribble or bounce the ball with one hand while moving both feet.  If, at any time, the player stops dribbling or both hands touch the ball, the player cannot resume dribbling unless they first pass or shoot the ball.
  • Must Remain Inbounds – a player with the ball in their possession must remain within the bounds of the basketball court. Stepping outside of the court, while maintaining possession of the basketball, will result in a loss of possession of the ball.
  • Point System – Any shot made from within the inbound line beneath the basketball rim to the three-point circumference will be counted as two points.  Similarly, any shot attempt made past the three-point circumference will be counted as three points.  This includes any shot a couple of inches past the three-point line to any shot well behind the three-point line.
  • Shot Clock Rules – if you are playing in a regulation league, you will likely find a shot clock limit. The shot clock is meant to limit the amount of time a team on offense has to attempt a field goal. For professional leagues, the shot clock is set to 24-seconds.  This means that the offensive team has a full 24-seconds to make a shot attempt.  The shot attempt must be released from the palm of the player within 24-seconds and shall only be reset if the ball successfully touches the rim and the offensive team secures an offensive rebound.
  • Prohibited Use – in basketball, a player is prohibited from using their legs or feet to interact or interfere with the basketball. Any such use of the legs or feet will result in a loss of possession of the basketball.