Free Youth Basketball Glossary

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Free Youth Basketball Glossary – The information provided in this glossary has been “simplified” to assist coaches of all levels. Whether you are just starting out (beginner coach – needing the basics), have been away from the game for a while (and need a refresher), or have experience coaching (and would like to pick up a new idea or remember an old one) – this glossary will assist you. We would appreciate any feedback and / or suggestions regarding our Free Youth Basketball Glossary – send us an email at

Free Youth Basketball Glossary

Free Youth Basketball Glossary

Free Youth Basketball Glossary





The assist can be described as a pass that is made to another player that leads to the scoring of a basket (player must score a basket off the assist). All players are credited with assists, but it is normally important to a “point guards” game performance. Point guards are usually the players that are “judged” by how many assists they have per game (since they are the playmakers).


The board that the basket is attached to, and usually made out of fiberglass. All backboards should have a “square” marked on them (directly behind the base of the rim).

Backcourt (Backcourt violation):

Once the Offensive team has passed the half court line, they cannot: a) dribble and/or b) pass back over the half court line. If this occurs, a “Backcourt” violation will be called by the referee and possession of the ball will go to the other team.

Backcourt (Guards):

A reference given to player positions on the court. Ex: The Backcourt has not scored many points (meaning the “guards” have not scored many points).

Ball Handler:

In a game situation the “ball handler” is usually the player (Or players) that can dribble the ball extremely well. The Point guard is usually the best “ball handler” on the team. Good ball handlers can dribble the basketball without having to look at the ball, they can see what’s happening on the court (they can see the floor).


The baseline is basically the end line areas of the basketball court. The area where the ball is in-bounded (passed in) the majority of the time. The baseline areas can be referenced as inbounds or out of bounds.

Basket (The Hoop):

A round (usually metal) rim that is attached to the backboard. A net is attached to the rim and is usually made of nylon (sometimes metal chain for outdoors). The other meaning for “Basket” is when a shot is made or missed – “The basket was good” or “the player missed the basket (shot).”


Basketballs come in different sizes, styles, and textures. Youth size basketballs are usually labeled “junior.” The size of a Women’s basketball is 28.5” and Men’s Basketballs are 29.5” in diameter.

Block Area:

The area that is marked by the large rectangular Block on the outside of the “paint” area. Used as a reference point for plays and post players to position themselves on offense (or defense). You may hear the phrase: Post the defender up on the block, front the player on the block, etc.

Blocking a Shot:

A “Blocked Shot” occurs when a defensive player touches the ball (or partially deflects the ball) when the offensive player is shooting the ball. The ball must be blocked as it is going in an upward angle, if the ball is blocked as the ball is going in a downward angle, this is a violation called “goal tending.” The basket will be counted whenever “goal tending” is called by the referee.

Blocking Foul:

A “Blocking Foul” occurs when a defender uses their body and makes contact with an offensive player with the ball.

Boxing Out:

Boxing out is when a player (offensive or defensive) gets position and prevents their opponent from getting a rebound. This skill is very simple to learn, but one of the hardest skills for players to master and remember to do in the game. Boxing out requires aggressiveness and toughness in a player.

Center (Post Player position):

Refers to the post player that is the tallest / largest on the team that plays in the middle on defense and the post area on offense. In youth basketball (the very young age groups) it is common for coaches to use a small “tough” player (in a 5-guard set) instead of a taller less “aggressive” player. Usually called the “Center” and/or numbered the “5.”

Center Court Circle (half court):

Located at the middle of center court. This is where the “Jump Ball” takes place the beginning of a game.

Charging Foul (Charge):

A “Charging Foul” occurs when an offensive player runs into (or over) a defensive player who already has position (the defender must first establish position).

Clear Out (“Clearing the Ball”):

Clear out has several meanings in basketball: The act of an a) defensive rebounder passing the ball to a teammate that is in the wing area (outlet pass), and / or b) an offensive rebounder passing the ball to a teammate in the wing to reset a play, etc. c) An offensive play designed to “open up” the paint area (clearing out the defense) so that a teammate can attempt an easy drive to the basket. This type of play has a familiar name of “Four Corners,” and works fairly well vs. man to man defenses.


The areas where the baseline and sideline meet and also where the half court lines meet the side lines. The corners are the “best” places for a pressing defense to trap. But, the corners are the worse place for ball handlers to dribble into.

Court: (court size)

A typical high school size court can be as large as 84 x 50 feet, but many high school and middle school courts are much smaller. The courts usually have “hard wood” floors, but a newer “hardened rubber” floor is also common (a cheaper solution for some).

Crossover Dribble:

A ball handling move that occurs when the ball handler switches their dribble from one hand to the other. The crossover should occur low and quick (some crossovers are wide and deceptive). The ball handler basically dribbles under the defenders hand (if the defender is close) and / or dribbles to change direction.


An offensive move where a player “cuts” to the basket, to the ball, or in front of a defender, to get open or deceive a defense. In the diagram: 1 cutting low to the basket, 2 cutting across to opposite elbow, 3 cutting low to the block, 4 cutting across the baseline, and 5 cutting high. Used in Zone and Motion Offenses.

Dead Ball:

A dead ball occurs when there is a stoppage in the game and can be any of the following: Referee blows the whistle (play is stopped, ball is dead), the ball has gone “out of bounds,” a jump ball (tie up call), etc. The game clock stops on all dead balls.


Defense is basically the team without possession of the ball that is trying to keep the other team from scoring a basket. All players should be able to play defense! When players are intense and aggressive on defense it creates problems for an offense.

Delaying the Game:

A scheme used by a team that is winning a game that helps them keep possession of the ball, while eluding their opponent. Delaying the Game is usually used towards the end of a game when a team try’s to take as much time off the clock as possible. The only way a defense can get the ball back is: a) Play tight man to man defense to try to cause a 5-second call and / or a turn-over or b) Foul the player with the ball.

Double Dribble:

A dribbling violation occurs when a player stops dribbling and then attempts to dribble again and if a player attempts to dribble with 2 hands.

Double Teaming:

Double teaming is a defensive tactic that consists of two defenders guarding the same player. Coaches use this a lot under the basket to keep a very good (or very big) player from scoring easy baskets.


The act of intentionally “striking or pushing” the basketball with the hand. Dribbling is a skill that players use in a basketball game to get around a defender, drive to the basket, get the ball up the court, get control of the ball, etc… A very important skill for players to learn, and one of the most difficult skills to master using either hand.

Dribbling Aids:

Any form of equipment that assists players with increasing their skill level while dribbling a basketball. A common type of dribbling aid are “dribbling glasses” (Also called “Blinders”).

Driving to the Basket (Penetrating the Lane):

An offensive move that a player with the ball uses to advance the ball to the basket. This move should be quick and is very effective when executed properly. Players that can drive to the basket effectively, add another dimension to an offense.


A shot used mainly at the High School, College, and NBA levels. Dunking occurs when a player “slams” the ball in the basket with one or two hands.


A “deceptive” move to “trick” a defender. There are different types of “fakes.” The “pass fake” is very effective and can throw off many defenders if executed correctly. The “shot fake” is a “one on one” move that is just as effective if done correctly. There are also “ball handling” fakes (cross-overs, behind the back dribbling, etc) but these are not usually referred to as “ball handling fakes” just “good moves”.

Fast break (Transition Offense):

The “fast break” starts when a defender rebounds a missed shot by the offense and “outlets” the pass to a teammate waiting in the wing area. The fast break ends when the ball gets to the opposite basket quickly (before the other team gets there).

Field Goal:

Field Goal is the same as “shot, or basket,” (the proper basketball lingo for taking a shot, making a shot, etc.) Ex: The player made 3 shots (the player made 3 field goals).

Flagrant Foul:

A foul that is made with “extreme” contact (violent in nature), and appears to be in an “intentional” manner to hurt or injure a player (bumping, elbowing, kicking, etc). Ex: An offensive player is in the air (attempting a lay-up) and a defender pulls the players’ shirt (putting the offensive player in harms way).

Forward: (Post Players)

Usually the player or players on a team that play under the basket (post players) and usually the taller/larger players on the court. Usually called “Forwards” and/or numbered the “3” or “4.”


The act of making “illegal” physical contact with a player while the ball is in play. Fouls can occur from a defender bumping into a player dribbling the ball, reaching in and/or slapping the offensive player dribbling the ball, moving their body (bumping) into an offensive player, bumping or hitting a player taking a shot, elbowing a player. A player cannot elbow, grab / hold, punch, push, scratch at, or trip a player on the other team. Offensive fouls can occur when the player dribbling the ball runs into a defender who has established position. Technical fouls can be called on players or coaches who are using unsportsmanlike conduct, too many players on the court, etc.

Free Throw Line (Foul Line):

When a foul is called the player may get to take Penalty shots. These shots are taken from the free throw line. The free throw line is 15 feet from the line to the middle of the rim.

Free Throw (Foul Shot):

A “free” shot taken from the free throw line after a foul has been committed. This type of shot cannot be challenged by the defense (that is where the “free” comes in). If a player is fouled while attempting to shoot and misses the shot, this player will get to attempt 2 free throws (3 free throws if the player was attempting a 3-point shot). If the player makes the attempted shot and gets fouled; the player will get 1 free throw. The offense and defense alternately line up to retrieve the rebound on a missed attempt from the free throw line. Starting with the defensive player in the position closest to the basket.

Free Throw line Extended:

An (imaginary) line that extends out from the Free Throw line to either Sideline. This line is used as a reference for player positions on the court.

Freezing the Defense:

The act of a player dribbling straight at a defender, forcing the defender to a) remain in their spot (instead of cheating out to where they think the offense is going to pass the ball). b) If this defender moves out of position in anticipation of a pass (and does not guard their area), they usually leave the middle wide open, hence, the offensive player can now drive into the lane (paint).


A defensive position that keeps an offensive player from receiving a pass into the post areas. Fronting is used to keep the ball from a post player that has very good low post moves (a), and also up high to keep the ball from a very good high post shooter (b). The Defender is “in front of” the offensive player as opposed to between man and basket.

Frontcourt (Post Players):

A reference to player positions on the court. Ex: The Frontcourt has not secured many rebounds during the first half of the game tonight (meaning the post players did not do a very good job of rebounding).

Game Clock: (Score Clock)

The clock that is the official “clock” being used to keep track of the game. Usually these clocks are large and there are two of them (one at each end of the court so that both teams can easily see them).

Getting Open:

The act of getting away from a defender to get in a position to receive a pass from a teammate. Some methods include: The V-Cut, Jab step, Curling, and the “push off.”


The players on each team that are usually the outside shooters, the best ball handlers, the fastest (and usually the smallest) players on the court. There are guards, shooting guards, and point guards (the player that runs the offense, usually the team leader). Usually numbered the “2” or “3, or “1” (Point Guard).

Half Court Press (Trap defense):

A pressing defense that starts at the opponents (offenses) side of the court. There are many different types of half court presses / trap defenses: 1-3-1 (shown below), 1-2-2, etc. The half court press is used to cause an opponent to commit turn-overs. This defense must be played with intensity and aggressiveness. If the first trap is broken, the offense could get an opportunity for an easy basket.

Imaginary Passing Line: (passing lane)

An imaginary line used to explain the concept of Man-to-Man Defense to players. Understanding the imaginary passing lines assist with player positioning in a man to man defense.


The act of bringing the ball into play. Ex: The ball is “dead” when it goes out of bounds anywhere on the court. The team that has possession must pass the ball to a teammate, who is on the court (in-play); to get the ball back into play (called in-bounding the ball).

In-bounds Play:

An “out of bounds” play that is set up to put the offense in a good position for a quick score or to get the ball in safely (without the defense stealing the ball, etc).

Incidental Contact:

Occurs when a defender makes contact with an offensive player and the contact is deemed insignificant (the referees do not call a foul). This type of contact is appropriate at times, but when allowed to continue for longer than it should, can cause problems in the game (if left unchecked for too long).

Intentional Foul:

A type of foul that is designed to “stop the clock.” Used mainly at the end of the game with the coach telling the players to “foul” in order to stop the clock, and get a chance to gain possession of the ball. Intentional fouls can also be called if there is “Excessive” contact during a foul.

Jump Ball:

The “jump ball” occurs at the start of each game (also called the “tip-off”) and at the center circle. A player from each team lines up inside the circle and also on the outside of the circle. The referee stands between the two players inside the circle and tosses the ball straight up. The two players attempt to tip the ball to a player on their team. Jump balls can also occur after two players “tie-up” the ball and the referee blows the whistle.

Jump Stop:

A move that players use to properly “stop” suddenly from a jumping motion. The Jump Stop is used at the start of a “screen” (jump stop and screen), used to jump stop and pivot, and also jump stop to shoot the ball. The jump stop is a necessary skill for players to develop to coordinate a proper stopping position (taking two steps and then stopping can be considered a traveling violation).

Junk Defenses (Examples are the Box and 1, Triangle and 2):

Types of defenses designed to take away an opponent’s strengths / stronger players (best outside shooters, best ball handler, etc) in order to take away their opponents advantage or momentum. These types of defenses can give an offense a tough time!


Referred to as the “easiest shot” in basketball. Lay-up’s occur when a player drives to the basket and finishes with a short, one handed “lay in” shot under the basket.

Lead Pass:

Occurs when a player passes the basketball in front of another player making it easier for the player to receive the pass while staying “balanced” and keeping their “momentum”. The Lead pass is hard for younger players to execute, but very useful.

Loose Ball:

A “Loose” ball occurs when neither team has possession, and the ball is “Live.” Possession goes to the team that picks up the ball first.

Low Percentage Shots:

This refers to a player that attempts a wild shot, or a shot from a distance far from the basket (Ex: A 3-point shot is a low percentage shot, the Lay-up a high percentage shot).

Man-to-Man Defense:

A type of defense where each defender guards an offensive player. Man-to-Man defense is also referred to as “Team Defense” because each player must “help” other players when needed ( such as “switching” defenders if a player gets screened, etc). Man-to-Man Defense is hard for the younger players to comprehend at first so give them time to get comfortable with this type of defense.

Motion Offense:

The offense that is used vs. an opponent who is playing Man-to-Man Defense. A motion offense utilizes screens, cutting, and lots of motion.

Movement without the Ball:

Refers to offensive players who do not have the ball and tend to stand still. Players must always stay active even when they do not have the ball. This makes it easy for a defender to guard a player. Keeping defenders busy, makes them turn away from the ball. Defenders tend to take their eyes off the ball when the player they are guarding is constantly moving, cutting, and faking movements when they do not have the ball.


The team that has possession of the basketball and is attempting to score points. Types of offenses include: Zone Offenses, Motion Offenses, and Inbounds plays. An Offense is set up as a “planned” pattern that is taught to the players (to keep the players organized on the court).

On the line / Up the Line:

A basic building block of teaching Man to Man defense. On the line / Up the line refers to the position of the defender on an imaginary passing line.

One and One: (1 and 1)

Refers to the free throws awarded because the other team has reached seven team fouls. A player that is fouled on this seventh foul shoots one free throw, but only shoots a second free throw if the first free throw was made. After 10 team fouls, two free throw shots are awarded, even if this player does not make the first free throw). A.K.A. Bonus and Double Bonus.

Out of Bounds:

When the ball travels out of the court area (the sidelines and baselines) the ball is out of bounds. When a ball goes out of bounds, the referees determine the spot where the ball went out (this is the spot where the team will in-bound the ball back into play).

Overtime (OT):

If a game is tied after the regulation time has expired, the game is extended. There are no “tie” games in basketball. Overtime periods are repeated until the tie is broken.

Paint (Lane):

The rectangular area from the free throw line to the baseline (painted area under the basket that extends up to the free throw line).


A pass is made when an offensive player that has possession of the ball “throws” it to another player on the same team. There are several types of passes: Bounce Pass, Chest Pass, Overhead Pass, Skip Pass, Outlet Pass, and “Passing off the Dribble”


Refers to the length of time used to represent quarters, halves, or overtimes in a basketball game as shown on the official scoreboard / score clock.

Pick and Roll:

A type of offensive play that usually includes two offensive players and has two options when executed properly. Option a) The ball handler drives to the basket off the screen, and b) the screener getting open after setting the screen and “rolls” (cuts to the basket after the screen).


Pivoting is a skill that allows a player to use their “footwork” to their advantage. A pivot is executed by first establishing a “pivot foot” (once established, a player cannot pick up and / or slide this foot). Once the pivot foot is established the player can pivot (spin around) around in a 360 degree circle if they want.

Point guard:

The point guard is usually the best ball handler on the team. Point guards must be able to dribble and “see” what’s happening on the court. Also referred to as the “playmaker,” “floor general,” and sometimes as the “quarterback.” Usually numbered as the “1.”


Basically the team that has control of the ball. The team with control of the ball would be considered to be on “offense.”

Possession arrow:

Usually a plastic sign with an arrow on each side of it used to keep track of possessions during the game. The sign sits at the scorers table and is “switched” after “jump balls” and / or at the end of each period of the game. Referees use the possession arrow as a guide to let them know which team has possession, and which team will be awarded possession next (during jump balls, or at the end of periods). The official scorer is in charge of keeping track of alternating possessions.


Refers to the areas of the court near the paint / lane areas that the forwards and centers usually are positioned on offense. There are two areas that refer to the “post” area. They are the “Low Post” and the “High Post” areas.

Post Players:

Usually the tallest and / or largest players on the court. Post players are usually referred to as Forwards and Centers. Usually numbered as the “3” or “4” (forwards), and “5” (center).

Post Up:

A term used to describe the act of an offensive player establishing position in the low post area. This position can be utilized not only for the offensive player to try and score, but also for the offensive player to “seal” off a defender (keeping them from moving to their area of responsibility – which in turn helps to disrupt the defense).

Press Breaking:

The offensive set up that a team uses when their opponent is running a “Full Court Pressing” defense. The pass is the fastest way for any team to break a pressing defense. Note: 1,2,3,4, and 5 are set up in a Press Break, and the defense (X’s) are set up in a Full Court Press!

Pressing (Full-Court Pressing / Defense):

Full court pressing occurs after an offense has made a basket (or when the other team is inbounding the ball). The defense immediately sets up on defense in an attempt to “steal” the ball back from their opponent (quickly). Full-court pressing is very effective if the traps are executed properly.

* This type of defense can produce a lot of offense (made baskets after steals, etc).

Quick Hitters:

Refers to plays that are designed and set up to give a team the opportunity for a quick score (basket). Quick Hitters can be designed out of inbounds plays, zone offense plays, motion offense plays, and even press breaker plays.


There are “offensive” and “defensive” rebounds. A rebound occurs after a missed shot attempt. Usually the missed shot bounces off the backboard or rim. Players that “box out” usually get more rebounds. Offensive players that rebound a missed shot usually get an easy basket (put-back) after the rebound. Any shots taken far from the basket ( 3-point shot, etc.) usually bounce further from the basket (long shot, long rebound).


The offensive player that catches a pass from another offensive player. A player that is getting ready to “receive” a pass should: a) have their hands out (away from their body), b) step to the pass, c) “look” the ball into their hands, and d) firmly catch the ball.

Referee (also referred to as Officials):

The referee is the “official” judge of the basketball game. All calls are usually final!

*Referees make good calls and some not so good calls, but it is important to remember that being a referee is very difficult (they only have a “split second” to make the call). Referees are attempting to look at 10 players on the floor while having to listen to irate coaches and parents. Coaches must not allow the players to lose focus because they are mad at the referees (this can take a player out of the game). Allow the Referees to do their job, and focus on your job as a coach. You will never see a Referee walk up to a coach and say “I made a bad call” and then stop the game to change the call! When a call is made, it is usually final (good or bad).

Reversing the Ball:

Refers to a strong pass made quickly around the perimeter (from the “strong side” to “weak side”). Used in a Zone Offense to get the ball around the defense quickly. Reversing the ball places the defense in a position where they have to recover and react.

Roster (Player Roster):

Refers to a list of players on a basketball team. The information on the roster usually includes the following: Players name, jersey number, height, and position. A more detailed roster would include: All of the above plus grade, address, phone number, AAU number, date of birth, etc. A roster may also include anyone who sits on the bench – coaches, scorekeeper, trainer, etc.

Safety Defender:

Refers to the player that gets back on defense first to ensure that the opponent does not execute easy “fast breaks” and / or a player that stays back so that there is always a defender in a position to defend their basket. In a) the defense is running a full court press without a “safety defender” leaving the long pass open, in b) the defense has a “safety defender” and X1 is in a good position to take away the long pass and get back to defend the basket easily.

Screen (Screener):

An offensive player that intentionally gets in a position to “block” a defender from guarding another offensive player to put the player in a position to be “open.” Screening is very important when running a motion offense. Screens are also used in zone offenses and many other circumstances (inbounds plays, press breakers, etc).

Sealing a Defender:

The act of blocking out a defender in order to get open for a shot, get in a position for a rebound, or to lengthen the time of a screen. Once a defender is “sealed” by an offensive player, the offensive player has a good advantage over the defender.

Seeing the Court (Looking up when dribbling):

A very important skill that all players need to develop. The player’s ability to see everything happening on the court while dribbling the basketball during a game. Usually point guards possess this very important and much needed court skill.

Shot Clock:

This is a separate clock usually located on top of the backboard (so the players can always see it), that specifies the amount of time the team on offense has to attempt a shot. Teams that do not attempt a shot in the specified time, will be charged with a “shot clock” violation. Ex: NBA shot clock is 24 seconds.

Short Corner Area:

The short corner is the corner that is formed by the baseline and the outside line of the base of the “Paint” area.

Strong Side: (Ball Side)

The side of the court that the majority of the players are on (the side that the ball is on). Usually Strong

Side is referenced with zone offense / defenses, and Ball Side is used with motion offenses / man to man defense (Ball Side / Help Side).

Shooter (shooting the ball):

The player that shoots the ball. Shooting the ball is a basic “art form” that takes a great amount of practice to perfect. The main parts of shooting the basketball include: a) hold the ball with fingertips (not with the palm), b) elbow in, c) opposite hand is only used to help balance the ball and never to assist with the shot, d) eyes on the target (front or back of the rim, just use the same target each time), e) follow through (shot hand stays up until the ball goes in the hoop or misses).

Shooters Range:

Basically the distance from the basket where players can make a high percentage of their shots. Players must understand their shooting range and try not to attempt shots from beyond their range. A good rule to use for players shooting range: If a player can make at least 6 out of 10 shots from a spot on the court in practice, then they are allowed to take that shot in a game.


The two outside lines that run the length of the court (opposite the baselines). When inbounding the ball along the sideline, a player is not allowed to move until the ball is passed in.

Sixth Man:

This references the player that usually comes off the bench first (the first substitute). Besides the starting players, this is often a team’s best player. The player that would most likely replace a starter if they got hurt or fouled out, etc. The sixth man position is a very important one, if fact, at most high schools / colleges / and the NBA, there are special awards for the “sixth man” position.

Squaring Up:

A player is “squared up” when they are facing the basket, shoulders parallel to the basket. Players shooting off balance or standing sideways are not “squared up” to the basket. Proper shooting form includes “squaring up” to the basket.

Starters (starting lineup / starting five):

The five players who are chosen by a coach to be the first on the court at the beginning of the game. The best combination of players that a coach chooses as “starters” does not necessarily have to be the teams’ best five players. The starting five should be the best five players that work together as a team (and want the team to succeed). This combination will provide you with the best results in the long run.


A very important component of playing defense. The basic step-slide: Players are low and with hands out / palms up, players step outward in a side to side motion, then pull the opposite foot in (slide). Players that have trouble with the step-slide usually commit more fouls and get beat more often than the players who can do the step-slide properly.


The act of a defender to force a ball handler in a direction other than where the ball handler would like to go. Steering is used mainly to force a ball handler into a trap and/or to force the ball handler to use their weaker dribbling hand.

Substitute (Subs):

Players who do not “start” the beginning of the game and “go in for” a player that is already in the game. The players on the bench ready to play in the game.

Switching (helping):

Occurs during the time when a player is getting screened and can no longer guard the player they were guarding. This player should shout out “switch” to alert a teammate that they need some help defense. Some coaches teach players to “fight” through screens set up high (not switch), and only switch under the basket near the baseline. “Switching” is usually the preference of the coach, and not a “standard.”

Team Fouls:

The fouls that all the players (and coaches) on a team commit are totaled up and logged in by the scorekeeper as team fouls. If a team reaches 7 fouls then their opponent will get to shoot free throws (called one and one). Once the team fouls reach 10, their opponent will automatically get to shoot 2 free throws. Team fouls are “zeroed” out at the end of the first half, and the team fouls are again tallied up at the start of the second half.

Technical Foul:

Fouls of unsportsmanlike conduct and / or non-game violations that referees feel are affecting the game. Misconduct of coaches, players, and spectators can also draw a technical foul if a referee feels it is necessary to keep the game under control. The penalty for a technical foul is usually one free throw and possession of the ball after the free throw is taken (made or missed). If a player or coach receives two technical fouls in a game it is an automatic disqualification for remainder of the game.

Three Second Violation (3-second):

A 3-second violation can be called by a referee if an offensive player (that does not have possession of the ball) stands in the paint area for 3-seconds or more. This violation is considered a turn-over, and the other team is awarded possession of the ball.

Three Point Shot (3-Pointer):

A shot that is taken from beyond the half circle line is counted as 3-points (as long as both feet were behind this line when the ball is released). Note: If a player attempts a 3-point shot, gets fouled, and the shot goes in the basket, there is a “rare” opportunity for a 4-Point play (made 3 pointer + 1 free throw).

Time outs:

A time out is a temporary suspension of a game. Coaches and / or players may call a time out during a game. The team that has possession of the ball can call a time out and either team can call a time out during a “dead ball.” There are Full, and 30 second time outs. Each team usually gets 3- Full, and 2 – 30 second time outs per game, and an additional time out is usually awarded if a game goes into an overtime period.

Transition Offense (See Fast Break):

When the defense “converts” into offense. Ex: when the defense gets a rebound, they are now on offense. Transition offense also refers to the fast break: When the defense rebounds / steals the ball, outlets to a teammate, and the ball gets up the court quickly.

Traps / Trapping:

The act of two defenders steering and manipulating the ball handler into an area where they must stop (usually picking up their dribble). The trap should take place in a corner area and never attempted in the middle of the court. The trap consists of one defender steering the ball handler, and the other defender cutting off the sideline to form the trapping “pocket.”

Traveling violation:

If a ball handler takes too many steps while dribbling the referee can call a violation (considered a turn-over by the player). Also called “walking.”

Triple Threat Position:

A basic offensive position that a player may: Shoot, Pass, or Drive to the basket out of. *Triple Threat basic position: Knees flexed (bent slightly), ball to the side, hands firmly holding the basketball, and always facing the defender.

Tunnel Vision: (The opposite of Seeing the floor)

Just as some players have the ability to “see the floor” because they are dribbling with their head up, some players have “tunnel vision.” Ex: A player wants to pass the ball to a teammate, but they are “staring” at the player they are getting ready to pass to, “telegraphing” where the pass is going to go. This makes it easy for the defense to anticipate where the ball is going (making it easy for the defense to steal the ball).


Turnovers are committed by offensive players who “lose” the ball. There are “Forced” and “Unforced” Turnovers. Unforced turnovers are errors by offensive players (poor passes, sloppy dribbling, mis-catching the ball, etc. (without pressure from the defense). Forced turnovers are caused by the defense (causing ball handlers to pick up their dribble, forcing the player to pass too high / low / or out of bounds).

V-Cut (and “push off”):

Basic offensive moves to assist a player with getting open. a)The basic steps of a V-Cut is to go “slow in, and fast out.” This starts by taking the defender slowly away from the ball (keep the defender to the side away from the ball, then cut quickly to the ball. b) The “push off” is legal when executed properly by only using a slight push-off, then cutting quickly to the ball.

Weak-side: (Zone)

The side of the court with the least amount of players (away from the side where the ball is). Usually Weak Side is referenced with zone offenses / defenses, and Help Side is used with motion offenses / man to man defense (Ball Side / Help Side). A main teaching principle of learning Man-to-Man Defense.

Weak Side Rebound Area:

The weak side block area (opposite the side of the ball). It is estimated that 70% of all rebounds can come from the weak side. It is important to ensure that players drop down to this position when it is their responsibility! The weak side rebound can be a very good opportunity for a quick basket. Many easy baskets (put-backs) occur here!

Wing Area:

The “wing” area can extend from the outside low wing to the high wing, but the majority of the time “Wing” refers to the high outside area! Ex: the 2 and 3 in the diagram are in the “wing” areas, and 4 is in the “low wing” area.

Zone Coverage:

The type of defense when players have the responsibility of guarding (protecting) an assigned area. The opposite of man to man defense. Players are playing an area and not guarding specific players until they come into their assigned area of responsibility. Zone offenses are ran against a zone defense.

Zone Defense: (X’s)

In a zone defense the defenders are responsible for covering areas of the court rather than individual players. The defense is denoted by the X’s in the diagram to the right.

Zone Offense: (O’s or 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

A type of offense that is run within the half court area vs. a zone defense. The players running a zone offense in the diagram to the right and are denoted by the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

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