Learn the Types of Penalties In Basketball Before It’s TOO LATE!!!

Morgan Wolf

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Penalties in Basketball 

No sport is free of penalties.

Basketball is no different too. Players and spectators of basketball may notice further penalties in the play.

As important as it is to learn about the basketball rules, it is also essential to be aware of the basketball penalties and prepare for them. 

This is why our article today, highlights the types of penalties you are about to experience on the ground for violation of basketball rules; and of course how you can avoid them. 

A quick tip before we begin, ensure fair play all around the court, and you will have nothing to worry about. Let’s begin. 

Penalties in Basketball 

Simply put, penalties in basketball are the result of violating game rules. A penalty for one team is a bonus for the other team. In this scenario, the opposing team will receive free throws after every foul committed by the other team.  

Penalties are essential to maintain the overall fairness of the game; discouraging actions of unfair advantage by in-field teams.

However, based on the type of foul you are committing, you may end up with different kinds of penalties. In general, there are two major categories of penalties – Personal and Technical.
Today, we will learn them all. 

Types of Penalties in Basketball 

Types of Penalties in Basketball 

In the rulebook of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Rule 12 is dedicated to fouls and penalties. Let’s begin with technical penalties first. 

Technical Penalties in Basketball 

What is a technical penalty in a game? It is the type of penalty where no physical contact has been made between two opposing players; a foul is simply made by a non-player. 

Technical penalties are not about players only. Instead, coaches on both sidelines may face penalties under this category. It results in one free throw and losing possession of the ball to the other team. 

Different types of technical penalties can take place in the field. Let’s take a glance at them. 

1) Excessive Timeout

A player or any officials of the game can not request more than the authorized number of timeouts. If he does, then shall be called out for a technical penalty. 

Based on the number of timeout requests, the team who performs the free throw attempt will get the ball. The players shall resume the game from the closest spot the game was interrupted and with a throw-in. 

2) Delay of Game 

When a player or any official attempts intentional delay in basketball; that is too often, a technical penalty shall be called out. 

Unlike excessive timeouts, a number of reasons follow this technical penalty. They are: 

  • When a player prevents the ball frequently to be put into play. 
  • After a successful free throw or field goal, interfere with the ball too often. 
  • Failure to pass the ball to the nearest player after a personal foul. 
  • A player touches the ball before a throw-in has been released.  
  • A defender crosses the boundary line before the throw-in is released. 
  • A player enters the game with his shirt untucked.  

For any reasons mentioned here, a technical penalty will be assessed in court. However, the first offense will be a warning

Upon repetitive offense, the public address announcer shall gauge a technical foul. As a result, the offensive team shall receive a new 8 seconds if it is in the backcourt to proceed with the ball. 

3) Players’ Number 

In basketball, five players enter the game from each team on the court. However, at the moment of putting the ball into play, and while in play, if one team has more than five players, a technical foul will be called out.

There is no first warning. Following a free throw for this technical foul, the team will immediately correct the number of players.  

4) Basket Ring, Backboard, or Support 

Basket Ring, Backboard, or Support 

No, you can’t intentionally hang on the basket ring, net, backboard, or support during the match is going on. Otherwise, you will end up with a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul. 

Similarly, a defender is not allowed to deliberately hang on his opponent’s basket ring, net, backboard, or support; neither can he touch the ball during a field goal attempt. 

However, an exception to this foul only remains when the offensive or defensive player needs support to prevent injury to themselves; and may use the opponent’s basket ring, backboard, or net without facing a penalty. 

5) Conduct and Fines  

No officials can damage the flow of the game with any kind of misconduct. Otherwise, a technical foul shall be called without any prior warning. Be he a player or anyone seated on the bench, this kind of technical foul can be called for anybody.  

Actions include: 

  • Disrespectfully calling a game official. 
  • Physically make unnecessary contact with an official. 
  • Expressing dissatisfaction clearly to a call or no-call. 
  • Using curse words or swear words or taunting. 
  • Coach entering the court without being permitted. 
  • Irrelevant or unnatural physical acts like throwing an elbow without any contact involved.  

It doesn’t end here. A technical foul shall be announced for many an act like this. In addition to that, fines will be applied based on different technical fouls.

For example, excessive timeouts and delays in the game shall issue a team a fine of $2000 each. Two additional technical fouls will be issued with a $5000 fine with one game suspension.
The list goes on! 

6) Fighting Fouls 

Players, coaches, trainers, or any other officials can not engage in fights. There will be no warning and will be followed by immediate ejection from the game.   

This rule equally applies whether the ball is in the play or even dead. However, during a fight, if the ball has no team, the game shall resume with a jump ball. 

Any personnel performing a fight will be issued with a fine of less than $50,000; as stated by NBA official rule book. 

Here goes examples of technical penalties. Now, let’s take a glance at the list of personal fouls on the basketball court. 

Personal Penalties in Basketball 

It happens when a player performs illegal physical contact with an opponent. 

In basketball, personal fouls can be called for actions such as pushing, holding, tripping, striking, or slowing down an opponent using one’s body. After a certain number of personal fouls, a player may be disqualified from the game. 

The foul results may vary for different players – we will reach that part soon. Here are the types of personal penalties performed in basketball. 

Shooting Foul  

A personal foul that ends up on a player who is shooting the ball, will result in free throws for him. It is known as the shooting foul. 

There is no obligation to the number of free throws. Rather, he can earn any number of free throws depending on the level of personal foul. The free throw will initiate at the location where the personal foul happened. 

Genuinely, a shooter gets two free throws at this point. But if he were shooting from the three-point arc at the moment of the personal foul, he will be rewarded with three free throws.  

Team Fouls  

Guess it by name! Team fouls in basketball refer to the total number of fouls in a team for a single game. Personal fouls add up to it and result in the team’s total foul count. 

Team fouls lead to penalty situations, commonly known as bonus or free-throw situations. However, the specific number of team fouls you may need to enter a penalty situation varies depending on the league or stages of the gameplay.  

Remember that, when a team makes a higher number of team fouls (typically 10 or more), the opposing team will receive two free throws regardless of whether the first free throw is made or missed. We call it the Double Bonus (applied for NCAA only). 

Flagrant Fouls 

To prevent unnecessary and excessive contact in the court, flagrant fouls have been introduced during the 1990-1991 season. It counts both as personal and team fouls in total. 

Flagrant fouls are considered severe fouls and are believed to carry additional significance based on the level of contact. There are two types of flagrant fouls in basketball. 

(1) When a player commits unnecessary contact against an opponent, and (2) when unnecessary and excessive physical contact takes place between two players – are considered flagrant fouls.  

It results in a one-game suspension every time players perform at least three flagrant foul points. For instance, a Flagrant 1 refers to one point whereas a Flagrant 2 refers to two points. 

Fouling Out 

It is a direct ejection from the match! When a player performs too many fouls, he will be immediately ejected from the game. 

Each league or competition has its own rules regarding fouling out, but the most common threshold is five personal fouls (for NCAA only). However, NBA sustains up to six personal fouls before ejecting a player. 

Once a player is removed from the match, he is benched and can not return to the game. 

Penalties for Personal Foul

It depends on which type of personal foul you are committing. Highlights of the penalties are: 

  • A personal foul by offense shall result in a turnover. 
  • When the defense commits a personal foul, it will result in the opponent getting possession of the ball through an inbound pass. 
  • Shooting fouls will result in free throws depending on the location of the shooting. 
  • For a penalty situation, the opponent player shall receive one or two free throws whether he was shooting or not. 

Laimbeer, a former player for the Detroit Pistons in the NBA, was known for his physical and aggressive style of play. 

He often committed personal fouls, including hard fouls and clashes with opponents, earning a reputation as a tough and physical player.

Keep digging up and you will find tons of examples of unnecessary personal fouls committed by players in basketball history. 

The rule is simple, be fair to yourself and other players. It might often get tough to control all the emotions in the court and prevent yourself from intentionally or unintentionally committing a personal foul. 

But always, keep in mind that fouls can add up to the overall basketball record of a player and end up jeopardizing your career. 

Final Words  

“Basketball, like life, is full of ups and downs. The key to success is learning how to navigate those highs and lows with grace and resilience” – Yao Ming, former basketball player. 

Even though technical fouls might not be in your control. But you can surely improve your mindset to ignore personal fouls and ensure fair play.

People come to enjoy the court and the play that takes place in it, fouls may add instant thrill to the game. In the long run, it is the player who has to bear the weight. Thus, follow rules accordingly, and keep calm in the field.
Get in there knowing that, it is just a match; not a war field.

Do you like our article? Let us know in the comment box. Also, don’t forget to share our article and let others know. 

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Morgan Wolf

Journalist with experience covering the intersection of sports with business. Demonstrated expertise in digital, video and social media content covering major sports including soccer, NBA, NFL, MLB, tennis and Olympic sports. But basketball is his passion. Specialties: expert for sports related content management LinkedIn