Play by the Rules

Play by the Rules

Basketball rulings commonly misunderstood

Backboard out-of-bounds

The ball is out-of-bounds when it touches the backboard supports, the back of the backboards or any object above the playing court. The front, top, sides, and bottom of the backboard are all in play.

Airball during a shot-attempt

The shooter can retrieve his or her own airball if the referee considers it to be a shot attempt. The release ends team control. It is not a violation for that player to start another dribble at that point. When an airborne player keeps control of an attempted shot that is blocked and is unable to release the ball and returns to the floor with it, that player has not traveled; it is a jump ball. If, in this situation, the shooter releases the ball, then this is simply a blocked shot and play continues.


A defensive player does not have to remain stationary to take a charge. A defender may turn away or duck to absorb contact, provided he or she has already established legal guarding position, which is both feet on the playing court and facing the opponent. The defender can always move backwards or sideways to maintain a legal guarding position and may even have one or both feet off the playing court when contact occurs. That player may legally rise vertically. If the defender is moving forward, then the contact is caused by the defender, which is a blocking foul.

Backcourt violation

A player may not dribble the ball from the backcourt to the front court and then return to the backcourt again. The dribbler is not considered to be in the front court until both feet and the basketball are in the front court.

Team fouls

Any team who accumulates 7 or more fouls within the first or second half of the game will have reached the Team foul limit for that half. A single point will be awarded to the opposite team for each and every foul thereafter. Team fouls will be reset to zero at the end of the half.

Music will be stopped once a team has 7 or more fouls for the remainder of the half, this is to help clarify communication with the ref and players, also make players more aware. For games that are getting out of hand the ref will take possession on the ball on each and every foul from the side line for a few minutes or longer. 

This is an initiative to keep the game running smoothly and safely

This means that officials will be asking players to score throughout the game so they can do their job of calling a fair game of basketball


or "And 1" - when called by a ref or organiser, the offence is awarded an instant 1 point and possession. If team converts possession to scores it may result in a 5 to 6 point play. This is done as basketball613 does not officiate free throws. We keep the game moving.

  • The hand is considered "part of the ball" when it is in contact with the ball. Therefore, contact on that hand by a defender while it is in contact with the ball is not illegal.' It's still part of the ball when in the act of shooting. It's always and forever part of the ball. Only in a case where a defender removes the hand from the ball in an unsportsmanlike manner, eg, grabbing the hand, would you call a foul.
  • "basketball is a non-contact sport"

Participation in sport and recreation, particularly at the community level, should be fun. Preventing and eliminating discrimination and harassment goes a long way to ensure enjoyment from participation.

Play by the Rules provides information and online training on discrimination, harassment and child protection to address inappropriate behaviour in sport. It is supported by the Australian Government and each State and Territory Government.

The Play by the Rules program complements the Australian Sports Commission’s Harassment-free Sport Strategy.

For further information please visit

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