Common Fouls That Occur During Basketball Games
Photo by Production Team

Common Fouls That Occur During Basketball Games

By Kaitlyn Fedor

Related Links

We here at Hoop Group are looking to help basketball players and coaches of all ages and skill levels improve their game. This includes both the physical and the mental sides of how to get better at basketball.

We believe that basketball development comes about as a result of hard work and determination. If you don’t put in the effort, you won’t get the results. But there’s also a lot to be said for training and learning the right way, and at Hoop Group we offer comprehensive basketball skills training.

One important part of basketball is knowledge of the rules. Failure to understand the rules and guidelines of the game means you’re not coming close to maximizing your potential. Recognizing the common fouls that occur during a basketball game is absolutely critical.

Personal Fouls

The first class of fouls frequently called during basketball games are personal fouls. These fouls are called on a specific player, and in many leagues a player can only receive so many personal fouls before fouling out of the game. For example, there are 6 personal fouls in the NBA and 5 in NCAA basketball.

Personal fouls include the following:


Grabbing or clutching at another player, whether you’re on offense or defense, is a foul.


On defense, preventing an offensive player from getting to a spot on the court they’re trying to get is a foul. There is a time when you are legally allowed to block the progress of an offensive player, which we’ll cover next.


If a defensive player has established a stationary position on the court, you are not allowed to run that player over or crash into them. If you do so, that’s considered charging, an offensive foul.


When a defensive player reaches a hand toward the ball to steal it but instead makes contact with the player possessing the ball, that’s a foul.


If a player, whether offensive or defensive, swings their elbows in the air and makes contact with an opposing player, that’s a foul.


When going for a rebound, if a player lunges over the back of another player, that’s a foul.

Illegal Screen

If a player setting a screen moves or leans to block a player trying to run around the screen, that’s a foul.

There are a number of other personal fouls, but the above listed are the most common you’ll encounter.


A violation will not cause a player to pick up a personal foul. However, if a referee calls a violation the ball will be given to the other team.

Here are some of the most common violations:


If a player takes more than two steps without dribbling the ball, that’s a violation.

Double Dribble

A player is allowed to dribble and then pick the ball up only once. If they attempt to dribble again after picking the ball up, it’s a violation.


Once a shot has started to fall downward, if a player interferes with the shot, it’s a violation. In this case, rather than a turnover, the shot is counted as though it were successful.

Back-Court Violation

Once a team has brought the ball into the offensive half, they can’t take the ball into the backcourt. If they do so, it’s a violation.

Flagrant and Technical Fouls

A flagrant foul is considered to be one where the player committing the foul either acted dangerously or recklessly, or deliberately committed a foul.

A technical foul can result from arguing with an official or using obscenities.

A flagrant foul results in two free throw for the opposing team, and the opposing team keeps the ball. A technical foul results in a single free throw for the opposing team, and they keep the ball.

We hope this list of common fouls will help you prepare for your next game. Knowing the rules, and what you can be penalized for, should hopefully help you avoid being penalized and costing your team possessions and points.