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Youth Basketball Basics

A Basketball Primer for Parents


When a team scores, there are a few things to remember:

  • A made basket is generally worth two points and the ball is awarded to the opposing team out of bounds under the basket. 
  • If a shot goes in the basket from a player with both feet beyond the three-point line or arc, the made basket is worth three points ("three-pointer").

  • A basket made from the foul/free throw line is worth one point. 

  • A foul committed when the player is in the act of shooting a basket results in two free throw attempts (three if the foul occurs while the player is attempting a three-point basket).  One foul shot is awarded a player when he or she is fouled in the act of shooting but makes a basket despite the foul.

  • Fouls which are not committed in the act of shooting do notresult in the taking of foul shots/free throw attempts unless the team committing the foul has accumulated seven fouls ("over the limit"), in which case the player fouled is awarded one foul shot, and, if he makes it, a second "bonus" free throw (a so-called "one and one").  If the team accumulates ten team fouls, the player fouled is awarded two free throws, even if he or she misses the first (a so-called "double bonus"). 


Personal Fouls: A foul is committed when a player makes  illegal physical contact with an opposing player.  When the referee calls a foul, play stops.  Some common fouls are:

  • Shooting fouls (hitting the arm or hand of a player in the act of shooting)

  • Pushing/Blocking/Over the Back: pushing a player or reaching over his back to try to gain a better position to rebound a missed shot

  • Reaching In: slapping the hand of a player to try to steal the ball (no foul if only touch the ball)

  • Holding or grabbing a player 

  • Excessive contact that allows the player to gain an unfair advantage

  • Blocking the path of a defender trying to cover a player (illegal screen)

  • Knocking down a defender who has established his position on the floor (called "charging")

The referee will tell the official scorer who is seated at a table along the sideline at center court the number of the player who committed the foul and give a  signal  indicating the kind of foul.  For a list of the referee signals, click here.