Terminology

basket hoop basketball

Airball: An aimless shot which misses everything including the rim, the backboard, and the net.

Alley-Oop: The type of basket scored by a player where he collects a pass and dunks the ball into the net in a single jump.

And One: A term used for when a player who is fouled as he takes a shot which goes in gets one free throw.

Assist: When a player makes the pass which leads to a basket, he earns an assist.

Backboard: A rectangular board the rim or hoop is attached to.

Backdoor: An offensive move which involves a player without the ball cutting behind the defender and moving towards the basket for pouncing on any scoring chance that may arise from a directed pass.

Bank Shot: A shot which bounces off the backboard and goes into the net.

basketball player blocking the ball

Block: A defensive action in which a player blocks the opponent’s shot by intercepting the ball with his hand(s).

Box Out: When a shot goes up, players use this technique, where they stretch their limbs wide in a shielding stance, to act as a barrier between an opposing player and the ball and get into a better rebounding position.

Buzzer Beater: A shot, taken before the quarter-end buzzer, which goes into the net after the buzzer goes off.

Carry: A violation where a player holds the ball in his hand(s) for an excessive amount of time, while dribbling, resulting in a turnover penalty.

Charge: A foul where an attacking player runs into a stationary defender and knocks him over, resulting in a turnover penalty.

Cherry-picking: A controversial tactic which revolves around a player who is tasked with lurking near the opponent’s basket for scoring opportunities, while making little to no defensive contribution.

Double: A term used for when a player reaches double digits in points, assists, steals, blocked shots, or rebounds. A double-double means the player has double digits in two categories, triple-double means he has double digits in three categories, and so on.

basketball player running with the ball

Double Dribble: A violation where a player dribbles the ball using both hands, resulting in a turnover penalty.

Fast Break: A strategy in which a team plays the ball forward with an intention to score a basket as soon as they make a steal, block a shot, or gather a rebound.

Field Goal: This term refers to both two- and three-point shots but not free throws.

Flop: A term used when a player exaggerates the impact of physical contact to draw a foul on an opponent.

Free Throw: An unchallenged scoring chance, from behind the free throw line, given to the team that suffered the last foul. It is worth one point.

Full-court press: A defensive tactic in which a team defends the entirety of the court rather than the usual half-court.

Lay-Up: A shot taken while moving towards the hoop or when in close proximity of it and which bounces off the backboard into the net.

Man-to-Man: A defensive tactic in which each defender marks one player on the opposite team.

basketball player dribbling the ball

Outlet: An attacking strategy in which a player collects a defensive rebound and passes the ball to a teammate to start a fast break.

Press: The strategy in which the defence applies pressure on the opposing team to gain possession of the ball.

Post Up: A tactic in which a player, positioned near the basket area, faces his back towards his direct defender in order to easily receive a pass.

Pick and Roll: An offensive style in which a player in possession is guarded by his teammate who then moves towards the basket to receive a pass.

Rebound: A term used for when a player collects the ball after a missed shot by either team.

Run-and-gun: This strategy is heavily focused on moving the ball forward quickly through fast breaks to create as many scoring opportunities as possible. Although this move bags more points for the team, it also risks conceding points to the opponent.

Screen: A move in which a player shields his teammate carrying the ball against the opposing defender.

Sixth Man: The player who comes as the first substitute off the bench is called the ‘sixth man’. Typically, the sixth man is used more often than other players in a game.

basket hoop basketball

Swish: A kind of basket in which the ball touches nothing but the net, creating a “swish” sound.

Three in the Key: A violation in which an offensive player stands in the paint area or key of the opponent for more than three seconds, resulting in a turnover penalty.

Travel: A violation where an offensive player moves his pivot foot illegally or takes three steps without dribbling the ball, resulting in a turnover penalty.

Triple Threat: The player who has received the ball for the first time has all the three offensive options to choose from–pass, shoot, or dribble–and is thus called a triple threat.

Turnover: A penalty where an offensive foul, steal, or out-of-bounds violation causes a team to lose possession to the opposition.

Zone Defense: A defensive tactic which involves guarding a specific area of the court.