NBA Fouls and Violations for All Basketball Fans Must Know

Basketball is a very entertaining sport that makes every game memorable because of its competitiveness. But one thing that puts the fans on the edge of their seats is the fouls. Fouls are basketball penalties or violations committed by a player of a team. These fouls can completely turn around the game, which as a result, can make or break every team’s gameplay.

So, fans and bettors attempt to familiarize players with all the possible violations and histories to understand how they are inside the court. This can serve as an edge to foresee how a game will unfold. As such, whether you’re a casual or an avid fan and a bettor, knowing the most crucial fouls and violations can help you understand the game.

To help you, here are the must-know basketball fouls that you must be aware of.

Personal Fouls

A personal foul is the most common of all types of basketball fouls. All NBA fans, especially those who are planning to participate in NBA betting, need to be able to distinguish these fouls. It’s because, depending on the referee\s discretion, a player can be ejected from the team, which can significantly change the odds of the game.

Personal fouls result from personal contact between two opposing players. Since the sport constantly involves limited contact between players, a technical touch or illegal physical conduct is considered a personal foul. To be more specific, here are the most common types of personal fouls that you should know.

  • Tripping. As its name suggests, tripping involves a player using their leg to throw an opposing player off guard and lose their balance. This foul can be committed by either defense or offense players.
  • Flagrant. This type of personal foul is one of the most dangerous, where a player commits an act of violence that can severely injure an opposing player. This can either be deliberate or unintentional. So, if the referee deems them risky, they can remove the player at the referee’s discretion.
  • Illegal Hand Use. This is also known as “reaching in,” where players use their hands that the referee considers illegal. The most common examples are touching a player after a failed attempt to steal or touching a shooter’s arm.
  • Elbowing. Elbowing is when an offensive player hits a defender with their elbow excessively while moving. The referees can still call an elbowing foul even if they didn’t make contact with the opposing athlete.
  • Charging. This personal foul involves an athlete making personal contact with an opposing player through pushing. To explain more, it’s when the player makes contact with another player who has their feet on the ground and charges at them. In this case, a charging foul is complete as an offensive player’s foul.


Unlike fouls, violations are considered minor traction or illegal action. Referees call violations if they deem any actions infringed the NBA rulebook. Violations are usually breaches of inbounds, dribbling, or making an illegal move.

Thus, since violations are minor mistakes, you’ll be less likely to witness them in huge leagues such as the NBA because professional players must’ve already possessed basic skills. Nonetheless, you’ll never really know what goes on inside the court, and knowing minute things might become crucial in the future.

Moreover, there are three classifications of violations: time violations, dribbling violations, and shooting/defending violations. All of them combined, there are a total of 20 distinct types. Discussed below are the most common ones.

  • Backcourt. This type of violation is when an offensive player touches the ball in the backcourt. The backcourt is a team’s defensive half of the court. So, when an opposing player dared to touch the ball on this side, the referee could call them for violation.
  • Traveling. In basketball, you’ll need to dribble the ball if it’s in your possession constantly. Taking more than two steps without dribbling will be considered a basketball violation.
  • Palming. One needs to be attentive to catch this violation. Palming is when a player has their palm to the far side of the ball or underneath the basketball. This usually happens when a player attempts to grip the ball better to impede the dribbling motion, which results in a turnover.
  • Double Dribble. Double dribbling is when a player tries to restart their dribble. Usually, they dribble by catching or resting the ball on one or both of their hands. In other words, they receive a pass, dribble, stop, and then dribble again.
  • Free Throw. In every free throw, every player will position in their place until the free throw shooter releases their shot. If an offense player travels into the lane before the free thrower shoots the ball, then the shot will not be counted. On the other hand, if the defense does the same, then another shot attempt will be given to the shooter.

Final Thoughts

Fouls and violations are somewhat easier to understand. What makes it challenging is that it can take place during an intense game. So, one must possess excellent observational skills. Nonetheless, learning this list is a significant step in understanding a basketball game.

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