Basketball is a game of precision and skill where the goal is to outscore the opposing team. Understanding the various ways to score is crucial, and one of the most important scoring techniques in basketball is a field goal.

But what exactly is a field goal? If you're new to basketball or just curious to know more, this guide is for you.

In this blog post, we'll define a field goal, explain the basics of scoring in basketball, explore the different types of field goals, and discuss the role of field goals in basketball scoring.

What Does a Field Goal Mean in Basketball?

A field goal in basketball refers to the act of scoring a basket while the ball is in play. It is a shot taken from anywhere on the court, except for a free throw.

A field goal can be scored by a player shooting the ball into the hoop by either using one or both hands. The term "field goal" is synonymous with "basket."

A basket is scored when the ball passes through the rim of the opposing team's basket. Field goals can be worth two points or three points, depending on where the shot was taken.

The Basics of Scoring in Basketball

In basketball, there are two basic ways to score: field goals and free throws. As we've already discussed, field goals are any shots taken during normal play that go through the hoop.

Free throws, on the other hand, are awarded after a player is fouled and gets two (or three) free chances to score from the free-throw line. Each successful two-point field goal is worth two points, while a three-point field goal is worth three points. Free throws are worth one point each.

Each team has a chance to score, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins. Points can be scored through field goals, free throws, dunks, and layups.

Types of Field Goals: Two-Pointers and Three-Pointers

Now that we've covered what a field goal is, let's take a closer look at the two types of field goals: two-pointers and three-pointers.

A two-point field goal is scored when a player shoots the ball from anywhere within the three-point line and makes it.

A three-point field goal is scored if a player shoots the ball behind the three-point line and makes it. The three-point line is a circular arc that is 23 feet and 9 inches away from the center of the basket.

Is a Free Throw Considered a Field Goal?

No, a free throw is not considered a field goal. While it is a common scoring technique in basketball, it is not considered a field goal because it is not taken during normal play. As mentioned earlier, free throws are awarded to a team after an opposing player commits a foul.

The player who was fouled has the opportunity to shoot from the free-throw line without any interference from the opposing team. If the player successfully scores, one point is awarded to the team. Free throws have their rules and techniques, but they are not field goals.

The Role of Field Goals in Basketball Scoring

Field goals play an important role in determining the winner in basketball games. In general, teams with higher field goal percentages (the number of field goals made out of total attempts) have a higher chance of winning.

When a team is efficient in making field goals, they will eventually outscore their opponents. Understanding field goal percentage is important for players, coaches, and bettors, as it helps them evaluate a player's or team's shooting ability.

With higher accuracy on field goals, teams can significantly increase their chances of winning. Field goals are the most exciting part of basketball because of the variety of techniques players use to score.

Understanding Field Goal Percentage

Field goal percentage is simply the number of field goals made divided by the number of field goal attempts. It is a measure of a player's or team's shooting accuracy.

For instance, if a player makes 10 out of 20 field goal attempts in a game, their field goal percentage would be 0.5 or 50%. This metric is widely used in basketball to evaluate players' or teams' shooting accuracy. In general, a field goal percentage of 45% or higher is considered solid.

Field goal percentage is an essential aspect of scouting for upcoming games as it can indicate a player's ability to score points for their team.


In summary, a field goal is a shot taken during gameplay that goes through the hoop, except for free throws. Scoring in basketball is primarily through field goals and free throws, where each has its unique rules.

There are two types of field goals: two-pointers and three-pointers. Field goals play a critical role in determining the winner in basketball games. Free throws, while integral to the game, are not counted as field goals.

Understanding field goal percentage is crucial to evaluate a player's or team's shooting accuracy. Use this guide as your reference to understand the basics of a field goal and how to score in basketball.

Discover the ultimate basketball gear! Say goodbye to endless research - we've got you covered with our handpicked top choices.

Don't miss our incredible basketball and sports & fitness blog content!

Best Basketball Hoop for Driveway: Top 5 picks of 2023
Are you looking for the best basketball hoop for driveway? We’ve found the best driveway basketball hoops on the market today. Find out more!
What’s the Basketball Hoop Height for Different Age Groups?
Discover what the official basketball hoop height is, from the NBA and college level to youth players with different age groups. Read more!
5 Reasons to Invest in Quality Outdoor Basketball Shoes
Are you looking for a new pair of basketball shoes? Check out our blog post on the benefits of investing in quality outdoor basketball shoes!
5 Major Benefits of Wearing Low Top Basketball Shoes
Do you want to hit the court with confidence? Learn about the benefits of wearing low-top basketball shoes and how they can improve your game.
The Best Low Top Basketball Shoes - Top 5 picks for 2023
Don’t miss out on the best low-top basketball shoes for 2023! Here are our top five picks so you can find the perfect pair for your needs.
6 Tips to Improve Your Outdoor Basketball Skills
Learn how to take your outdoor basketball game up a notch with these six must-know tips. Get ready for the court, and stay ahead of the competition!
6 Reasons to Invest in Quality Basketball Socks
A good pair of basketball socks can make a big difference in your performance. Here are six reasons why you should invest in quality socks.
Best Pool Basketball Hoop for Your Backyard - Top 6 Picks
We’ll take a look at some of the best pool basketball hoops on the market and help you find the perfect one for your backyard. Check them out!
The Best Basketball Backpacks: Top 5 Picks for Your Needs
Looking for the perfect basketball backpack? We’ve got you covered! Here are our top 5 picks to help you find the best basketball backpack for your needs.
Share this post