Basketball Glossary and Terms
• Air Ball: The ball misses the hoop and backboard entirely.
• Alley-oop: A high arc pass to a teammate in a position near the basket to leap and score.
• Alternating-possession rule: A rule in which teams take turns possessing the ball after stopped plays.
• Assist: A pass that sets up a score.
• Backboard: The surface to which the basket is mounted.
• Back Court: Area of the court farthest from the offensive team's goal.
• Back Door Cut: A player approaches quickly from behind a defender toward the basket.
• Back Screen: An offensive player moves away from the basket to set a screen for teammate.
• Ball Fake: To fake a pass or shot.
• Bang the Boards: An aggressive rebound.
• Bank Shot: The ball bounces off the backboard and into the basket.
• Baselines: Also known as "end lines", the boundary lines extending across both ends of the court behind the baskets.
• Baseline Pass: A player passes the ball single-handedly to a cutter advancing toward the basket.
• Basket: The scoring goal attached to the backboard and is comprised of a metal rim from which a corded net hangs.
• Behind-the-back Dribble: A dribble from one hand to the other behind the back.
• Behind-the-back Pass: A pass made behind the body.
• Between the Legs Dribble: A dribble between the legs from one hand to the other.
• Blocked Shot: A shot deflected on its way to the basket.
• Blocking: Using the body to block an opponent.
• Bonus Free-throw: Also called "one-on-one"; a free-throw awarded a team whose opponent exceeds the number of fouls allowed in a half.
• Bounce Pass: A pass is deflected off the floor before being received by a team player.
• Box Out: In an attempt to block an opponent and set up rebound opportunities, a defense player gets between a teammate and the basket.
• Carrying the Ball: Also called "palming"; an illegal dribbling of the ball with both hands at the same time, turning the ball over in your hands, or placing the hands underneath the ball as if holding or carrying it.
• Catch and Face: Catching a pass and turning directly toward the basket before taking a shot.
• Center: In position near the basket to capture rebounds and block shots.
• Change of Pace Dribble: Slowing down and speeding up dribble to get past an opponent.
• Charging: An offensive player fouls by illegally contacting a stationary defense player.
• Chest Pass: A chest-to-chest pass with both hands.
• Chin it: After receiving a rebound, the ball is under the chin with elbows and fingers pointing up.
• Clear Out: To make room for the ball handler.
• Control Dribble: A closely guarded low dribble.
• Controlling the Boards: Otherwise known as "banging the boards"; controlling most of the rebounds.
• Conversion: A dunked free-throw.
• Court: The floor upon which the game of basketball is played.
• Crossover Dribble: A front-of-the-body dribble from one hand to the other.
• Cross Screen: A lateral advance to set up a screen.
• Crossover Step: A jab step, then a step in the opposite direction.
• Curl Cut: Used when the defender is behind the cutter, an offensive player cuts off a screen and heads toward the basket.
• Cut: A quick advance by the offense toward a position to shoot or receive the ball.
• Cylinder: The closely guarded circular area above the basket.
• Dead Ball: A ball that is not "alive" or in play.
• Defense: The team not in possession of the ball.
• Defense Rebound: Rebound by the defense player.
• Double Dribble: The illegal act of dribbling, stopping, then dribbling again.
• Double Team: Two teammates move in to guard one offensive player.
• Down Court: Moving from the back court toward the offensive basket.
• Down Screen: An offensive player moves toward the baseline to set a screen.
• Dribble: Bouncing the ball off the floor with one hand.
• Drive: A brisk advance toward the basket with the aim of shooting.
• Dunk: Slamming the ball into the basket.
• Elbow: Illegal contact with the elbow by an opponent.
• End Lines: Otherwise known as "baselines"; the lines that run the width of the court behind the baskets.
• Fake: A deceptive move by the offense in order to offset the defense.
• Fast Break: A rush down court to beat the opponent to the basket.
• Field Goal: A basket made while the ball is in play.
• Field Goal Percentage: The number of field goals attempted.
• Fishhook Cut: Quickly changing direction.
• Five-second Violation: Taking longer than five seconds to pass the ball inbounds to a teammate.
• Forwards: Players positioned along the free-throw lane and who are generally closer to the basket than the guards.
• Flagrant Foul: Excessive or aggressive contact with an opponent.
• Floor Violation: See Violation.
• Floor: The court area bordered by end-lines and sidelines.
• Foul: An illegal play other than a floor violation.
• Foul Line: The line 15 feet in front of the backboard paralleling the end-line from which free-throws are shot.
• Free-throw: A free shot taken from the foul line awarded a player whose opponent committed a foul.
• Free-throw Lane: Also called "the key", the area designated for free-throws 12 feet wide and running from the baseline to the free-throw line.
• Free-throw Line: The foul line.
• Foul Trouble: A player runs up too many fouls in one game.
• Front Court: The offensive area running from mid-court to the end-line.
• Full-court Press: Opponents are guarded over the full range of the court.
• Goal-tending: Intercepting a shot that is either in the basket, or directly above it.
• Guard: To closely watch an opponent with intent to keep the player from gaining possession of the ball, or from making a pass or shot.
• Half Court Press: Defense pressure placed on the opponent in the front court area.
• Hash Mark: The mid-court mark.
• Hand Check: A defender fouls by touching the opposing ball handler with one or both hands too many times.
• Held Ball: Two opposing players attempt but fail to possess the ball.
• Help Side: Otherwise known as "weak side"; the half of the court absent the ball.
• High Post: The area near the free-throw line.
• Holding: Use of the hands to hinder an opponent's freedom of movement.
• Hook Shot: While standing sideways in front of the basket, the hand farthest from the net tosses the ball above the head and toward the basket.
• Hoop: Another word for basket.
• Inbounds Pass: A toss of the ball inbounds from out-of-bounds.
• Incidental Contact: Normal, legal contact between players.
• Inside Cut: An offensive player passes the ball to a teammate and then quickly advances toward the basket in order to receive a return pass.
• Inside Shot: A shot from beside or in front of the basket.
• Intentional Foul: A defense player fouls in order to stop the clock.
• In the Paint: Refers to the area within the free-throw lane that is painted a different color than the rest of the court.
• Jab Step: Small sharp step with the non-pivot foot toward the defense player.
• Jump Ball: The ball tossed into the air by the referee between two opposing players in order to start the game.
• Jump Shot: A shot in which an offensive player's feet leave the floor.
• Jump Stop: Jumping off of one foot, and returning on both feet at the same time in a parallel or staggered position.
• Key: The free-throw and foul lane area of the court.
• "L" Cut: An L-shaped cut sometimes used when a defender is in the passing lane.
• Lane: Also called the "paint"; area extending from the end line to the free-throw line and 12 feet across.
• Lane Violation: Moving into the lane in an attempt to intercept a possible rebound on a foul shot before the ball actually hits the rim.
• Lay-up: Advancing close to the basket in an effort to bank a shot off the backboard.
• Live Ball: A ball in play.
• Loading the Gun: Preparing to shoot with a cock of the wrist.
• Low Post: The area close to the basket.
• Man-to-man Defense: One-on-one guarding of opponents.
• Mid-court Line: The center line dividing the front from the back courts.
• Net: The corded mesh that hangs 15-18 inches from the basket's rim.
• Offense: The team in possession of the ball.
• Off the Dribble: Shooting the ball while advancing toward the basket.
• Offensive Rebound: A rebound taken by an offensive player.
• One-and-one: A bonus free-throw is awarded when the opponent accumulates too many fouls in a half; the free-thrower takes a shot and if a basket is made, gets a second free- throw.
• Open: When a defender is unguarded he is said to be "open".
• Out-of-Bounds: Outside the end lines and sidelines.
• Outlet Pass: A rebounder passes the ball to an offensive teammate.
• Over-and-back Violation: An offensive teammate returns a ball from the front court to the back court.
• Overhand lay-up Shot: With the palm facing the basket, the shooting hand is positioned on the back of the ball.
• Overhead Pass: A two-handed overhead shot.
• Overtime: Extra time given a tied regulation game.
• Paint: The free-throw lane area.
• Palming: Another word for "carrying the ball".
• Pass: A play from one teammate to another.
• Period: A segment of game time; either quarter, half, or overtime.
• Perimeter: The part of the court that extends beyond the foul circle.
• Personal Foul: Contacting a player in a way that may injure him.
• Pick: An offensive player sets up a screen.
• Pivot: The center position; also the foot that remains stationary until a dribbler passes the ball.
• Player-to-player Defense: Defense strategy in which each player is assigned an opponent to guard; also called "man-to-man defense".
• Point Guard: A strategy in which a guard advances the ball up court to begin an offensive play.
• Possession: To have the ball.
• Post: The space on both sides of the free-throw lane.
• Post Up: To be in a position near, but facing away from, the basket in order to receive a pass.
• Power Forward: A strong player positioned close to the basket.
• Power Layup Shot: A closely-guarded layup shot.
• Press: Defense strategy with intent to force opponents into erring by guarding them too closely.
• Pull-back Dribble: Pulling dribble away from the defense as a way to avert pressure.
• Push Pass: A strategy used to get past a defender guarding too closely.
• Quadruple Double: A player earns two-digit figures in four out of five offensive categories during a single game.
• Rebound: Gaining possession of the ball after it bounces off the backboard or rim on a missed shot.
• Reverse Dribble: Otherwise known as "spin dribble" and is used to reverse direction of the ball.
• Reverse Pivot: Turning on the pivot foot while taking a step back.
• Rocker Step: A jab step followed by a step back in preparation for shooting or driving the ball.
• Screen: A offense player is positioned between a teammate and the opponent to clear the way for the teammate's shot at the basket.
• Shot: To throw the ball toward the basket.
• Shot Clock: A device that keeps track of the limited time the team in possession of the ball has to take a shot at the basket.
• Shooter: The ball handler who takes aim at the basket.
• Shooting Guard: The player who generally takes most of the shots from the perimeter.
• Sidelines: The boundary lines that run the length of the court on either side.
• Small Forward: The smaller of the players positioned near the free-throw lane who moves inside and out.
• Spacing: The space between offensive players, generally 15-18 feet.
• Squaring Up: Standing shoulder-square in front of the basket when preparing to shoot the ball.
• Starting Lineup: The five players that begin the game.
• Stride Stop: Stopping on one foot, and then the other.
• Strong Side: The side of the court containing the live ball.
• Substitute: A player comes in to replace a teammate on the court.
• Swing-man: One who plays both guard and forward.
• Team Fouls: The number of fouls that a team has against it before going over the limit and its opponent is awarded a free-throw.
• Technical Foul: A foul called as a result of misconduct in which the opponent is awarded a free-throw.
• Ten-second Lane: The offensive team has 10 seconds to advance the ball from the back court area over the mid-court line, or "ten-second lane".
• Three-point Field Goal: A basket shot from a distance of more than 19'/9" during a high school or college game.
• Three-point Play: Two points on a field goal immediately followed by a free-throw point.
• Three-point Shot: From outside the three-point line, an attempt at earning a field goal is made.
• Three-second Lane: Otherwise known as the "key", the area running from the baseline underneath the basket to the free-throw lane.
• Three-second Violation: An offensive player is in the free-throw lane for longer than three seconds.
• Timeout: An official temporarily suspends the game due to injury, or to allow the team to discuss strategy.
• Tip Off: The jump that starts the game.
• Top-of-the-key: The arc that runs beyond the free-throw lane.
• Transition: A team switches from offense to defense, and visa versa.
• Trap: Two defense players team up on the ball handler.
• Traveling: Also known as "walking"; a violation in which the ball handler takes fewer than two steps without dribbling, or holds the ball while changing or moving the pivot foot.
• Triple-double: A player achieves double figures in three out of five offensive categories.
• Turnover: The offensive team gives the ball up to defense.
• Underhand lay-up Shot: With the palm underneath and facing up, a player shoots the ball.
• Up-court: The offense advances from down court to front court in the direction of the basket.
• "V"-cut: Switching quickly from one direction to the other in order to get a shot.
• Violation: Breaking of a rule not resulting in a free-throw, but rather a throw-in.
• Walking: See Traveling.
• Weak Side: The side of the court absent the live ball.
• Zone Defense: A defender carefully guards an area.
Advance step: A step in which the defender's lead foot steps toward their man, and her back foot slides forward.
Assist: A pass thrown to a player who immediately scores.
Backcourt: The half of the court a team is defending. The opposite of the frontcourt. Also used to describe parts of a team: backcourt = all guards (front court= all forwards and centers)
Back cut: See cuts, Backdoor cut
Backdoor cut: See cuts
Back screen: See Screens
Ball fake: A sudden movement by the player with the ball intended to cause the defender to move in one direction, allowing the passer to pass in another direction. Also called "pass fake."
Ball reversal: Passing the ball from one side of the court to the other.
Ball screen: See Screens
Ball side: The half of the court (if the court is divided lengthwise) that the ball is on. Also called the "strong side." The opposite of the help side.
Banana cut: See cuts
Bank shot: A shot that hits the backboard before hitting the rim or going through the net.
Baseball pass: A one-handed pass thrown like a baseball.
Baseline: The line that marks the playing boundary at each end of the court. Also called the "end line."
Baseline out-of-bounds play: The play used to return the ball to the court from outside the baseline along the opponent's basket.
Basket cut: See cuts.
Blindside screen: See Backscreen
Block: (1) A violation in which a defender steps in front of a dribbler but is still moving when they collide. Also called a "blocking foul." (2) To tip or deflect a shooter's shot, altering its flight so the shot misses. (3) The small painted square on the floor next to the basket just outside the lane.
Block out: To make contact with an opposing player to establish rebounding position between the player and the ball. Also called "box out."
Bounce pass: A pass that bounces once before reaching the receiver.
Box-and-one: A combination defense in which four defenders play zone in a box formation, and the fifth defender guards one player man-to-man.
Box out: See block out.
Box set: A formation in which four players align themselves as the four corners of a box. Often used for baseline out-of-bounds plays.
Bump the cutter: To step in the way of a cutter who is trying to cut to the ball for a pass.
Center: (1) The position in which a player, usually the tallest player on the team, stays near the basket. (2) The player who plays that position.
Center circle: The painted circle at midcourt used for the opening jump ball.
Charge: (1) A violation when a player with the ball runs into a defender who is standing still. Also called a "charging foul." (2) To commit that violation.
Chest pass: An air pass thrown from the passer's chest to a teammate's chest. It can be a one-handed or two-handed pass.
Chin the ball: To hold the ball with both hands under the chin, elbows out, to protect the ball.
Clear-Out Play: A set play designed to clear an area of the court of all offensive players without the ball so the player with the ball can play 1-on-1.
Closing out: When a defender sprints to guard a player who has just received a pass.
Combination defense: A defense that is part man-to-man and part zone. Also called a "junk defense."
Continuity offense: A sequence of player and ball movement that repeats until a good shot is created.
Control dribble: A dribble maneuver in which the player keeps their body between the defender's body and the ball.
Crossover dribble: A dribble maneuver in which a player dribbles the ball in front of their body so they can change the ball from one hand to the other.
Cross screen: A movement in which a player cuts across the lane to screen for a teammate.
Curl: see cuts
Curl pass: A low, one-handed pass made by stepping around the defender's leg and extending the throwing arm. Also called a "hook pass."
Cut: A sudden running movement to get open for a pass.
• Banana Cut: A wide, curving cut, as opposed to a cut that is a straight line.
• Backdoor Cut: An offensive play in which a player on the perimeter steps away from the basket, drawing the defender with them, and suddenly cuts to the basket behind the defender for a pass. The opposite of a I-cut. Also: Back cut.
• Basket Cut: A cut toward the basket.
• Curl Cut: A cut that takes the player around a screen toward the basket.
• Fade Cut: A cut that takes the player away from the ball. For example after using a baseline screen or on the defenders help (like shown in the graphic.Also: Flare cut.
• Flash Cut: A cut that takes the player from the lowpost to the highpost, or in the middle of the paint from behind the defence (mostly used to describe a cut against a zone).
• Flex Cut: A cut from the weakside corner to the ballside lowpost, using a screen at the weakside lowpost.
• I-cut: An offensive play in which a player on the perimeter steps toward the basket, drawing the defender with them, and suddenly cuts to the perimeter for a pass. The opposite of a backdoor cut.
• Popout Cut: A cut taken around a screen straight to the ball.
• Shuffle Cut: A cut that takes a player around a screen on the highpost to the basket.
• Shallow Cut: A cut from the top of the key to the ballside corner.
• UCLA Cut: A cut that takes the player from the top of the key to the lowpost over a screen at the highpost.
• V-cut (or L-Cut when 90° angle): e.g. The player starts at the lowpost and cuts to the highpost, initiates contact with the defender and then cuts to the wing. It can also be executed from the wing; in this case the player cuts to the lowpost and comes back out.
Defensive rebound: A rebound made off a missed shot at the basket a team is defending.
Defensive slide: The quick "step-slide" movement a defender makes when closely guarding the dribbler.
Defensive stance: The stance used to play defense-knees bent, feet wide, arms out, etc.
Defensive stop: Gaining possession of the ball before the offensive team scores.
Defensive transition: When the team on offense suddenly gives up possession of the ball and has to convert from offense to defense.
Delay offense: An offense used to take more time with each possession.
Denial defense: A defense in which a defender tries to prevent their man from receiving a pass.
Denial stance: The stance used to play denial defense-body low, knees bent, hand and foot in the passing lane.
Deny the ball: To use a denial stance to keep the offensive player from receiving a pass.
Diamond-and-one: A combination defense in which four defenders play zone in a diamond formation and the fifth defender guards a specific offensive player man-to-man.
Diamond Press: A full-court press with a 1-2-1-1 formation.
Dishing: A slang term for passing the ball to a player open for a shot, usually after dribble penetration.
Double down: To drop from the perimeter, leaving your man or zone, to double-team a low post player.
Double low stack: When two offensive players set up at one of the blocks to run a play.
Double screen: See Screens
Double-teaming: A defense in which two defenders guard the same offensive player at the same time.
Down screen: See Screens
Dribble: (1) To advance the ball by bouncing it on the floor. (2) The bounce of the ball caused by a player pushing the ball downward.
Dribble penetration: When a dribbler is able to drive into the lane; she "penetrates" the defense.
Drive: To attack the basket by dribbling hard at it.
Drop step: A low post move when an offensive player with her back to the basket swings one leg around the defender and uses it as a pivot foot to gain inside position.
Elbow: The corner made by the intersection of the free throw line and the lane line. Each lane area has two elbows.
End line: See baseline.
Entry: Beginning of a play. Can be used for Continous-, Set- and Special plays. Most popular Entries: UCLA Cut, Power, Zipper Cut, Wing Exchange, Horns
Face up: See square up.
Fade cut: See cuts.
Fan the ball: When the defense forces the ball toward the sideline.
Fast break: A play in which a team gains possession of the ball (through a defensive rebound, steal, or made shot) and then pushes the ball toward the other basket as fast as possible, hoping to catch the other team off guard and score an easy shot.
Field goal: A 2-or 3-point basket.
Filling the lanes: A fast break in which players from the offensive team run up the court in the right lane, the middle lane, and the left lane.
Flagrant foul: Excessive physical contact (punching, kicking, etc.).
Flare cut: See cuts.
Flare Screen: See Screens
Flash: See cuts.
Forward: A position usually played by a tall, athletic player. A "small forward" or a "3" plays on the wing, and a power forward or a "4" plays in the high or low post area.
Foul: A violation of the rules.
Foul line: See free throw line.
Foul shot: See free throw.
Foul trouble: (1) Player foul trouble occurs when a player accumulates three or four fouls and is in danger of fouling out. (2) Team foul trouble occurs when a team accumulates four or more team fouls in a quarter and is "in the bonus."
Free throw: An uncontested shot taken from the free throw line as a result of a foul. Also called a "foul shot." A successful (made) free throw is worth 1 point.
Free throw line: The line a player stands behind to shoot a free throw. Also called the "foul line."
Free throw line extended: An imaginary line extending from one end of the free throw line to the sidelines.
Front: To guard a player by standing directly in front of him and therefore between him and the ball.
Frontcourt: A team's offensive half of the court. The opposite of the backcourt. Also used to describe parts of a team: front court = all forwards and centers, backcourt = all guards
Full-court press: A man-to-man or zone defense in which the players guard the other team in the frontcourt. Also called a "press."
Funnel the ball: When the defense forces the ball toward the middle.
Give-and-go: An offensive play in which the player with the ball passes (gives) to a teammate and cuts (goes) to the basket to receive a return pass. One of the game's basic plays.
Goaltending: A violation in which a defender touches a shot as it nears the basket in a downward flight.
Guard: (1) A position on the perimeter. The point guard or "1" brings the ball up the court and begins the offense. The shooting guard or "2" is usually the teams best outside shooter. (2) To defend an offensive player closely.
Guide hand: The shooter's nonshooting hand. See also shooting hand.
Half-court line: The line at the center of the court parallel to the sidelines that divides the court in half. Also called the "midcourt line."
Hand-check: To make hand contact with a dribbler while guarding them.
Hedge: In a pick-and-roll, when the screener's defender steps into the path of the dribbler so the dribbler has to hesitate, giving their defender time to get around the screen.
Help and recover: A defensive move in which a defender leaves her assigned player to guard a teammate's assigned player and then goes back to guard their own player.
Help side: The half of the court (if the court is divided lengthwise) that the ball in not on. Also called the "weak side." The opposite of the ball side.
Help-side stance: The stance used to guard a help-side offensive player. See also pistol stance.
Hesitation dribble: A dribble maneuver in which the dribbler hesitates, pretending to pick up their dribble, but suddenly continues to the basket. Also called a "stop-and-go dribble."
High post: The area around the free throw line.
Hook shot: A one-handed shot taken with a sweeping, windmill motion.
Inbound: To pass the ball to a teammate on the court from out-of-bounds.
Inbounder: The player who inbounds the ball.
Inside-out dribble: An advanced dribbling move, a fake crossover dribble.
Intentional foul: A foul that occurs when a player makes illegal contact with an opposing player without intending to get the ball.
Isolation play: An offensive play designed to have a specific player attack the basket 1-on-1. Also called "iso play."
Jab-and-cross: A play in which the offensive player makes a jab step in one direction and then follows it by driving by the defender in that direction.
Jab step: A short (6 to 8 inches) out-and-back step by an offensive player to see how the defender reacts.
Jam the cutter: When a defender steps in the way of a cutter to prevent them from cutting to the ball.
Jump ball: A procedure used to begin a game. The referee tosses up the ball in the center circle between two opposing players, who jump up and try to tip it to a teammate. Also called the "opening tip."
Jump hook: A variation of the traditional hook shot in which the shooter takes the shot with both feet in the air.
Jump shot: A shot in which the shooter faces the basket and releases the ball after jumping into the air.
Jump stop: The action of coming to a complete stop, legs apart and knees bent, when dribbling or running; can be a one-foot or two-foot jump stop.
Jump to the ball: When a defender, after her man passes the ball, changing to a denial position so their man can't cut between her and the ball.
Junk defense: See combination defense.
Lane: The rectangular painted area between the baseline, the lane lines, and the free throw line. Also called the "paint."
Laneline extended: A imaginary line from the junction baseline and laneline to the same junction on the other half of the court. (used to describe a proper spacing in a four out offense).
Layup: A shot taken next to the basket in which the shooter extends their arm, lifts their same-side knee, and aims the ball at the upper corner of the painted square on the backboard.
Loose-ball foul: A foul committed when neither team has possession of the ball.
Low post: The area on one side of the basket around the block.
Man offense: See man-to-man offense.
Man-to-man defense: A team defense in which each defender guards a specific player or man. Also called "player-to-player defense."
Man-to-man offense: A team offense used against man-to-man defense. Also called "man offense."
Midcourt line: See half-court line.
Mirror the ball: To follow the movement of the ball with your hands when closely guarding a player who is pivoting.
Moving pick: A violation that happens when a screener leans or moves after setting a screen.
Nonshooting foul: A foul committed against a player who is not in the act of shooting.
Off-ball screen: See Screens
Offensive rebound: A rebound at the basket a team is attacking.
Offensive transition: When the team on defense suddenly gives up possession of the ball and has to convert from defense to offense.
On-ball defense: Defense that occurs when a defender guards the player with the ball.
On-ball screen: See Ballscreen
One-and-one: Free throws awarded to a team once its opponent has committed seven personal fouls. If the shooter's first free throw is successful, they shoot a second free throw.
One-Guard Offense: A team offense used against zones with two-guard fronts (2-3 and 2-1-2 zones).
Open stance: The stance used to play help-side defense-feet apart, body balanced, knees bent, arms out.
Outlet: (1) To pass the ball after a defensive rebound to start the fast break. (2) The player who stays in the backcourt to receive an outlet pass.
Outlet pass: An overhead pass thrown by a defender that starts the fast break.
Overhead pass: A two-handed pass thrown from above the player's head.
Overtime: A 5-minute extra period played when the game is tied at the end of regulation play.
Paint: See lane.
Palming: See carrying the ball.
Pass fake: See ball fake.
Passing lane: An imaginary line from the player with the ball to a teammate. If a defender is in the way, the passing lane is closed.
Personal foul: A penalty assessed on a player who commits an illegal action.
Pick: See screen.
Pick-and-roll: A two-person play in which on offensive player sets a screen (pick) on the ball handler's defender and cuts (rolls) to the basket after the ball handler drives by the screen. Also called a "screen and roll." A common play in college and the pros.
Pistol stance: When a help-side defender is guarding their man, they point one hand at their man and one hand at the ball (as if they're holding a pistol).
Pivot: The action when the player with the ball spins on one foot and steps with their other foot to protect the ball from a defender.
Pivot foot: The foot that the offensive player spins on while pivoting.
Player-control foul: A nonshooting offensive foul.
Player screen: See off-ball screen.
Player-to-player defense: See man-to-man defense.
Point guard: (1) A position played by a team's primary ball handler, the player who brings the ball up the court and begins the offense. Also called the "1." (2) The player who plays that position.
Popout cut: See cuts.
Post: (1) A player who plays in and around the lane area. A center or forward (a "4" or a "5"). (2) An area of the court, as in the low post or the high post.
Post moves: Back-to-the-basket scoring moves made by players near the basket.
Post-up: (1) An offensive move in which an offensive player (usually a forward or a center) positions himself close to the basket with their back toward the basket and the defender behind them so the offensive player can receive a pass. (2) To make that move.
Power forward: A position played by the larger of the forwards on the floor, usually a good scorer and rebounder. Also called the "4." (2) The player who plays that position.
Power layup: A two-footed layup.
Press break: A team offense used against a press defense. Also called "press offense."
Press offense: See press break.
Pressure man-to-man defense: An aggressive defense where the defenders stay between their man and the ball.
Primary break: A fast break that involves only a few players from each team.
Pump fake: See shot fake.
Push pass: A one-handed air pass.
Ready stance: The balanced position from which a player is ready to run, jump, slide, or pivot. Their knees are bent, hands are up and out, back is straight, and head is up.
Rebound: (1) A missed shot that comes off the backboard or rim. (2) To fight for and gain control of a missed shot that comes off the backboard or rim.
Rejection: A blocked shot.
Retreat step: A step in which the defender's back foot steps toward the baseline, and the lead foot slides in place.
Runner: A shot that the player shoots while running, without taking the time to set up the shot. Also called a "floater."
Running clock: When the clock in a game isn't stopped every time the referee blows the whistle to ensure that the game ends on time and the next game can begin when scheduled. Often used in middle school and AAU games.
Safety: The offensive player at the top of the circle.
Sag: A tactic in which a defender leaves their man or zone and drops into the lane to help protect the basket.
Sagging man-to-man defense: A conservative defense in which the defenders stay between their man and the basket.
Screen: A play in which an offensive player runs over and stands in a stationary position next to a teammate's defender to free up the teammate to dribble or to receive a pass. Also called a pick.
• Ball Screen: Screen on a defender, who is defending the ballcarrier
• Back Screen: Screen in the back of the defender
• Cross Screen: Screen from one Lowpost to the opposite Lowpost
• Double Screen: Screen set by two player next to each other. This screen is also called Parallel Screen.
• Down Screen: Screen from the wing to the Lowpost
• Up Screen: see UCLA Screen
• UCLA Screen: Screen from the Lowpost to the Top of the Key
• Flare Screen: Screen for a player moving away from the ball
• Off-Ball Screen: A screen set on a defender guarding an offensive player who doesn't have the ball.
• Shot Screen: A screen set for a player to shoot the ball, mostly on the weakside
• Staggered Screen: two Screens not next to each other set simultaneous for the same cutter.
Screen away: To pass in one direction and set a screen for a teammate in the opposite direction.
Screener: A player who sets a screen.
Sealing the defender: After setting a screen, the screener does a reverse pivot to "seal" the defender-put the defender on her back.
Secondary break: A fast break that involves most of the players from each team.
Set play: A sequence of player and ball movement that has an end.
Shagger: A player who, in a drill, collects loose balls and returns them to the passer.
Shell drills: Defensive drills designed to work on all aspects of defense.
Shooter's roll: When a shot doesn't go through the basket cleanly, but bounces around softly before dropping through.
Shooting foul: A violation that happens when a defender fouls the shooter and the shot scores. The shooter is awarded 2 points and a free throw.
Shooting guard: (1) A position played by a perimeter player who is usually the team's best outside shooter. Also called the "2." (2) The person playing this position.
Shooting hand: The hand used to shoot the ball. See also guide hand.
Shot clock: The clock used to limit the time allowed for a team to attempt a shot. Shot clocks are used in pro and college games, in some high school leagues, but not in middle school and youth leagues.
Shot clock violation: A violation that occurs when the team with the ball doesn't get a shot off during the allotted time. It results in a change of possession.
Shot fake: A movement in which the player with the ball acts as if they are about to shoot. It is designed to trick the defender into straightening up, allowing the player with the ball to dribble past them. Also called a "pump fake."
Sideline: The line at each side of the court that marks the boundary of the playing surface.
Sideline play: A play used by the offensive team to put the ball back in play from the sideline.
Sixth man: The first substitute who comes off the bench to replace a starter.
Skip pass: An overhead pass from one side of the court to the other over the defense.
Speed dribble: A dribble maneuver in which the player pushes the ball ahead of her and bounces it at chest height.
Special plays: a play for a specific situation and/or a specific player.
Spin dribble: A dribble maneuver in which the player does a reverse pivot while bringing the ball around them so it ends up in their other hand.
Split-line: the imaginary line between the two baskets. Mostly used to describe a position for defenders.
Splitting the screen: When the screener, seeing her defender hedging, gets out of her screening stance and cuts to the basket for a pass.
Splitting the trap: When a trapped player steps in between the defenders to pass the ball.
Square up: To pivot so the shoulders and feet face the basket. Also called "face up."
Staggered screen: When two players not next to each other set simultaneous screens for the same cutter.
Steal: (1) To intercept a pass and gain possession of the ball. (2) The name for the action.
Stop-and-go dribble: See hesitation dribble.
Stop and pop: An offensive move in which a player comes to a sudden stop, picks up her dribble, and shoots the ball.
Strong side: See ball side. The opposite of "weak side."
Substitute: A player who comes in the game to replace another player. Also called a "sub."
Swing step: A defensive step in which the defender does a reverse pivot with one foot and stays in her on-ball stance.
Switch: A movement in which two defenders change the offensive player each is playing.
Technical foul: A violation, such as a player or coach using profanity, that results in the other team getting free throws and possession of the ball. Also called a "T," as in "T him up."
Tip-off: The opening jump ball at the center circle that begins a game.
Trailer: An offensive player, usually a center or a power forward, who trails the first wave of players on the fast break.
Transition: A movement that occurs when a team changes from offense to defense (defensive transition) or from defense to offense (offensive transition).
Trap: A defensive move in which two defenders guard the player with the ball by forming a V with their bodies.
Traveling: A violation that occurs when the player with the ball takes two many steps without dribbling. This is a common occurrence with young players.
Triangle-and-two: A combination defense in which three defenders play zone in a triangle formation and two defenders guard specific players man-to-man.
Triple threat position: The bent knees stance that allows the player three options: dribble, pass, or shoot.
Turnaround jump shot: A shot by a player in the low post in which they catch the ball with their back to the basket, makes a forward pivot so they face the basket, and shoots a jump shot.
Turnover: A loss of possession of the ball caused by a steal, an offensive foul, a held ball, or a poor pass.
Two-Guard Offense: A team offense mostly used against zones with one-guard fronts (1-2-2 and 1-3-1).
Two-shot foul: A violation that occurs when a defender fouls the shooter, and the shot misses. The shooter is awarded two free throws.
UCLA Screen: See Screens
Up-and-under move: An advanced post move that starts out like a turnaround jump shot, but instead of shooting, the post player "pump fakes," causing the defender to rise out of their defensive stance. The post player steps by the defender and finishes with a layup.
Up screen: See UCLA Screen
V-cut: See cuts.
Weak side: See help side.
Wing: (1) The area on the court where the 3-point arc meets the free throw line extended. (2) The offensive player who plays in that area.
Zone defense: A team defense in which players are assigned to guard specific areas of the court, rather then layers.
Most popular zone alignments: 2-3, 3-2, 1-3-1, 1-1-3, 2-1-2
Zone offense: A team offense used against a zone defense.
Zone press defense: Full court zone defense, mostly used to trap the ball.
Most popular alignments: 1-3-1, 1-2-1-1 (Diamond), 1-2-2, 2-2-1