Court Geography Terms Used By Your Basketball Trainer
Here’s a little basketball terminology to keep you up to speed on the basketball court, whether it’s understanding your basketball trainer’s or coach’s instructions or communicating with teammates. Every serious player should know and understand these basketball terms.
Basketball Court Geography:
The Paint (n) – the area enclosed by the free throw line, free throw lane and the baseline.
Elbow (n) – the two corners at the edge of the free throw line. There are 4 elbows on a basketball court, two on each free throw line.
Block (n) – the two painted blocks on the outside edge of the free throw lane close to the basket. There are 4 blocks on a basketball court, two near each basket.
Free Throw Line Extended (n) – the two spots on the 3 point line where the free throw line would intersect it if the free throw line was extended all the way to the sidelines. This is commonly referred to as the “wing” area.
Short Corner (n) – the spot on the court about halfway between the corner 3-pointer and the basket. This is a common area for big men to set up in an offense.
High Post (n) – the area along, right at and right above the free throw line. This area is referred to as the high post in a half-court offense.
Passing Lane (n) – the open space between a player with the ball and the teammate he is looking to pass to.
Backdoor Cut (n) – an offensive cut made towards the basket from the wing in hopes of receiving a pass from a teammate. This cut is usually made behind the cutting player’s defender when that defender is “overplaying” the passing lane.
Running the Pipe (v) – sprinting from the defensive end of the floor down towards your team’s basket. Normally a big man will run the pipe with his head turned toward the ball so as to see and receive a pass from a teammate in transition.
Flash (v) – the practice of cutting to a certain spot with your hands up in a half-court offense so as to receive a pass. This normally refers to big men cutting either to the high post, the short corner or the middle of the paint.
Seal (v) – the act of “pinning” your defender behind your back (with your legs, back and arms) on the block or in the paint. A seal insures that the ball will not get stolen when your teammate passes it to you.
Ball Screen (n) – A screen (aka a pick) set on the defender of your teammate with the ball.
Off-Ball Screen (n) – A screen (aka a pick) set on the defender of a teammate who doesn’t have the ball in hopes of getting him or her open to receive a pass.
Protect the Paint (v) – the practice of not allowing points to be scored in the paint. This is a defensive term. Big men normally protect the paint by blocking shots, contesting shots at the rim and finishing possessions with rebounds.
Point Guard (n) – player primarily responsible for handling the ball and initiating the offense. Also known as “the 1”.
Shooting Guard (n) – secondary ball handler primarily responsible for shooting and driving on offense. Also known as “the 2” or a “2 guard”.
Small Forward (n) – player responsible for some guard and some big man duties, mainly shooting, driving and rebounding. Also known as “the 3”.
Power Forward (n) – player primarily responsible for scoring inside the 3 point line, screening and finishing on offense, and rebounding and protecting the paint on defense. Also known as “the 4” or big forward.
Center (n) – player primarily responsible for scoring close to the basket and screening and finishing on offense, and rebounding, blocking shots and protecting the paint on defense. Also known as “the 5”.
Backcourt (n) – refers collectively to the point guard and shooting guard but also the area far away (beyond the 3 point line) from the basket.
Frontcourt (n) – refers collectively to the small forward, power forward and center positions but also the area close (inside free throw line extended) to the basket.
Swingman, Wing (n) – shooting guard or small forward
Big, Post (n) – power forward or center