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Basketball Throw Ins

What is a throw in? When do throw-ins happen? What are the rules of throw-ins from the sidelines and baselines? Get ready to learn about throw ins during a basketball game.

Basketball Throw-ins

A throw-in, also known as an inbound pass, is a method of putting the ball into play in a basketball game. On a throw-in, the referee gives the ball to a player who is standing out of bounds either on the sidelines or baselines. The referee blows his whistle and the ball becomes live. Then, the player taking the throw-in has five seconds to pass the ball to a teammate who is inbounds.

Basketball Throw-in

Throw In Rules

There are rules that dictate how players take throw-ins. Here are the rules of throw-ins in basketball:

  • Players have five seconds to throw the ball into play
  • The ball must pass the plane of the baseline or sideline
  • No player can interfere or touch the player during the throw-in
  • You can not pass the ball from the front court to the backcourt on a throw-in

PRO TIP: There's one exception to these rules. In the last two minutes of the 4th quarter and overtime quarters you can pass a throw-in anywhere on the court.

Throw In Spot

Throw-ins will always happen on a spot around the boundary lines either on the sidelines or baselines.

Basketball Boundary Lines

There are three general places that the throw in will take place:

  1. On the sidelines
  2. On the baselines
  3. On the nearest sideline at the free-throw line extended

PRO TIP: It can be difficult to predict the spot of the throw-in unless you've read the rulebooks in detail. Like after a free throw violation or punching foul, the throw-in will take place on the nearest sideline at the free-throw line extended.

Basketball Free Throw Line Extended

Game Clock And Shot Clock

During a throw-in, the game clock and shot clock stop ticking because the ball is dead. The game clock and shot clock will start ticking again immediately when the ball is thrown and touched by any player that is inbounds.

Baseline Throw-Ins

After a score is made from a free throw or a field goal, the throw-in takes place on the baseline where the points were scored. The other team gets the ball and has five seconds to make the throw-in.

PRO TIP: On a baseline throw-in, you can move along the entire baseline and even pass the ball to a teammate behind the baseline for them to throw in. However, you still only have five seconds to make the throw-in.

Basketball Steals

On throw-ins, there is a high chance for the opposing team to steal the ball. Defending players will guard close to boundary lines to prevent the thrower from making the inbound pass.

You can learn more about steals in Basketball Steals.

Basketball Traps

Another defensive strategy is trapping. On a trap, defensive players will trap the player who catches the throw-in in the corner or near the boundary lines.

You can learn more about traps in Basketball Traps.

Basketball Alternating Possession

In youth basketball and some college games, alternating possession is used to determine which team gets the ball and how the ball is put into play. With alternate possession, throw-ins are used rather than jump balls. An alternate-possession arrow device shows which team starts with the ball and changes once the ball is thrown into play.

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