Basketball Personal Fouls

When a player commits a personal foul, it counts as both an individual player foul and team foul.

Personal Fouls

Basketball Personal Fouls

A personal foul is called on any player that makes illegal physical contact with another player on the court using any part of their body to impede their movement.

Illegal Physical Contact

What counts as illegal physical contact in the NBA and college basketball? A personal foul will be called for any of the following:

  • holding an opposing player
  • pushing an opposing player
  • running or charging into an opposing player
  • impeding the movement or progress of an opposing player using one's body (i.e. arms, forearms, legs, body)

Flagrant fouls also count toward both the personal and team foul totals. These are excessive fouls that carry extra significance due to severity of contact.

Personal Foul Rewards

basketball shooting a free throw

If a player is called for a personal foul on the court, the other team will either get possession of the ball or free throws, depending on the team foul count. If the fouling team is in a penalty situation, the fouled player may receive one or two free throws (depending on the foul count and competition). These situations are known as the bonus and double bonus.

Shooting Foul

If a player gets called for a personal foul on the player that is shooting the ball, they can get up to three free throws. This is called a shooting foul, and the location of the shooter at the time of the foul earns them free throws accordingly.

There are also non-shooting fouls, which may occur while there is not a shot taking place. These usually result in the fouled team inbounding the ball, but could possibly result in free throws if there is a penalty situation involved.

Team Fouls

basketball team foul

Personal fouls count toward both the player's individual foul count as well as the team's foul count. Team fouls build toward the penalty situations.

Fouling Out

Basketball Foul Out

Personal fouls are totaled for each individual player and too many will eject a player from the game (this is called fouling out). If a player commits too many fouls, they will go over the limit and foul out of the game. When a player fouls out, they are benched and cannot return to play.