Understand Basketball Referee Signals And Meanings

When you are planning to prepare yourself to become a basketball player, you have to get some study. One of the most important things to learn is to know the Basketball Referee Signals and their Meaning.

Besides, you may have wondered at the basketball referee’s hand gestures. This article is also for those who are fond of basketball and always wonder about signaling with the referee’s hand.

Today we are going to describe all these for you. For those who are watching the game of basketball for the first time, it is very difficult to understand the meaning of these signals. So, in order to perpetuate your basketball experience, here we are giving the details of all the signals used in this game with short definitions.

What are the Basketball Referee signals and their meaning?

You will see referees showing some postures in different games and so in basketball. There is a list of basketball referee signals with their brief meaning.

Hand signals indicators


The referee uses these signals to communicate to the scorer’s table during the game.

Two-point basket scored

Two-point basket scored

Referee act like extending one hand parallel to the floor and pointing with two fingers when he indicates a two-point basket scored.

Three-point basket scored

Three-point basket scored

When the referee signals a three-point basket scored, he acts like extending both arms directly upward with fingers point.

Counting hand signal in basketball

Counting hand signal in basketball

When constantly moving his hand from the middle of the chest straight forward to the back, he is indicated that he was counting for a time limit violation. Each movement represents one second.

Basket counts

Counting hand signal in basketball

The referee will drop his hand from shoulder height directly down, which means he is giving the signal for basket counts.

Baskets Do not count.

Baskets Do not count

To “shake” a basket or indicate that it is not counted because there has been a foul, the referee will start with both hands on the shoulders, elbows and extend the hand directly to the side.

Bonus free throws

Bonus free throws

When a player in the free-throw line is awarded a bonus free throw, the officer will extend both his arms completely straight to his side and then move one up and down.

Lane violation in basketball hand signals

lane violation in basketball hand signals

When lane violation occurs, the referee will raise his hand out to his side and hold it there until the free throw is completed.

Basketball Violation and Hand Signals


Violation is a rule that is broken but does not result in any player being the victim of a personal foul. The other team is given possession of the ball.

Traveling signal in basketball

Traveling signal in basketball

When the officer acts like placing both his hands in front of him and moving in a circle is indicates traveling violence.

Palming signal in basketball

Palming signal in basketball

The referee will have one hand on the side, flipping from palm to palm down to signal a palming violation.

Double Dribble Signal In Basketball

Double Dribble Signal In Basketball

The official will signal a double dribble violation with both hands in front of him, palms down and alternating between them and below as if a basketball were dribbling.

Three seconds hand signal in basketball

three seconds hand signal in basketball

You can understand this signal when the referee raises his three fingers and make his hand swipe motion back and forth at the side.

Five seconds hand signal in basketball

Five seconds hand signal in basketball

To indicate a five-second violation, the referee acts like raising five fingers by extending their arms upward.

Ten seconds hand signal in basketball

ten seconds hand signal in basketball

The referee raised ten fingers with both arms extended upwards to signal a ten-second violation.

Kicking the ball hand signal in basketball

Kicking the ball hand signal in basketball

When a player kicks the ball, the referee has to raise one of his feet in front of him.

Basketball foul signals


If any player makes a personal foul, the referee uses some signals to indicate the types of foul and which player committed the foul.

Player control foul

One hand points to the back of the head and the other to the opposite side of the play, indicating that a charge has been made.

Hand check foul in basketball hand signal

Hand check foul in basketball hand signal

Extending one hand with the finger in front of the chest and the other hand holding the wrist gives a signal that a player fouls a hand check.

Blocking foul in basketball hand signal

Blocking foul in basketball hand signal

In order to indicate blocking foul of a defensive player, the official will have both hands, fists, touching his buttocks and his elbows firmly against his body.

Holding foul in basketball hand signal

Holding foul in basketball hand signal

The holding signal is created by extending one hand upwards in front of the face and holding the other hand on the wrist.

Pushing foul in basketball hand signal

Pushing foul in basketball hand signal

For pushing foul, both hands of the officer will be extended straight in front of him, the palms of his hands facing outwards.

Intentional foul in basketball hand signal

Intentional foul in basketball hand signal

If you see the officer placing both hands over his head and passing them, that means this is an intentional foul.

Technical foul in basketball hand signal

Technical foul in basketball hand signal

When the referee acts like they placed both hands in front of him and place them in a letter “T,” it indicates technical foul.

Double foul in basketball hand signal

Double foul in basketball hand signal

If two players foul at the same time, the referee will extend both hands, fists to the side. This is a signal of a double foul.

Illegal hand use hand signal in basketball

illegal hand use hand signal in basketball

An illegal hand use foul indicates that the officer placed both his hands in front of him, at waist level, and grabbed one of his wrists with the other hand.

Time management signals


Those signals are basically used to make good communication between the timekeeper and referee to notify game starting and stopping time.

Start clock signal in basketball

Start clock signal in basketball

Raising one hand above the head and dropping the raised hand directly towards the floor indicates starting of the clock.

Stop clock signal in basketball

Stop clock signal in basketball

The referee raises his one hand straight overhead with his palms in order to stop the clock at any point of running games.

Full timeout hand signal in basketball

Full timeout hand signal in basketball

When you see the referee spread his two arms to the sides, forming a “T” shape, it means he is trying to show full timeout.

Thirty-second timeout signal in basketball

Thirty-second timeout signal in basketball

The referee will take both hands and place them on top of his shoulders with elbows out to indicate thirty seconds timeout.

Jump ball hand signal in basketball

Jump ball hand signal in basketball

When both players have control over the ball at the same time, it is indicated by extending both thumb arms and pointing upwards.

Substitution hand signal in basketball

Substitution hand signal in basketball

If an alternate player wants to enter the game, it is indicated that one hand faces the timekeeper, raises it in a “stop” manner, and the other hand moves the alternate player into the game.

Concluded

Basketball referee signals can seem difficult because there are so many. So it becomes hard to understand people’s. We also divide those signals and meanings into sections in order to make it easier. Here we discuss each and every single detail about basketball referee signals and meaning that would help you to learn quickly.