A non-contact sport played on a rectangular court. Opposing teams of five players attempt to score points by shooting a ball into a hoop at the end of the court they are attacking.
Basketball 1.jpg

What is Basketball?

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court.

The primary objective is to shoot a basketball through the defender's hoop at each end of the court while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Players advance the ball by bouncing it while walking or running (dribbling) or by passing it to a teammate, both of which require considerable skill. The defensive team may steal the ball from a dribbler, intercept passes, or block shots. It is a violation to lift or drag one's pivot foot without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands then resume dribbling.

Find out more about how to play basketball formats.

Equipment needed

  • A suitable indoor space
  • Hoops
  • Basketballs
  • Bibs

A brief history of basketball

Basketball was first played in Massachusetts in 1891. After twice being used as an Olympic demonstration sport, basketball made its official Olympic debut in 1936.

Wheelchair basketball has been part of the Paralympics since 1960 and has again been dominated by the Americans, who have won the tournament on 13 occasions. Paralympics GB have won eight medals in the sport – three silvers and six bronzes.

The sport is best known for the National Basketball Association (NBA), which has run seasonal competitions since 1950. Both the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, each with 17 championship wins, are the most successful teams in the competition’s history.

Get involved

The School Games is inclusive to all young people and provides opportunities for everyone to get involved, either within school, against other local schools, or at county or regional level.

School Games Organisers

School Games Organisers (SGO) help schools coordinate appropriate competitive opportunities for all young people from Key Stage 2-4, to recruit, train and deploy a suitable workforce, and to support the development of club.

Sign up to find your local SGO

Quick and easy basketball activity resources

We don't currently have any resources related to this sport.

See all resources