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Get Active!

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How to Do It



What you'll need

A Basketball. Basketballs come in different sizes depending on your age and whether you're a girl or boy. Also, there are different basketballs for inside and outside use.

A Hoop. Basketball hoops are available in most gyms and in many parks. You can even buy a hoop and attach it to the side of your house or garage, if you have one. To create your own regulation court at home, make sure you set your foul line 15 feet from the backboard.

Play it safe

Basketball can really make you work and help you build strong bones, but make sure you stretch and warm up before playing. Because of all of the quick moves and jumping, it can put a lot of wear and tear on your ankles, so protect them by wearing the right pair of shoes — medium or high tops do the best job of supporting your ankles. Protect those knees by learning how to cut, stop, and land a jump safely. And, make sure to eat lots of food with calcium to give your bones the strength they need to support your body.

Be careful not to misuse basketball equipment. It's great if you've got the skills to put up a mean slam dunk, but hanging on the rim is dangerous and could cause you to get hurt. Also, make sure the court and sidelines are clear of any obstacles such as other basketballs or water bottles. If you're playing outside, make sure the baskets and sidelines are not too close to walls, fences, or bleachers and there are no holes on your court.

If you're a serious player, you may want to invest in a mouth guard to keep your teeth safe from flying elbows; knee, and elbow pads so you don't get scraped up.

How to play

Basketball is fun to play in pick up games in the yard with your pals, or you can join an organized league. Different positions rely on different skills — point guards should focus on their dribbling and passing, while centers and forwards should be powerful rebounders and shooters. Outside guards need to be quick and strong to make those 3-point shots. Want some basics?

How to Dribble: Bounce the ball on the floor with your strongest arm. When it bounces back, use your fingertips to stop the upward motion and push it back to the floor, keeping it about waist high when it bounces. Once you've mastered dribbling in place with one hand, switch to the other and begin to move around as you dribble. Practicing dribbling by moving the ball in a figure eight between your legs is one good way to build your skills.

How to Pass the Ball: Face the person you're passing to, with your head up and knees slightly bent. Spread your fingers wide and hold the ball at chest level, elbows out. Extend your arms, take a step toward the person you're passing to, and snap your wrists forward and up as you release the ball.

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