In the course of a basketball match, there are times when a player commits a foul against an adversary while the ball is not in possession of either team. This particular kind of foul is known as a loose ball foul. In this article, we’ll delve into the definition of a loose ball foul, provide some instances, and discuss strategies to prevent committing one. Let’s dive in!
What is a Loose Ball Foul?
When the basketball is not under the control of either team, it is deemed “loose”. This could occur following a deflection, a rebound, and so on. A “loose ball foul” is called when a player fouls an opponent while the ball is not in the possession of either team. This foul can be called on both offensive and defensive players. The name is quite self-explanatory. If a foul is committed while the ball is loose, it’s termed a loose ball foul.
Instances of Loose Ball Foul
Here are some typical instances of a loose ball foul:
Consider a scenario where a player’s second free throw shot rebounds off the rim. While the ball is still in the air, two players contend for the best rebound position. During this, one player tugs the other’s arm. The player who did the tugging commits a loose ball foul.
Imagine a situation where the point guard, or any attacking player, is advancing up the court with the ball. A defender manages to knock the ball away, causing it to roll on the court. Two players then dash to try to secure the ball. One of the players shoves the other aside to improve their chances of securing the ball. The player who shoved the other commits a loose ball foul. Depending on the severity of the shove, the referee might also deem it a technical foul.
In another scenario, an attacking player attempts to catch a pass from his teammate, but the defending player pulls down his arm, preventing him from receiving the ball. This action results in a loose ball foul.
Penalty for a Loose Ball Foul
A loose ball foul is treated the same as a regular personal foul. The player who committed the foul will be assigned a personal, and if it’s their fifth, they will be disqualified and must exit the game. If the team that was fouled is in the bonus, they will be awarded two free throws. If the team that was fouled is not in the bonus, they will be given the ball out of bounds close to where the foul took place on the court.
Strategies to Prevent a Loose Ball Foul
1. Keep Your Hands Off the Opponent
This might seem overly simplistic, but it’s the most straightforward way to avoid being called for a foul. When you’re pursuing the basketball, concentrate on the ball and the best route to secure possession. Don’t attempt to unlawfully hinder your adversary, as that’s typically when loose ball fouls occur.
2. Refrain from Pushing
If you’re vying for an offensive rebound, make sure not to push a player who is boxing you out. It’s challenging to avoid nudging someone who’s obstructing your path, but this will result in a loose ball foul.
3. Dive Safely
If the ball is loose and you want to dive on it to secure possession, ensure you aren’t diving at an opponent’s legs. This will undercut them and result in a foul.
Hazards of Loose Ball Fouls
Battling for loose balls on rebounds, poor passes, and steals can be perilous. With multiple players pursuing the ball at high velocities, injuries can occur.
When two or more players are pursuing the basketball and one of them gets called for a loose ball foul, tensions can escalate. When tensions escalate, technical fouls can be called to try and regain control of the situation.
Flagrant fouls occur when a player makes unnecessary or excessive contact. If two players are pursuing a loose ball and one gets excessively shoved to the ground, the referee may determine that a flagrant foul occurred.