ART. 1 . . . It is legal to extend the arms vertically above the shoulders and need not be lowered to avoid contact with an opponent when the action of the opponent causes contact. This legal use of the arms and hands usually occurs when guarding the player making a throw-in, the player with the ball in pressing tactics and a player with the ball who is maneuvering to try for goal by pivoting, jumping, etc.

ART. 2 . . . It is legal use of hands to reach to block or slap the ball controlled by a dribbler or a player throwing for goal or a player holding it and accidentally hitting the hand of the opponent when it is in contact with the ball.

ART. 3 . . . It is legal to hold the hands and arms in front of the face or body for protection and to absorb force from an imminent charge by an opponent. This same protective use of the arms and hands occurs when a player who has set a screen outside the opponent’s visual field is about to be run into by the player being screened. The action, however, should be a recoil action rather than a pushing action.

ART. 4 . . . It is not legal to use hands and arms or hips and shoulders to force his/her way through a screen or to hold the screener and then to push him/her aside in order to maintain a guarding position relative to his/her – opponent.

ART. 5 . . . It is not legal to use hands on an opponent which in any way inhibits the freedom of movement of the opponent or acts as an aid to a player in starting or stopping.

ART. 6 . . . It is not legal to extend the arms fully or partially in a position other than vertical so that the freedom of movement of an opponent is hindered when contact with the arms occurs. The extension of the elbows when the hands are on the hips or when the hands are held near the chest or when the arms are held more or less horizontally are examples of the illegal positions used.

ART. 7 . . . It is not legal to use the hand and/or forearm to prevent an – opponent from attacking the ball during a dribble or when throwing for goal.

ART. 8 . . . It is not legal to swing arms and elbows excessively. This occurs when:

a. Arms and elbows are swung about while using the shoulders as pivots, and the speed of the extended arms and elbows is in excess of the rest of the body as it rotates on the hips or on the pivot foot.
b. The aggressiveness with which the arms and elbows are swung could cause injury to another player if contacted.

Using this description as a basis, an official will promptly and unhesitatingly rule such action with arms and elbows a violation.

ART. 9 . . . It is not legal to lock arms or grasp a teammate(s) in an effort to restrict the movement of an opponent.


A Better Official creates video content to help basketball officials get better and take control of their officiating career.

Video Training


Get the Best Training
for your group

have a rules question?

Submit a Question or Play Scenario!

Default Coffee Donation Form

Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.

Donation Total: $5.00