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What Is Contact In Basketball?

What Is Contact In Basketball?

Basketball is a game of contact and physicality. When it comes to the rules and regulations, contact is an important part of the game, and it has been for years. But what exactly does “contact” mean when it comes to basketball?

Let’s look at what constitutes contact in basketball and how it can affect your team during a game. 

The Definition of Contact 

Contact in basketball is defined as any physical contact between two players. This includes jostling for position, blocking shots, bumping into each other while going for rebounds, or even pushing or shoving each other. Any body-to-body contact between two players on the court is considered to be contact. 

Types Of Contact

Incidental Contact: This is when two players unintentionally collide with each other while playing the game. This type is not usually penalized unless one player gains an advantage over the other.

Offensive Contact: This happens when a player deliberately tries to make a bodily impact on another player to impede their progress or gain an advantage. This type is usually penalized, as it can disrupt the flow of the game and cause potential injuries.

Defensive Contact: This occurs when a player tries to stop another player from scoring by being too physical with them. This type is also usually penalized, as it can impede the offensive player’s progress and give the defensive team an unfair advantage.

Penalties for Contact 

If there is excessive contact (i.e., pushing or shoving) between two players, the referee might call a foul on one or both players involved. Depending on the severity of the foul, penalties can range from free throws awarded to the opposing team or even ejection from the game if necessary.

It’s important to note that not all types of physical contact are considered fouls; sometimes, referees will allow some minor physicality between players if they feel that no harm was done and that no advantage was gained from it. 

How To Avoid Contact During Games 

While physicality is unavoidable in playing basketball, there are still ways to limit unnecessary contact during games. One way is to be aware of your opponent’s movements so you don’t run into them when going for a rebound or attempting a shot. You want to be in a good position but not in a spot where you put yourself in jeopardy of a foul.

Another option is to focus on your technique when dribbling or shooting so you don’t make illegal moves that could draw unnecessary attention from referees. You can do this by practicing and watching your game tape.

Also, constant communication with teammates throughout the game will help everyone stay aware of their opponents’ location on the court to avoid unnecessary collisions and penalties due to contact. 


Contact in basketball plays an integral role in how teams can move around and interact with one another during games. Understanding what constitutes as “contact” according to official rules can help ensure that your team avoids unnecessary penalties due to physicality while still playing aggressively enough to win games.

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