Basketball Rule Knowledge

Referee Foul Call

What to Discover or Recall:

Discover that knowing the rules of the game can win or save at least one game during the season.
Learn the types of fouls and their penalties.
Explore the various free throw situations.
Understand the various types of violations and their penalties.


Players must learn and abide by game rules and team rules. There is no joy or satisfaction in a tainted victory. Players must play hard and fair at all times. Fairness is what athletics and basketball are all about. Basketball records are a matter of personal pride. However, your record as a person is the most important record of all.

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Types of Fouls


Fouling plays a critical part in the outcome of the game, especially when it comes playoff time. Fouls were added to the basketball rule book to penalize; however, intelligent players and teams can use fouls to their advantage. Various types of fouls include:

Personal Fouls – fouls that involve physical contact such as holding, blocking, pushing, etc.

Offensive Fouls – fouls that are committed by offensive players. Penalty loss of ball possession.

Technical Fouls – fouls for misbehavior or unsportsmanlike conduct such as arguing. Technical fouls can also be a result of a scorebook or pre-game infractions such as dunking.

Intentional Fouls – pre-meditated fouls, such as deliberate grabbing on an opponent to stop an uncontested lay-up or at the end of a game to stop the clock. On intentional fouls the offended team retains ball position in addition to the two free throws being awarded.

Flagrant Fouls – fouls that involve unnecessary or excessive contact which could result in injuries. Results in ejection from the game and a possible suspension.

Note: There is no room in the game of basketball for hard fouls (even in the NBA) especially on lay ups when shooters are most vulnerable to injury. Basketball carries more than enough injury risk without a player intentionally or unintentionally injuring another player when fouling.

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Free Throw Situations

Free Throws

Free throws are awarded for the various fouls and account for approximately 1/4 of the points scored in a game. The different free throw situations include:

Two (or Three) Free Throws are awarded when a player is fouled in the act of shooting and the shot is unsuccessful

And-One – when fouled in the act of shooting and the shot is successful, the basket counts and one free throw is awarded.

Bonus (One and One) – free throws are awarded on non-shooting fouls once the maximum number of team fouls for a period is exceeded. If the bonus situation, if the first free throw is made a second free throw is award. If the first free throw is missed, ball is in play.

Double Bonus – once a team reaches 10 team fouls in a half, two free throws are awarded.

Technical Fouls – two free throws are awarded on technical fouls. The opposing team has option of naming the player to shoot the free throw attempts.

Double fouls - when players on opposite teams commit personal fouls simultaneously. The personal fouls are recorded but no free throws are awarded.

False Double Foul – when multiple fouls occur in tandem, the fouls are administered in the order in which they occur.

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Basketball Violations


Violations are lesser rule infractions that result in loss of ball possession, canceling a made shot, or awarding a made shot or substitute free throw.

Ball Handling Violations. Penalty – loss of ball possession (turnover)

Out of Bounds – stepping on or outside a boundary line while in possession of the ball or the last person to touch the ball when it goes directly out of bounds.

Traveling/Steps – moving or changing pivot feet or taking more than 1 1/2 steps prior to shooting a shot.

Palming or Carrying the Ball – ball must be dribbled with hand on top of the ball.

Double Dribble – Stopping and then restarting the dribble or dribbling with two hands.

Batting the ball with close fist or kicking the ball.

Over and Back – Crossing the midcourt line and then crossing back into the backcourt.

Inbounds passer moves from designed spot. Note: after a made basket, the inbounds passer can move anywhere along the baseline.

Timing Violations – result in loss of ball possession (turnover)

Three Seconds in the lane

Closely guarded for 5 seconds when in possession of the ball.

Not making an inbounds pass within 5 seconds

Failure to advance the ball past the midcourt line in 8/10 seconds. Note: This backcourt rule does not apply in women’s college basketball.

Not shooting a free throw within 10 seconds.

Shooting Violations– result in loss of ball possession (turnover)

Shot Clock – ball is not out of shooter’s hand when shot clock expires

Causing the ball to enter the basket from below the basket.

Free Throw – shooter steps into the lane before ball hits rim.

Free Throw – shooter misses hitting the rim on shot.

Free Throw – shooter purposely fakes a free throw attempt.

Goal Tending – when a defender touches the ball on the downward flight. The basket or free throw counts.

Basket Interference – when an offensive player touches ball on downward flight or on the rim, the basket is disallowed and the ball is awarded to the opponent out of bounds.

Note: Under FIBA (International) rules ball can be touch by either team once it hits the rim.

Free Throw Lane Violations – occur when a non-shooter steps into lane or leaves the lane before ball leaves the shooter’s hand.

If an opponent violates and the free throw was unsuccessful, the shooter is awarded a substitute free throw. If the free throw was successful, play continues.

If a teammate violates and the free throw was made, the made free throw is disallowed. If the free throw was unsuccessful, the ball is awarded out of bounds to the opponent.



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