Basketball Phrases

Basketball Common Phrases


Airball: A shot at the basket that misses everything and doesn’t touch the rim, backboard or net.

Alley-Oop: When one player jumps and catches a pass from another player and simultaneously dunks the ball or shoots it in before landing.

And One: When a player gets fouled while shooting and the ball goes in. The player then gets one free throw.

Assist: A statistic that occurs when a player passes the ball to someone who scores after receiving the pass. The passing player earns an assist in the stat sheet.


Backboard: The rectangular piece of wood or fiberglass the rim is attached to.

Backcourt Violation: On offense, once a player establishes position in his frontcourt, he cannot move into his backcourt, nor may he pass the ball to a teammate positioned in the backcourt.

Backdoor: An offensive action in which a player without the ball cuts behind a defender and toward the basket.

Bank Shot: When a player shoots the ball and it bounces off the backboard and into the hoop.

Baseline: The Baseline runs from sideline to sideline behind the backboard at the ends of the court.

Block (action): A statistic that occurs when a defensive player stops an offensive player from making a shot by blocking the ball with his or her hand(s).

Block (area of court): The area just outside of the key in which the rectangular blocks are painted. Also referred to as the post.

Bounce Pass: Pass is thrown to the floor so that it bounces to the intended receiver.

Box Out: When a shot goes up, players use this technique, which involves widening their stance and arms and using their body as a barrier to get in better rebounding position.


Carry: This penalty, which results in a turnover, occurs when a player holds the ball excessively at the apex while dribbling.

Charge: This penalty, which results in a turnover, occurs when an offensive player with the ball runs into a stationary defensive player and knocks him or her over.


Double Dribble: This penalty, which results in a turnover, occurs when a player dribbles the ball with both hands. It also occurs when a player dribbles, stops dribbling, and then begins to dribble again.


Elbow: The area of the court where the free throw line meets the side of the key or paint.


Fast Break: An offensive action where a team attempts to advance the ball and score as quickly as possible after a steal, blocked shot or rebound.

Flop: When a player attempts to draw a foul on an opposing player by acting, fabricating or over-exaggerating the extent of contact.

Free Throw: A free shot given to a player after a foul or a technical foul. The player shoots from the 15-foot free throw line while the rest of the players line up along the outside of the key.


Game Clock: Keeps track of the amount of time left in the current half or quarter during a game. The game clock differs between the NBA, NCAA, and other leagues. The NCAA plays two 20-minute halves while the NBA plays four 12-minute quarters.

Guard: A guard is a player position in basketball. They use their speed and quickness for dribbling, passing, and shooting on offense. They often guard the perimeter of the court on defense.

Guarding: is the act of legally placing the body in the path of an offensive opponent. There is no minimum distance required between the guard and opponent, but the maximum is 6 feet when closely guarded.


Key: The painted area that makes up the free throw lane. Also referred to as the paint.


Lay-Up: A shot taken close to the hoop, usually when a player is moving toward the basket.


Man-to-Man: A defensive strategy in which each player on the defensive team guards one person on the opposing team.


One and One: When a team has reached the initial foul limit, or the bonus, the next player to get fouled will receive one free throw. If the player makes the free throw, he or she shoots an additional free throw. This occurs in youth, high school and college basketball only.

Outlet: An offensive strategy in which a player who gathers a defensive rebound passes to a teammate in an attempt to quickly begin the next possession.


Paint: The painted area that makes up the free throw lane. Also referred to as the key.

Perimeter: The perimeter is defined as the areas outside the free throw lane and inside the three-point line. Shots converted (successfully made) from this area are called “perimeter shots” or “outside shots” as called during older NBA games.

Post: The area just outside of the key in which the rectangular blocks are painted. Also referred to as the block.

Press: A defensive strategy where the defenders guard the opposing team the full length of the court instead of waiting on the opposite side for the offense to come across.

Post Up: An offensive strategy in which a player gets the ball in the post area with his or her back to the basket.


Quarters: Refers to the period of time in one section of a basketball game. An NBA game is split into four 12-minute periods that are referred to as quarters. In college basketball there are two halves for 20 minutes.


Rebound: When a player from either team retrieves the ball and gains possession after a missed shot.


Screen: An offensive strategy in which a player without the ball stands in the way of a defensive player. The offensive player must remain stationary during the process, or a moving screen will be called and the result will be an offensive foul and a turnover.

Set Shot: A two-handed shot taken from a stationary position.

Shot Clock: Refers to the timing device that displays a countdown of the time within which the team possessing the ball must attempt a field goal. The NBA (National Basketball Association) shot clock is 24 seconds. College is 30 seconds.

Sideline: The sidelines are the two boundaries lines running the length of the court.

Swish: A made basket where the ball avoids the rim and touches nothing but the net, creating a “swish” sound.


Three in the Key: A penalty, which results in a turnover, where an offensive player stands inside the key or the paint area for three seconds.

Three Man Weave: Is a timeless drill used at all levels to get players moving up and down the court, working together and communicating. Set up 3 lines on the baseline (make sure they’re even) and step on the court. The middle person has the ball. He/she throws the ball to the right side, when you throw it make sure you go behind the person who you threw it to. Then the person who has the ball throws it to the person on the left.

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

Turnover: When the offensive team loses possession of the ball by way of an offensive foul, steal or out-of-bounds violation.


Zone Defense: A defensive strategy in which players guard a specific zone or area of the court instead of a specific player on the opposing team.

Camp Thrive Sports registration is open!

We are only accepting 20 hoopers for our basketball registration.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where is the camp located?

Holy Cross Gym in the back of the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Santa Cruz, California, located at 210 High Street.

2. What kind of skills will my child learn?

Your child will learn skills in dribbling, passing, shooting, and how to Help Others Thrive by being a better team player.

3. Do you plan to have another skills development?

Yes! We do plan to have more development camp sessions throughout the year.

Our Mission

Empowering young athletes with spiritual values
through the sport of basketball, fostering growth
in faith, character, and teamwork. Learn to Help Others Thrive!