What Is a Basketball Foul?

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In basketball, a foul is either an offensive foul or a defensive foul, and these usually involve contact that is illegal. Find out what makes a foul a shooting foul with help from an athletic trainer in this free video on playing basketball and basketball fouls.

Part of the Video Series: How to Play Basketball
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Video Transcript

What is a foul? Now there's a lot of different fouls that happen in the game of basketball. Let's talk about an offensive foul. Now, for an example, an offensive foul, usually you'll hear a referee say 'a charge.' That's a perfect example of an offensive foul. How does that occur? A player, usually, let's talk about the NBA, you're standing in a regular position. Usually you'll see a male standing like this, a female, normally like this. A person will come to you. You're standing, your feet about shoulder width apart, and you've been holding position for at least three to five seconds, and someone comes in, runs right into you. And they have the ball. That's usually an offensive foul we call a charge. Okay. Then we have a defensive foul. Defensive foul or shooting foul, usually you have somebody with the ball, if you're doing a shooting foul. They'll go for a shot, and an opponent, the defensive player, will jump and accidentally, say, hit their hand. That can be a shooting foul. A regular defensive foul is just a player, not in the shooting motion, going towards the hoop, and they're fouled by the opposing player, or, their....not their teammate, but the opposing team. All right. There's also the technical foul. Now, a technical foul most commonly happens if you see, maybe, a coach on the sidelines screaming at the referee for no apparent reason. But usually it's legitimate. But no apparent reason, it seems like, and they're insulting the referee, the referee by all means will call it a technical foul, and then the team will be penalized. The flagrant foul. The flagrant foul is usually when a player intentionally harms another player. And those are the fouls that you want to watch out for, because those are the dirty players that you don't want to be involved with, or don't want to be caught playing with.


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