Understanding Basketball Court Markings and Dimensions

Basketball courts usually come in different sizes, but some of their features remain the same, such as the height and length of the basket and its distance to the free-throw line. Most of us probably do not understand all the lines and markings on the basketball court. That is why we have written this guide to help those who are confused about how these linings and markings work or for those who want to create their own basketball court. 

Characteristics of a Basketball Court

The basketball court has a flat surface, and it is usually 15 meters wide and 28 meters long when measured from the inner edge of the boundary line. An indoor basketball court is typically made of hardwood, while outdoor courts are commonly made with asphalt. The border of the court has their own names, and these are:

Sidelines – This line is drawn along the length of the court.

Baselines or end lines – These lines are drawn along the ends of the court.

Midcourt line – This line separates both halves of the basketball court. 

Center circle – This line is located at the very center of the midcourt, and this is where the center toss takes place to start the game. 

What are the Free Throw Line and Throw Lane?

The free throw lane is considered to be the hub of the action on each side of the court. The free throw lane is marked with a 12 feet wide rectangle, and its length is 15 feet at all levels which are measured from the basket to the free-throw line. All players must remember that no one cannot stand inside that lane for more than three seconds unless they shoot the ball. After the shot is taken, the court will start over again. 

When another player fouls a player, they sometimes receive free throws or foul shots. They take these shots from the free-throw line located at the end of the lane, which is 15 feet away from the basket. These shots are free because there will be no defender to guard the shooter while taking the shot. When the player is shooting his free throw, his feet should not cross the free-throw line until the ball gets to the ring’s rim, or else the shot will not be counted. 

What is the Three-Point Arc?

The three-point arc is one of the essential marks on the basketball court. This mark extends around the basket, and it has a near semicircle shape. The distance of the three-point arc from the basket depends on the level of play. So far, at the NBA, they only changed the three-point distance on two occasions since they first adopted the three-point shot during the 1979-1980 season. During the 1997-1998 season, the three-point distance was placed back to its original 23’9”. 

Any shot that is made beyond the three-point arc will always be worth three points. A three-point shooter should have both of his feet behind the arc as he takes the shot. After that, either foot is allowed to land on either side of the arc. 

What are the Frontcourt and Backcourt?

Look at the entire basketball court as two half-courts, and split it into backcourt and frontcourt. The frontcourt is considered as the half of the court where the offense’s basket is located, while the backcourt is the other half. This means that one team’s frontcourt is the other team’s frontcourt.