The basketball rulebook for pretty much any league will likely be filled chock-full of regulations, probably way too many regulations to remember following a single reading. Or 20 readings. And some guidelines will certainly appear to be so insignificant you've got to wonder how often, if at all, these regulations are likely to come into play. However for a majority of our coaching, we really do not require knowledge of every little rule word for word.
Granted, I know of coaches and even a player or two who could quote the entire rulebook, line by line, and point to the pages where any particular rule is to be found. But for practical purposes, what we ought to be aware of are the fundamental, most significant regulations, the guidelines which regulate the vast majority of game time and that we are most likely to use in the game.
While just about any league - high school basketball up to the NBA - is going to have different versions of the rulebook, in addition to distinct interpretations of many of the basketball rules, the key rules can be structured in to a couple of basic categories of violations.
Just when is the ball in play, and when isn't it? What has to happen to get the clock going (the time begins once the basketball is contacted by a player in the game) and what stops the time (time running out, referee blowing his whistle.) Will the basket be counted if your player is fouled on the shot (continuation?) How much time is permitted for time outs? What number of time outs would you receive in the game? When can you call them? When are you able to call a substitution?
2. Ball Handling
What exactly are players allowed to do with the basketball, and just what will cause them to surrender possession of the ball to the other team? These kinds of rules will focus on items like dribbling (double dribble is a no-no), traveling (how many steps are acceptable while not dribbling, legal versus illegal footwork), three seconds in the key, time allowed to take the basketball across half, goal tending and so on.
What type of contact among offensive and defensive players is regarded as legal, and what contact is illegal? What penalties are enforced for creating that physical contact? These kinds of guidelines would clarify exactly what a player would have to do to be called for fouls including illegal screens, charging or blocking, holding and pushing fouls. This area of the rulebook would also go over the main distinctions between personal and team fouls, technical and unsportsmanlike fouls.
Additional info and more detail on these violations can be found on the basketball rules page on my basketball coaching site.
You ought to know these critical rules to coach high school basketball. Maybe not memorize the entire rulebook, but you should certainly understand these most basic basketball rules. They are fundamental guidelines committed to supporting the basic principles of the sport, and will be enforced in any game.
Like I've stated above, the rulebook will likely differ a bit from one league to another in their interpretations of the regulations. Every league will determine what it feels will be the correct number of officials to have on the floor and at the table at any time, the agreed-upon design of score sheet that can be used, and so on. But virtually all rulebooks are going to address and focus on these fundamental rules, and being familiar with them, at the very least in general terms, will support your coaching in games and in practices, and help you lead your team to a successful season.
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Undoubtedly, basketball is one of the most popular games all around the world and although it
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