Basketball 5-Second Violation Rule

Basketball 5 Second Violation

At all levels of basketball, there are timing rules in place to ensure the game maintains a fast pace and features minimal time-wasting. One of these is the five-second violation, which can be called for multiple reasons. Read on to learn more about the five-second rule in basketball.

Basketball Five-Second Violation

There are three different types of violations that are five-second violations in basketball. The three different types of five-second violations are:

  • Closely Guarded Five-Second Violation
  • Back to the Basket Five-Second Violation
  • Five-Second Inbounding Violation

Closely Guarded Five-Second Violation

Basketball Held Ball

This 5-second violation is called when a player holds the ball for five seconds and does not shoot, pass, or dribble the ball while being closely guarded by an opposing player. That is not very often committed by players as the game grows more dynamic; players pass and dribble more, and faster than ever. However, if a player is trapped, or very well guarded by the opponent, they can sometimes commit this 5-second violation. When this happens, the ball is turned over to the opponent.

Back to the Basket Five-Second Violation

This rule is exclusive to NBA Basketball. A player positioned under the extended free throw line cannot dribble the ball with their side or back to the basket for more than five seconds. Curiously, that rule is sometimes called the Charles Barkley rule. The rule was instituted in 1999 by the NBA because of Hall-of-Fame forward, Charles Barkley. Barkley, who was incredibly strong and skilled, would turn his back to the opponent, dribble, and push his opponent until he found himself in a favorable position to score. That proved to be a problem as he would do that every possession, turning the game into a tedious and repetitive experience. When this violation is committed, the ball is turned over to the opponent.

Five-Second Inbounding Violation

This is easily the easiest to see and most called of the 5-second violations. This violation happens when a player fails to inbound the ball within five seconds after receiving it from the referee from any place on the court. That violation happens when the inbound is very well defended by the opponent. This violation leads to possession change.


What is a five-second violation in basketball?

A five-second violation is a violation in basketball that is called in three different situations. The first scenario in which a five-second violation is called is when a player does not dribble, pass, or shoot the ball within five seconds. A five-second violation can also be called when a player fails to inbound the ball within five seconds. The final scenario in which a five-second violation will be called is if a player before the plane of the free-throw line dribbles with their back turned toward the basket for five seconds.

What is the difference between a three-second violation, a five-second violation, and an eight-second violation?

Though they sound similar, three, five, and eight-second violations are different concepts in basketball. A three-second violation occurs when a player spends more than three seconds in the paint or “key” under the basket. A five-second violation occurs when a player holds, dribbles backwards, or fails to inbound the ball in five seconds. An eight-second violation (10 seconds in the WNBA, NCAA, and high school) occurs when a team fails to cross the midcourt line with the ball in eight seconds after gaining possession.