Basketball Illegal Use Of Hands

Basketball Illegal Use Of Hands

What Is Illegal Use of Hands in Basketball?

Illegal use of hands in basketball refers to when a player slaps or otherwise commits a foul with their hands against an opposing player. This can happen on offense if a ball handler uses their free hand to push off a defender or on defense if they are trying to stop an offensive player from shooting, passing, or dribbling.

What Counts as Illegal Use of Hands?

Basketball is supposed to be a low to non-contact sport, since no player is supposed to touch any other player on the court in a purposeful or harmful manner. So, when a player uses their hands to stop a play or move toward the basket and past a defender, a foul is called. Here are some examples of illegal uses of hands:

  • When a defender puts both hands on the offensive player
  • When the defender slaps or hits the arm of an offensive player, especially when shooting
  • When an offensive player uses their arm to push off of a defender and make more space
  • When a defensive player holds an offensive player and prevents them from moving

Any of these situations occurring would call for a referee to blow the whistle and call a personal foul on the perpetrator. They can be difficult to avoid, however, because a player’s hands are constantly working to prevent an offensive player from scoring or to get past a defender and score 2 or more points.

Penalty Signal

When an illegal use of hands personal foul is committed, the referee will whistle the ball dead. Then, they will hold both hands in front of them at waist level and grab one wrist with the other hand.


Is illegal use of hands a personal foul in basketball?

Yes, illegal use of hands counts as a personal foul in basketball. This results in an in-bound pass from the nearest point of the infraction or a free throw if the foul occurred while the player was shooting. The offending team is also charged with a team foul if the player who committed the illegal use of hands was a defender.

What type of contact counts as illegal use of hands in basketball?

In basketball, any contact with the hands that results in an opponent being pushed, charged into, or re-routed from their path, counts as illegal use of hands. This type of contact is also forbidden with any body part, including arms, legs, and knees. Players are allowed to make contact with the hand of an opponent if it is on the ball.