What Is A Loose Ball Foul In Basketball?

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What Is A Loose Ball Foul In Basketball?

A loose ball foul is one of the most common fouls in basketball. It occurs when a player makes illegal contact with an opponent while playing for a loose ball. In other words, if two players are going for the same ball, and one player bumps or pushes against the other, that’s a loose ball foul.

Let’s take a look at this type of foul in more detail. 

What is Considered Illegal Contact? 

In basketball, illegal contact can take many forms. Most commonly, illegal contact involves pushing or shoving an opposing player while going for a rebound or trying to get possession of the ball. It also includes grabbing and holding an opposing player as they go for the ball and using your body to block another player’s path to the ball.

In short, any physical contact between two players considered unsafe or excessive is considered illegal. 

Consequences of a Loose Ball Foul 

The consequences for committing a loose ball foul depend on how serious the infraction was and how often the offender has committed it. If it’s determined that the contact was minor and unintentional, then typically, no penalty will be given to either team, and play will continue normally.

However, suppose it’s determined that one player against another made serious and intentional contact. In that case, this could result in free throws being awarded to the offended team and disciplinary action being taken against the offending player (usually in the form of a technical or flagrant foul).

Ultimately, it’s up to what the referee deems appropriate based on their interpretation of what happened during play. 


To summarize, a loose ball foul is one of the most common types of infractions you can find on a basketball court. It occurs when two players go after the same loose ball, and one commits illegal contact against another.

The consequences for such an infraction vary depending on how serious referees deem it. This can range from nothing happening to free throws being awarded to disciplinary action against those involved. But regardless of severity, these infractions are not tolerated lightly on any court.

Understanding what constitutes illegal contact and how these types of penalties work can help you stay out of trouble during games, so make sure you pay attention next time you’re watching or playing.