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Bball Basics for Kids: A Basketball Handbook
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Bball Basics for Kids: A Basketball Handbook

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by Bobby Kaplan

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It is not difficult to learn to play basketball. That's more, it can be really fun! Bball Basics for Kids is a step-by-step handbook featuring "Hoops," a playful, basketball-loving friend who shows kids of all ages the most important skills of the game.

Coach Bobby Kaplan knows basketball. He applies his experience of having coached more than a thousand


It is not difficult to learn to play basketball. That's more, it can be really fun! Bball Basics for Kids is a step-by-step handbook featuring "Hoops," a playful, basketball-loving friend who shows kids of all ages the most important skills of the game.

Coach Bobby Kaplan knows basketball. He applies his experience of having coached more than a thousand games to teach kids the basics of a sport that combines individual skills with the skills of teammates. For those who are just beginning to learn the game, Coach Kaplan shares practical tips on the fundamentals:

• Dribbling and passing

• Shooting and rebounding

• Playing defense

• Improving footwork on the court

Included is a history of the game, inspirational stories, warm up exercises, a glossary of basketball terms, and a sixty-minute self-improvement practice plan to help young players refine their skills.

Bball Basics for Kids not only teaches the basics of a great game played by millions around the world, but also educates young players about the enduring values of cooperation, respect, trust, sacrifice, and perseverance.

Bball Basics offers the unique opportunity for any basketball program to customize the handbook with their own personal photos.

Product Details

iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Bball basics for Kids

Basketball Handbook
By Bobby Kaplan

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Coach Bobby Kaplan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4620-4373-6

Chapter One

Getting Started in Bball Let's go!

Basketball is a fast-moving game played by over five hundred million people all over the world. Basketball combines your individual skills—how well you play—with the skills of your teammates. All members of the team must work together for one common goal. On offense, when your team has the ball, means doing everything together to help score baskets. On defense, when the other team has the ball, means doing everything together to stop the opposing team from scoring.

Basketball may seem like a hard game to learn, but like most games, the more you play, the easier it is to understand what's going on.

I'm sure you have watched games on TV and seen coaches quickly draw squiggly lines showing where players should go and what players should do. You may ask yourself, "How does anyone understand what the coach is telling his players? This seems so hard to understand." You will see ... It is not!

Actually, basketball is a simple game. If you try hard and practice the right way, your basketball skills will improve. How much they will improve depends on you and the effort you put into getting better.

Playing sports should be fun. If you are interested in becoming a basketball player just for the fun of it or to join a team, Bball basics will give you the solid beginner-level skills needed to play this sport.

You will not become a good basketball player overnight. Take your time learning, but learn it the right way. Improvement will come if you want it to happen.

One way to help you reach your goal of becoming a basketball player is to get a friend to work along with you. Together you can read this book, understand what it is trying to teach you, practice what it says to do, and coach each other to improve your individual skills.

One word about equipment: In the beginning, don't use a ball too big for your hands or practice shooting on a basket too high for you. Get a smaller basketball, lower the rim, and practice the right way. As you get older and stronger, you can work your way up to a regular-sized ball and a rim ten feet off the ground.

The Basics of the Game

The goal or aim of the game is to score more points than your opponent, the player or team you are playing against. Scoring happens when you put the ball through the basket. Baskets count for different points depending on where you shoot from. Some baskets count for three points (those taken from behind the three-point line), some for two (shots made in front of the three-point line), and some for one point (baskets made from the free-throw line).

Players move up the court by passing the ball to a teammate or dribbling (bouncing) the ball up the court. While five players make up a team in a real game, you can play the game of basketball with fewer players, even one against one. You can certainly practice most skills by yourself.

How This Great Game Started

The game of basketball was invented by a gym teacher named Dr. James A. Naismith back in the winter of 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. He invented the game so that kids at his school could run around indoors playing a game during the cold, snowy winter months.

Dr. Naismith tried different ideas before he attached a peach basket to the gym wall ten feet off the ground. Students were divided into two teams. The team that put the ball (which at that time was a soccer ball) into the basket more often won the game.

At first, after each basket scored, a ladder had to be brought out to take the ball out of the basket. This slowed down the game until Dr. Naismith came up with the idea of drilling a hole in the bottom of the peach basket so that a rod or stick could be used to push the ball out of the basket. Eventually, the bottom of the peach basket was cut out so that the ball could drop easily through after a basket was scored.

Over the next few years the game of basketball grew in popularity, and everybody started to play. Dr. Naismith soon realized that you can't just run around and do what you want—rules on how to play the game had to be created.

He developed thirteen basic rules for all to follow, and many of these regulations are still followed in today's game. In fact, Dr. Naismith's original regulations regarding the height of the basket, ten feet off the ground, and the diameter of the basket or rim, eighteen inches wide, are still used today.

Rims and nets were soon substituted for the peach basket, and the basic rules of the game were accepted and widely used. The first backboard, which was made of wood, was introduced in 1904, not to help shoot the ball but to stop fans from interfering with the shot! Many gyms had a running track as the balcony, and fans watching the game would swat at the ball to stop it from going in! No one is sure how the painted rectangle got on the backboard, but it became known as the shooter's square, helping shooters get the correct angle to "bank," or shoot the ball off the backboard.

It was not until 1901 that players could bounce (dribble) the ball, but only one bounce was allowed. Dribbling did not exist until that point! The original soccer balls that were used were too heavy to bounce. In 1909, dribbling as we know it today was introduced—you can now bounce the ball as many times as you want. Dribbling became an offensive skill.

Since the ball was still heavy and had laces on the outside, it took crazy bounces, making dribbling difficult. As the sport grew and grew in popularity, more and more rules were made to improve the game. Improvements were also made with the basketball itself. In the 1950s the ball was fixed to resemble the ball we use today, and dribbling became an offensive weapon.

Girls' basketball had a somewhat different beginning or evolution from the boys' game. At first, boys were not permitted in the gym to watch a girls' game because boys and girls did not mix socially during the early years of the sport in the 1900's. The girls' game of basketball was a lot different from the boys'. The girls' court was divided into zones (areas), and the players could not move out of their zone. Strange! Eventually, two rovers were permitted; only those players were allowed to move around the whole court. It was not until 1971 that women's basketball rules were changed to allow all players to use the full court.

Dr. Naismith could never have imagined that his newly invented game to get students running around in the winter months would become one of the most popular sports in the world.

Important Dates in Basketball History

1896: First college basketball game is played between Stanford University and the University of California

1936: Basketball becomes an Olympic sport

1938: The first college tournament is held (called the NIT, the National Invitational Tournament)

1939: The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) tournament is created

1946: The first professional basketball league is formed, called the Basketball Association of America (BAA)

1949: The NBA (National Basketball Association) is started, replacing the BAA

1954: The NBA institutes the twenty-four-second clock (meaning that the offensive team has to shoot the ball within twenty-four seconds)

1967: Another professional league is formed called the ABA (American Basketball Association). It combined with the NBA in 1976.

1972: Title IX Legislation is passed by Congress providing women with the same sports opportunities as men

1979: The NBA adopts the three-point shot (a basket made from behind the three-point line is worth three points)

1980: The shot clock is introduced in the college game along with the three-point line

1997: The WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association) is formed

The Basketball Court: Where It All Happens

Basketball is played on a court with two baskets (hoops) on opposite ends of the court.

Although there are official dimensions (sizes) for both junior high and high school basketball courts, often courts do differ in length and width. What is always the same is that there is a foul line and a three-point line, and the size of the basketball rim is standard at eighteen inches in diameter from one side of the rim to the other side.

The picture below shows the official high school basketball court with some important dimensions (eighty-four feet long and fifty feet wide) and areas on the court you need to know about. The official junior high school court is similar, but the dimensions are seventy-four feet long and forty-two feet wide. College and professional courts are bigger and have different dimensions for many areas.

As you know, basketball is an international sport and is played all around the world. Basketball courts outside the United States are a little different from those in America. Over the next ten years, the international basketball courts will be changing to look like those in the United States. This will help make the game the same around the world.

Here are some basic areas on a basketball court that you need to know about.

In bounds: The area inside the court lines (the gray area in the picture). The long side of the rectangle is called the sideline, and the shorter side the baseline.

Out of bounds: The area outside the court lines

Foul line: The line from where you shoot foul shots or free throws. Each foul shot made is worth one point.

Three-point line: If you shoot behind this line, the basket is worth three points. Baskets made inside the three-point line are worth two points.

Three-second lane: The white area near the basket in the picture of the court. If your team has the ball, you cannot be in this area for more than three seconds at a time.

The Ball and Basket

A regulation-sized boys' basketball is 29.5 inches in circumference (which means around the whole ball). The diameter (from one side to the other through the middle) of a boys' ball is less than 9 1/2 inches.

A girls' basketball is slightly smaller. A regulation girls' basketball is 28.5 inches in circumference and is just over 9 inches in diameter.

If you remember, when the game of basketball was invented in 1891, the game was played with a soccer ball. It was not until the mid-1900s that a new orange-colored basketball, similar to the one used today, was introduced. The ball was orange so that it would be easily visible to the players.

How Long is a Game?

For elementary, middle school, high school, and professional leagues, a game is divided into four parts or quarters. A quarter in a high school game is eight minutes long. In younger grade levels it may be anywhere from six to eight minutes long. In professional games quarters are twelve minutes long. College games are divided into two halves, each twenty minutes long.


Most games have rules. These rules or instructions tell you what you can and can't do to play the game right.

Basketball also has rules to follow. When you break these rules it's called a violation, a fancy word for breaking a rule. When you play a game, a referee (usually wearing a funny black-and-white striped shirt) makes sure that you are following or obeying the rules.

Many of the rules and regulations of the game may seem at first to be hard to understand or confusing. But the more you play the game, the better you will understand what is okay to do and what not to do. Let's go over some of the basic basketball rule violations.

What is a foul?

Basketball is a physical game. Players are moving around a lot and do bump into and hit each other. However, you cannot bump or hit an opposing player in such a way that it hinders (stops) his ability to play offense or defense. Whether you mean to do it or not, it is still a foul. The best way to explain this is to give you some examples. You cannot:

• Hold a player going for the ball

• Slap the arm of a player shooting the ball

• Trip a player running down the court

• Jump on someone's back as he or she goes up for a rebound

• Charge into a player who is standing still on the court

How many fouls are you allowed?

In middle school and high school, a player is allowed up to five fouls in a game. After committing the fifth foul, the player has fouled out and must leave the game and is not allowed to return. So although everyone gets fouls called against them—it is a part of the game—you have to be careful not to foul too much. Your team needs you in the game! Also, if you foul someone, the other team will get possession of the ball (meaning they are now on offense and you are on defense). If you foul a player shooting the ball, or your team has too many fouls, they may be rewarded and shoot one or two foul shots.

What is traveling or walking?

When you are holding the basketball you cannot travel or walk with it. You are allowed to pick up and move one foot off the floor, but your other foot, called the pivot foot, must stay on the floor. You can turn your pivot foot in any direction, but you cannot pick it up off the floor.

You cannot take steps with the ball without dribbling it. This is called a traveling or walking violation, and when it is called the other team gets possession of the ball.

What is a double dribble?

If you are moving and dribbling the ball and stop dribbling, you cannot dribble again. If you do dribble again, it is called a double-dribble violation.

A double-dribble violation also happens when you dribble the ball with two hands at the same time. You are only allowed to dribble with one hand at a time. You can switch hands while dribbling—first dribbling with your right hand and then switching your dribble to the left hand—but you cannot dribble with both hands at the same time.

A double-dribble violation results in possession of the ball going to the other team.

When is the ball out of bounds?

Basketball is played on a rectangular court with lines around the edges. Inside the lines is in bounds, meaning where the game is played. Outside the lines is out of bounds, meaning if the ball is hit or thrown outside the lines of the court, the ball is out of bounds (off the court). The ball is then given to the other team to in-bound it—throw the ball into the court to a teammate to continue playing.

What is a three-second violation?

An offensive player, a player whose team has the ball, cannot stand in this lane near the basket (see page 7), for more than three seconds at a time. This lane is called the three-second lane. If the referee sees you "hanging out" in the three-second lane too long, he will blow his whistle and call you for a three-second violation. The other team will then get possession of the ball.

Let's Meet the Players

In a game, five players are on the court at the same time for each team. Hoops is going to help me explain what each position is about and what they are usually expected to do. Coach K sometimes calls these positions "spots," and they are numbered one to five.

Some Thoughts on Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship can be summed up in one word: respect.

Respect your teammates, your coach, the referee, the opposing team, and the fans watching the game. Play the game with effort, observe the rules at all times, and win or lose courteously—in a nice way.

Your opponent in basketball is not your enemy. You don't have to like someone to be respectful. For example, you may not agree with a referee's call, but you have to respect the call. You can question the call, but do so in the right way—with respect.

Refereeing a game is a tough job. Without a doubt, during the course of a game there will be some calls made by the referee that may not seem right or accurate. You must remember that a ref must make decisions in a split second—very quickly. No one is perfect! You must accept the call and play on. As you grow as a player, try refereeing any sport, and you will see how difficult it is.

Basketball is a physical sport—meaning that players often bump into each other, get hit with an elbow, trip or fall on the court, and so on. However, during a game you cannot intentionally hit, push, kick, or trip the other team's players. Even if you do not do it on purpose, the referee can call a foul on you.

Trash talking—making fun of or talking "down" to people—has no place on the court. Trash talking can lead to rough physical play and, in some cases, actual fights. Just play the game as best you can without embarrassing the opposing team, coaches, fans, referees, or your own teammates. Be a good sport!


Excerpted from Bball basics for Kids by Bobby Kaplan Copyright © 2012 by Coach Bobby Kaplan. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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