Basketball was invented in the United States at what is now Springfield College, Massachusetts. At the time Springfield College was the International YMCA Training School and the game was first introduced to a class of trainee YMCA Leaders.
At the time there was a need for a gymnasium activity to offset the flagging interest in apparatus work and freestanding exercise used during the winter months. Canadian Dr. James Naismith, one of the staff at the college, in an effort to make his classes more appealing, introduced various recreational games, such as Association Football, American Football and Lacrosse but each game presented a problem in the confined space of the 65' x 45' (20m x 14m) Springfield YMCA gymnasium.
Naismith gave this problem a considerable amount of thought and decided that the solution lay in taking different factors from known games and combining them to produce a new game. The main features of the game invented by Naismith were: -
- a team game
- a ball handling game without the use of any implement
- the ball was easy to handle, round, light and difficult to conceal
- a game played indoors
- no tackling
- to offset the no tackling, players were not permitted to run with the ball
- skill required to score, therefore, the target was placed above head height
- equal opportunity for each team
- game that demanded skill rather than strength to succeed
- game easy to learn
- a game anybody could play
The first game of basketball was played in mid-December 1891 at the YMCA gymnasium in Springfield. The goals for this game were peach baskets fixed to the balcony at each end of the gymnasium. Naismith had a Physical Education class of 18 members, so the first game was between two teams of nine-a-side.