What They All Imply (With Photographs)


Referees play a major position in a basketball sport.

Basketball referee indicators assist to inform the group, scorer’s desk, coaches, and gamers what is going on on the ground.

However watching the sport might get complicated should you don’t know what the referee indicators imply.

On this submit, we check out the entire completely different indicators referees make all through a basketball sport and clarify what they imply.

25 Basketball Referee Indicators

Violation Indicators:

When a violation happens, you’ll all the time hear the referee blow their whistle and lift an open hand within the air earlier than signalling the violation.

The open hand within the air indicators a lifeless ball.

The referee then provides their sign, after which the ball is taken out of bounds to renew play.

1. Touring

Basketball Referee Signals Traveling

When a participant illegally strikes one or each of their ft, a touring violation known as.

The referee will put each arms in entrance of their face and transfer them in a circle to sign a touring.

2. Double Dribble

Basketball Referee Signals Illegal Dribble Double Dribble

A double dribble happens when a participant dribbles the ball, picks it up, after which dribbles once more.

The referee places each of their palms in entrance of them with their palms down, then alternates shifting them up and right down to sign a double dribble has occurred.

3. Carrying the Basketball

Basketball Referee Signals Carrying the ball

A carrying violation known as when a participant is dribbling the basketball and places their hand beneath it, then continues dribbling.

To sign a carry, the official will use one in every of their palms and flip it over from palm as much as palm down a number of occasions.

4. 3-Second Violation

Basketball Referee Signals Three Seconds

Gamers are solely allowed 3 seconds within the paint — a 12×16 ft space closest to the basket.

If a participant is within the paint for greater than 3 seconds, the referee will name a 3-second violation.

The referee will take three fingers, level them down at their facet, after which swipe their hand backwards and forwards to sign this violation.

5. 5-Second Violation

Basketball Referee Signals Five Seconds

A workforce has 5 seconds to throw the ball inbounds when they’re taking it out.

In the event that they take longer than 5 seconds, the referee will name a 5-second violation.

This can be a easy sign, because the referee will use one in every of their palms and put 5 fingers within the air.

6. 8-Second Violation

Basketball Referee Signals for Eight Second Violation

When a workforce has the ball within the backcourt, they’ve 8 seconds to get the ball throughout the half-court line.

In the event that they take longer than the allotted 8 seconds, the referee calls a 8-second violation.

(many youthful leagues use 10 seconds as an alternative of 8)

The referee indicators this violation by placing eight fingers within the air.

7. 24-Second Violation

Basketball Referee Signals for Twenty Four Seconds Shot Clock Violation

If enjoying in a league that makes use of a shot clock, groups may have 24 seconds to take a shot on every possession (some leagues use longer shot clocks).

If a workforce fails to shoot inside this time, the referee will name a 24-second violation.

The referee will use one handed to faucet the highest of their shoulder on the identical arm.

8. Over-and-Again (Backcourt Violation)

Basketball Referee Signals Illegal Over and Back

When a workforce possesses the basketball within the entrance courtroom, then a participant with the ball goes into the backcourt with out the protection touching it, an over-and-back violation happens.

The referee will place their hand out with their palm down and transfer it backwards and forwards backward and forward like their hand goes over a line.

That is to sign {that a} participant went over the half courtroom line and an over-and-back occurred.

9. Kicking

Basketball Referee Signals Kicking

In basketball, a participant might not deliberately kick the basketball.

In the event that they do, the official will blow their whistle.

To sign a kick occurred, the referee will level at their foot.

10. Out of Bounds

Basketball Referee Signals Out of Bounds

The ball is out of bounds when it touches a line that outlines the courtroom or anyplace exterior of these strains.

Additionally it is out of bounds if it touches a participant who’s standing exterior or on a line.

When the ball goes out of bounds, a referee will sign whose ball it’s by pointing towards the basket of the workforce that can take possession.

11. Soar Ball

Basketball Referee Signals Jump Ball

When gamers from each groups possess the basketball, a leap ball known as.

The referee will give two thumbs up above their head to sign {that a} leap ball has been known as.

Fouling Indicators:

When a foul happens, the very first thing a referee will do is blow their whistle and place a closed hand within the air.

The closed hand signifies that a foul has occurred, which is completely different from the open hand, which indicators a violation.

After the foul happens, the official will sign what sort of foul it was.

They may even go to the scorer’s desk and inform the scorekeeper who the foul was on, and in addition do the sign for the kind of foul.

12. Blocking Foul

Basketball Referee Signals Blocking

When a defensive participant doesn’t have a authorized guarding place and impedes the dribbler’s progress, a blocking foul happens.

The referee’s sign for blocking is putting each palms on their hips.

13. Charging Foul

Basketball Referee Signals for Charging

If the defensive participant is in a authorized guarding place and the offensive participant knocks them off of their spot, a charging foul known as.

That is additionally known as a player-control foul.

When the referee indicators a charging foul, they make a fist with one hand and “punch” the open palm of their different hand.

14. Hand-Checking Foul

Basketball Referee Signals for Hand-checking foul

Defensive gamers should not allowed to restrict a ball-handler’s capacity to maneuver with their palms.

If the defender does restrict the motion with their palms, a hand-checking foul known as.

For this sign, the referee will chop one hand throughout the other wrist.

15. Holding Foul

Basketball Referee Signals Holding

In basketball, you aren’t allowed to seize one other participant by the jersey or any of their physique components.

If this occurs, a holding foul known as.

The ref’s sign for a holding foul is making a fist level with one hand, holding that arm out, after which “grabbing” the wrist with their different hand.

16. Pushing Foul

Basketball Referee Signals Pushing

Gamers should not capable of push their opponents in basketball.

If a ref sees a push, they may name a foul.

These fouls occur loads when two gamers are going after the identical rebound.

In actual fact, when an ‘over the again’ foul happens, you’ll usually see the referee name it a push.

The sign for pushing is placing two arms out and making a pushing movement with the palms.

17. Elbow Foul

Basketball Referee Signals Excessive Swinging of Elbows

If a participant will get aggressive with their elbows and connects with an opponent, a foul might be known as.

Generally these fouls may be deemed flagrant and can lead to two photographs and the ball for the workforce that received hit by the elbow.

The official will sign this sort of foul by swinging their elbow.

18. Intentional Foul

Basketball Referee Signals for Double Foul

Over the course of the sport, fouls occur unintentionally quite a few occasions.

Nevertheless, if the referee thinks a foul was carried out purposely or with malicious intent, they will name an intentional foul.

An intentional foul ends in two photographs for the offensive workforce and the ball.

The sign for an intentional foul is placing each arms within the air and making an ‘X’ with them.

19. Technical Foul

Basketball Referee Signals Technical Foul

If referees really feel like a coach or a participant will not be conducting themselves correctly or having unsportsmanlike habits, they will name a technical foul.

This foul additionally ends in two photographs, plus the basketball.

The sign for a technical foul is taking each palms and making the letter ‘T’ with them.


Different Hand Indicators to Know:

Generally referees will make indicators that don’t point out a violation or a foul has occurred.

These indicators may be discovered under.

20. Substitution

Basketball Referee Signals for Substitution

When groups desires to alternate an on-court participant with somebody on the bench, the coach asks for a substitution.

On the subsequent lifeless ball, the referee indicators the substitution by making an “X” with their arms.

21. Begin the Clock

Basketball Referee Signals Time In

In basketball, there are quite a lot of lifeless balls the place the clock is stopped.

The clock doesn’t begin once more till a participant on the ground touches it.

As a substitute of the timekeeper making a judgment of when to cease the clock, they search for a referee sign to start out. The ref may have their hand within the air till it’s time to start out the clock.

As soon as that point has come, the referee will drop their arm down and the time will begin.

22. Three-Level Try

Basketball Referee Signals Three Points Attempt

When a participant makes an attempt a three-pointer, the referee has a sign to point out that.

They’ll put one arm straight up within the air to sign a three-point shot is being tried.

23. Three-Level Make

Basketball Referee Signals Successful Three Point Shot

If the three-point try is made, the official has one other sign for that.

They’ll take each of their arms and place them straight into the air.

24. No Basket

Basketball Referee Signals No Basket Cancel Score

Generally photographs are taken which might be instantly after a foul known as or the time has expired.

The official will sign the shot doesn’t rely by waving and crossing their arms out in entrance of them.

25. Timeout

Basketball Referee Signals for Charged Full and 30 Second Timeout

The opposite sort of timeout is a full timeout.

The sign for that is to stay each arms straight out to the facet with fists being made.


As you possibly can see, there are lots of basketball referee indicators in a sport.

It is essential for referees, coaches, gamers, and followers to know every of them.

The subsequent time you go to a sport, watch how the referees use completely different hand indicators all through the course of the sport.