We love nothing more than to get out on the court and play the game. Part of the joy of basketball is the ease with which one can play, at its simplest you need a ball, a hard flat surface and a hoop. If you want to progress and play as part of a team or even compete in a league one of the most important things to learn is to know the Basketball Referee signals and their meaning.
We have all watched the tv, or even a live game, and wondered what the basketball referee is doing with his hands or wonder why he has penalized a player (I know I have!).
Today we are going to further investigate what each call by a referee means to give you all further clarification.
What are the Basketball Referee signals and their meaning?
Here 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
The Referee raises their arm and points two fingers to indicate a two-point basket scored.
Three-point basket scored
In the NBA, WNBA, NCAA and internationally under FIBA rules, the referee must raise his arm when a three point field goal is being attempted. The referee must then raise his other hand after a successful three point shot.
Counting hand signal in basketball
Constant movement of the referee’s 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.
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.
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
When a player in the free-throw line is awarded a bonus free throw, the referee will extend both his arms completely straight to his side and then move one up and down.
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
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
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
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
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
To indicate a five-second violation, the referee acts like raising five fingers by extending their arms upward.
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
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
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
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
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
For pushing foul, both hands of the officer will be extended straight in front of him, the palms of the referee’s hands facing outwards.
Intentional foul in basketball hand signal
If you see the referee placing both hands over their head and passing them, that means this is an intentional foul.
Technical foul in basketball hand signal
When the referee moves both hands in front of their chest and places them in a letter “T,” it indicates technical foul.
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
An illegal hand use foul indicates that the referee places both hands in front of themselves, at waist level, and grabbed one wrist with the other hand.
Time management signals
Signals used in order for good communication between the timekeeper and referee to notify game starting and stopping time.
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
The referee raises 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
When you see the referee spread two arms to the sides, forming a “T” shape, they are showing a full timeout.
Thirty-second timeout signal in basketball
The referee will take both hands and place them on top of their shoulders with elbows out to indicate thirty seconds timeout.
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
If a new 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 new player into the game.
Basketball referee signals can seem difficult to grasp because there are so many. From our experience the more you play and watch the game the easier it is to understand the rules. If you are a beginner our advice is to not try and learn all the referee’s hand signal and rules at once. Enjoy playing the game and try and learn a few new rules each time you go on court.