Holding Basketball

Basketball Holding

Basketball is a non-contact sport, so holding onto an opponent is against the rules. If a player holds an opponent, they will be called for a personal foul. Keep reading to learn more about holding in basketball.

Basketball Holding Foul

In basketball, holding is a type of personal foul committed when a player grabs or holds their opponent in a way that stops them from moving freely on the court. Defensive players can commit holding fouls both when offensive players are shooting and when they are off the ball.

In shooting fouls, players going for layups are usually the ones getting held, while players coming off screens without the ball are more likely to receive holding fouls. The defense commits holding fouls mostly because they got left behind by a player, and tried to recover, slowing them down by grabbing.


Holding is a personal foul. Thus, if it is committed as a defensive shooting foul, it will result in foul shots for the opposing team. If holding is committed as an offensive or non-shooting foul, it will result in a turnover, and the opposing team will inbound the ball from the nearest spot on the sideline.

Penalty Signal

basketball referee holding signal

Whenever referees call a holding foul, they will signal it to the scorer’s table by raising their forearm and holding their own wrist. Holding tends to be pretty easy to spot, making it an easy call for refs to make, especially when committed during a layup.


What is a holding foul in basketball?

In basketball, holding is when a player grabs or holds another player in a way that stops them from moving freely about the court. Holding usually occurs when defensive players hold onto an offensive player who is attempting to shoot the ball or when they are trying to recover after being left behind.