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Basketball jargon guide
Around the Academy:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


SKILLS ::
Basketball skills


RULES ::
Basketball rules

OTHER JARGON GUIDES ::

Find out what all the chat means



 
A

Air ball
A missed attempt at shooting a basket that fails to touch the rim or backboard

Alley-oop pass
When the ball is passed to a team member who then scores in a flamboyant style

Assist
A pass that leads to a team-mate scoring


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B

Backboard
The rectangle behind the basket which the ball can rebound from

Back court
The half of the court from which a team is defending

Bank shot
When the ball rebounds off the backboard into the net

Baseball pass
A one-handed overhead pass

Basket
The hoop and net through which the ball goes through to score. Also the name for a score

Bench
This is on the sidelines of the court and is where the substitutes sit during a game

Blocking
An illegal move by a defender who tries to stop the player with the ball by making contact

Bounce pass
A pass to a team-mate where the ball is bounced off the ground

Boxing out
Where a defensive player is positioned between the attacker and the basket to prevent them from winning a rebound


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C

Charity stripe
Another name for the free-throw line


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D

Dead ball
The description of action when the referee whistles for when play has stopped

Double foul
When two players commit a foul at the same time, resulting in a jump ball

Downtown
The name sometimes given to the area outside the 3-point arc

Dribbling
Moving around the court whilst bouncing the ball with one hand

Drive
An aggressive move towards the basket with the ball


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E


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F

Fake
When a player pretends to move or throw the ball one way, but actually makes another move to trick an opponent

Fast break
This is a counter-attack move when the ball is passed out quickly to team-mates who then sprint to the basket and shoot before their opponents can catch up to stop them

Field goal
Any basket scored that is not a free-throw

Four-point play
A 3-point shot followed by a successful free-throw

Free-throw
An unchallenged shot at the basket and is awarded after a technical foul, or a personal foul on a player in the act of shooting

Front court
The half of the court a team is attacking


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G

Goaltending
When a shot on its way down to the basket is blocked by a defensive player, or when a defensive player touches the ball as it is directly above the basket or on the rim


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H

Hook shot
The player starts with their back to the basket and pivots round before shooting with the ball played over their head


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I


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J

Jump ball
Used to start and re-start the game, with two opposing players jumping against each other to win a ball thrown by the official


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K

Key
The key-hole shaped area extending from the baseline under the basket


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L


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M

Man-to-man
A defensive strategy in which a player marks an opposing player

MVP
An award given to the "most valuable player"


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N

NBA
National Basketball Association - basketball's governing body in America


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O

Offence
When a team is in possession of the ball and trying to score

One-on-one
A single offensive player taking on a single defender during play

Overhead pass
A pass to a team-mate played over the head

Overtime
Five minutes of extra play are added on when the game ends with the scores tied


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P

Pivot
When a player with the ball moves in any direction while still keeping one foot in contact with the floor

Playmaker
Another name for the ball-handling guard, also known as the point guard


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Q


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R

Rebound
When a player gains control of the ball after a missed shot bounces off the backboard or the hoop


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S

Slam dunk
When a player jumps to reach the level of the ring and slams the ball into the basket

Steal
Gaining possession of the ball from a dribbler or passer

Swing man
A player who can play both the guard and forward positions


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T

Throw-in
A free throw from the side-line

Time-out
A one-minute break called by the coach

Tip in
A shot into the basket after the ball rebounds off the backboard

Travelling
When a player carries the ball rather then dribbling it correctly

Triple threat position
The standard position to protect the ball from an opponent, adopted after receiving the ball


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U


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V


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W


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X


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Y


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Z

Zone
Used as a defensive strategy to cover areas of the court rather than marking individual players



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