What Are Technical Fouls In Basketball? [Complete Overview]

Any foul involving unsportsmanlike conduct, including infractions committed by players or coaches sitting on the bench, is considered a technical foul. Excessive timeouts, game delays, an excessive number of players, unauthorized usage of the basket …

What are technical fouls in basketball?

Any foul involving unsportsmanlike conduct, including infractions committed by players or coaches sitting on the bench, is considered a technical foul.

Excessive timeouts, game delays, an excessive number of players, unauthorized usage of the basket ring, conduct harmful to the game, fighting, and other conduct are examples of technical fouls.

Technical fouls are some of the most controversial yet necessary fouls in basketball, and since officials can call them whenever they choose, they frequently cause a lot of debate when they are called. To avoid them in a game, you must first understand them.

Why do technical fouls exist?

When officials get on players’ nerves, it can result in frustrations that turn into technical fouls, affecting the game by taking important players out of the rotation. The purpose of technical fouls is to hold players and coaches accountable for their conduct.

This enables the officials to control and discipline the players and coaches within and outside the court, therefore managing the game. It may be distributed to players, bench staff, or even a spectator in the crowd.

Types of Technical Fouls in Basketball

Technical fouls can take many different shapes, and a referee may call one for several reasons. Players must always avoid technical fouls because they always result in the same penalty, which could alter the game’s outcome.

Referees are free to issue a technical foul whenever they deem it necessary. However, they typically do so in response to excessive use of timeouts, game delays, a disproportionate number of players on the floor, unauthorized use of the basket ring, poor sportsmanship, and fights that break out.

The guidelines for each category of technical foul are listed below.

  • Too many timeouts

During regulation play, NBA teams are permitted seven (7) timeouts, each lasting 75 seconds. Timeouts are crucial when the coach wants to plan a space, when the opposition is on a crushing run, or when players desperately need a break.

What are technical fouls in basketball?

Although teams are permitted to use more than seven timeouts in a game, doing so results in a technical foul against that side. The team that overstays its 75-second timeout is granted the break, but they forfeit a free throw and control of the ball to the opposition.

Players are not permitted to line up under the basket for all free throws if the excessive timeout technical foul is called before regular free throw attempts. When a technical foul is called before a jump ball, the opponent is given control of the ball at the interruption site.

  • Playing time lag

The NBA and its referees issue technical fouls when team players or coaches obstruct the progression of live play to keep a basketball game moving. To maintain the game’s fairness, this kind of technical foul is known as a delay of the game.

  1. The Official NBA Rulebook lists nine circumstances that call for a game delay:
  1. When a player obstructs the ball from getting timely in-bounded.
  1. When a player touches the ball improperly after a successful field goal or free throw.
  1. When a player commits a violation or foul but does not immediately transfer the ball to the referee.
  1. Before the ball is tossed in when a player touches the ball.
  1. Before the offensive player tosses the ball in, a defender crosses the goal line at the throw-in area.
  1. When a team, for whatever reason, delays the start of a play.
  1. When the ball crosses the goal line and is touched by a coach, player, or trainer.
  1. When, in between free throws, a free throw shooter steps outside the three-point line.
  1. A player’s untucked shirt when they first enter the game.
  • Number of participants

NBA clubs are permitted a maximum of five players on the floor at once. They must stay inside the allotted five players, regardless of who they are or their positions. A non-unsportsmanlike technical foul results from any number below or over five.

The opposition team receives a technical free throw and possession of the ball if their unit has six or more, or four or fewer, players on the court when the action begins. If the other side scored a field goal prior to the foul, they could accept the field goal or reset the play.

  • Support, Backboard, or Basket Ring

Dunks and blocks are two of the most thrilling plays that happen underneath or close to the basket. Players must refrain from making any improper use of the basket ring, backboard, and support, even though this part of the court can get highly rough and competitive. By doing this, a technical foul is called.

For improper usage of the basket ring, backboard, or support, an NBA referee may issue one of three non-unsportsmanlike technical fouls, including:

An attacking player spends a lot of time hanging on the basket ring, net, backboard, or other support during the game.

A defender who elevates themselves or maintains height by using the backboard, net, or basket ring.

A defender who successfully touches a ball in the air using a basket ring, net, backboard, or other support.

The only real exception to this rule is when an offensive or defensive player hangs on the rim of the basket, the backboard of the net, or another support to prevent harm to themselves or other players. In this instance, the official exercises discretion to overturn the scheduled technical.

Similar to goaltending, the offensive player’s shot is awarded. A technical foul is called if a defensive player touches the ball while using the basket rim, net, backboard, or other support as a helper.

  • Conduct

NBA officials are permitted to administer a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct at any time to uphold the game’s spirit and guarantee a clean basketball contest from the opening tip to the final buzzer. These technical fouls don’t require a warning before they are called.

According to the Official NBA Rulebook, examples of unsportsmanlike behavior deserving of a technical foul include:

  1. disrespecting a public figure
  1. making unwarranted physical contact with a representative
  1. behaviors that are overtly critical of a call or missed call
  2. using foul language
  1. A coach who enters the field of play without an official’s permission
  1. Any unnatural physical contact or movement against an adversary
  1. insulting a rival
  1. Using “eye guarding,” or covering a player’s eye with your hand
  1. purposely hurling the ball or another object toward a player
  1. purposely kicking or throwing the ball into the crowd

NBA officials are instructed to avoid calling technical fouls whenever possible, but they are also told to do it without hesitation when required. The opposing team is given the ball and a free throw when a foul is reached. The technical free throw is taken first if it is awarded before or after a shooting foul.

  • Fighting

Fighting is strictly illegal in the game of basketball, just like it is in any other sport. It has no place here, and the executives and officials don’t take it lightly. If a player, coach, or trainer gets into a brawl, it doesn’t matter if the play is live or dead—a technical foul is called.

A technical fighting foul has a different punishment because no free throws are given. Instead, all participants in the altercation are immediately removed from the game and cannot rejoin it. The offensive team gains possession if the defensive team is called for the foul. Play resumes with a jump ball if it is called when neither team has control of the ball.

What Happens After a Technical Foul Occurs?

What are technical fouls in basketball?

The official blows the whistle and raises their hands in the shape of a “T” when they believe a player, coach, or trainer’s actions merit a technical foul.

This indicates that a technical foul has been called to the scorekeeper’s table. They also mention the player’s number who is being called on.

The opposing team sends one of its players, who was on the court when the call was made, to the free-throw line after it has been made. The free throw shooter is left alone at the free throw line because neither the defense nor the offense can line up.

A player, coach, or trainer who receives two technical fouls in the same game is automatically dismissed from the contest and not allowed to reenter. After reviewing the incident, the league imposes fines and may suspend players.


1. How many fouls until free throws?
The player who was fouled is awarded two free throws if the team committing the foul has ten or more fouls. A player who pushes or runs over a defensive player is guilty of charging an offensive foul. The section on which the foul was committed receives the ball.

2. What happens if you get two flagrant fouls?
Both flagrant fouls result in two free throws awarded, and the fouled team keeps possession of the ball. A player who commits two FF1s in one game is also expelled, so an FF2 also results in expulsion for the offender.

3. How many steps can you take before a layup?
“A layup is when a player drives to the basket, takes two steps, and then drops the ball off the backboard into the hoop.” This is true for a layup in the classic sense.

4. How Many Shots are in a Technical Foul?
A player, coach, or member of the team’s staff commits a technical foul when they act in an unsportsmanlike manner toward the referee, such as by hitting or criticizing them. A technical foul will also result from a technical infraction, such as a delay in play. The opposing team is awarded two free throws and the ball.

5. What is the Fine for Technical Fouls?
Each technical foul a player receives after the fifteenth will result in a $5000 fine. When the playoffs or the new regular-season start, the total number of technical fouls is reset to zero. The severity of technical fouls varies during the postseason.


In conclusion, a technical foul is considered when a coach or player engages in unsportsmanlike behavior during a basketball game. The regulation prevents the playing area from fostering a dangerous environment while maintaining the game’s flow.

For instance, a brief taunt might not merit What are technical fouls in basketball, but repeated taunting could result in a brawl. You will first witness an NBA official intervene to call the violation before things get heated between the two sides.

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