If you’ve played or watched any level of basketball, you know just how physical the game can get. Players are constantly running into and making incidental contact with one another. Despite this, many don’t view basketball as a contact sport in the same way they would consider other sports.
So is basketball a contact sport?
Basketball is a contact sport but not in the same way as other sports such as football and rugby. Basketball is a physical game but much of the contact is discouraged by the rules that are in place. Due to this, many people consider basketball to be a non-contact or a limited-contact sport.
The jury is still out on whether basketball is a contact sport but I firmly believe that it is. By reading the rest of this article, I think you’ll come to agree that basketball is a contact sport and that physical play is part of the game.
Contact in Basketball
In your typical basketball game, there’s all kinds of pushing and/or bumping on every play. You obviously can’t tackle somebody like in football or rugby, but there is contact in basketball. Knowing this…would you still consider basketball a contact sport?
I know NBA players would consider it a contact sport because many of them wear mouth guards. It’s not like contact is encouraged in basketball but it’s not outlawed. There are rules in place to prevent contact from getting too out of hand.
For example, you can’t make contact with a shooter as he lets go of the ball. You also can’t charge into people when you’re on offense. A charge would be defined as an offensive player running into a defensive player who has his feet set.
If a player runs into a defender whose feet aren’t set, then the defense is at fault.
In many ways, this encourages players to run into defenders if they know they won’t get their feet set in time. There are many examples of contact not being encouraged in basketball, with one being a moving screen.
Much like a defender trying to draw a charge, a player setting a screen needs to have his feet set. By now you’re getting the idea that contact isn’t prohibited in basketball but there are measures put in place to keep the contact under control.
Some other examples of prohibited contact include illegal use of hands or reaching in, elbowing, blocking, holding, hand checks, tripping and flagrant fouls.
If you’ve watched any professional basketball in recent years, you’ve probably noticed that players seem to be getting called for contact on just about every play.
Maybe this is to protect the players but it wasn’t always this way. Players in the “Jordan era” were constantly running at each other and fouls were rarely called compared to nowadays.
It was a much more physical game back then and it wasn’t for the faint of heart.
When to Foul in Basketball
There’s a lot of strategy that goes into making contact with the other team. If you have too many fouls, you’re going to have to be less aggressive because you don’t want to foul out. The opposite is also true.
If you don’t have as many fouls on you, you can play a more physical game. This is why players who quickly tally a couple of fouls go to the bench to sit out. This reduces the likelihood that they’ll foul out throughout the game.
The number of fouls you can tally depends on the league but in the NBA you’re allowed five fouls. On the sixth foul you “foul out” and cannot reenter the game. In high school and college basketball, you foul out on your fifth foul.
Players are only allowed so many fouls during a game for several different reasons. If players were allowed to commit unlimited files they could take advantage of weaker free-throw shooters on the other team.
This happened with Shaquille O’Neal. He was a terrible free-throw shooter and teams would routinely foul him on purpose to allow him to go to the free-throw line.
This phenomenon became known as “hack a Shaq”. Teams were much more willing to let a 7-foot 300-pound guy shoot from the free-throw line than allow him to get under the basket. In his career, Shaq had a 52.7% completion rate from the free-throw line.
On the flip side, you don’t want to foul shooters such as Stephan Curry or Steve Nash. In his career, Steve Nash shot 90.43% from the free-throw line. Curry is currently at 90.56% from the line.
It’s also a good idea not to foul hot shooters. And when I’m talking hot, I’m talking from the free-throw line. There’s never been anyone hotter from the line then Michael Williams in the 1993 season.
He holds the record for the most free-throws made in succession, which currently stands at 97.
It’s important to note that players are going to naturally build up fouls during a game, so you don’t want to go to crazy fouling the other team on purpose to set up advantageous situations.
You also don’t want to waste these fouls on your best players. So when a team wants to foul a particular player, it’s often a wise move to have a non-starter make contact.
To go along with player fouls, there are also team fouls. In the NBA a team is allowed five fouls per half. The sixth foul and on results in the other team earning two free-throws.
In the NBA, offensive fouls don’t count toward the limit, which resets each quarter. The fouls reset each half in college basketball.
The foul limit per half for each team in college basketball is six. On the seventh foul the other team is rewarded a one-and-one. A one-and-one consists of a player taking a free-throw, which if he makes, is rewarded with another free-throw.
After the 10th foul by the opposing team, two free-throws are rewarded instead.
Contact Based on Position in Basketball
Some positions are much more physically demanding than others. For example, players who play in or near the paint are more likely to draw or commit fouls than players who play on the perimeter.
Contact is naturally going to happen when players are trying to weave in-and-out of defenders, when defenders are trying to block shots, offensive players are trying to dunk the ball, etc. Let’s take a look at the physicality of each position.
Center in Basketball
The center is also known as the “five”. He is generally the tallest player on the team and plays close to the basket. This player is tasked with aggressively going after defensive and offensive rebounds and getting down low in the paint to make easy shots.
Throughout a game, centers are likely to draw fouls from trying to block shots and going for rebounds.
Power Forward in Basketball
The power forward also goes by the “four” and usually plays in the post or low blocks. This position focuses on scoring close to the basket and from midrange.
On defense, power forwards tend to guard players close to the basket and do their best to keep players in front of them. They also body-up players and aren’t afraid to take a charge. The position also lends itself to setting up screens and collecting rebounds.
Small Forward in Basketball
Also known as the “three” or “wing”, the small forward’s main focus is scoring points. With that said, small forwards are usually versatile players who can take on a number of roles.
Some small forwards prefer to initiate contact with the other team, trying to earn free-throws in the process. Others are staunch defenders who despite their lack of size, can defend against multiple positions. The position is also known for helping in the rebounding department.
Shooting Guard in Basketball
This position is also referred to as the “two”, “off guard” and/or “wing”. Shooting guards are known for being good defenders but they’re typically not as physical as the other positions because they rely on mid and long-range shots.
Point Guard in Basketball
The point guard is known as the “one” or “point”. Point guards are the primary ball handlers for their teams and the offense runs through them. These players are usually prolific scorers who are capable of dishing the ball to the open man.
The best point guards are quick and versatile and are masters of drawing defensive contact when shooting. Many people like to refer to them as the captain of the floor and compare them to quarterbacks in football.
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Is basketball is a contact sport? ›
In contact sports, the person is constantly making contact with other people or objects, but with less force than in collision sports. Examples: basketball, soccer.What are the example of contact and non contact sports? ›
Definition of Contact and Non – Contact Sports
Examples are football, basketball, handball, boxing, judo, wrestling etc. Non – contact sports are sports that do not allow partial or full body close interaction between two or more opponents.
Furthermore, basketball has influenced many conversations about race and equality throughout history. Basketball is more than a sport; it allows people to connect with one another and others around the world, get active, and learn how to impact one's community.Is baseball a contact sport? ›
"Baseball is considered a contact sport under this order because the players come into contact with one another," she said.Why is basketball not a contact sport? ›
Basketball is a contact sport but not in the same way as other sports such as football and rugby. Basketball is a physical game but much of the contact is discouraged by the rules that are in place. Due to this, many people consider basketball to be a non-contact or a limited-contact sport.What are 5 examples of contact sports? ›
Noncontact sporting. events and activities” mean sports that can be conducted while substantially maintaining. appropriate social distancing, and that involve at most only close contact or proximity. between participants that is incidental to the activity.What type of sport is basketball? ›
It is a team sport that involves two teams of five active players each trying to score points against one another by throwing a ball through a 300 cm (10 feet) high hoop (the 'basket') under organised rules. It is played on both indoor and outdoor courts.What are the most contact sports? ›
|Sport||2017 injuries (5- to 24-year-olds)||2021 injuries (5- to 24-year-olds)|
|Swimming, pools, equipment||117,785||87,531|
|Track and field activities, equipment||30,267||12,686|
Football (or soccer for our US audience), as it is played today, is definitely a contact sport.
Which sport is known as contact sport? ›
any sport in which physical contact between players is an accepted part of play, as football, boxing, or hockey.Is hockey contact sport? ›
Hockey. Hockey is a fast-paced full-contact sport (sometimes also called collision sport) in which two teams play against each other by trying to control a small ball or puck, pass it between each other and score by hitting opponents goal using a curved wooden “hockey stick”.Why should kids play basketball? ›
Basketball offers young players tons of benefits, including physical fitness, weight control, coordination, stress relief, team-building and socializing with others. For parents looking for a safe and convenient way to get the kids off the couch but keep them close to home, a home basketball hoop is a great option.Why is basketball the best sport for kids? ›
As a very social sport, playing basketball helps kids develop their communication and social skills. They learn how to talk to others, make new friends and it gives them an understanding of the different abilities of other people. Most importantly through playing basketball kids learn that being active is fun.Is basketball good for girls? ›
Basketball. Basketball is indeed the most loved sport among the girls. Schools and universities today encourage girls to participate in basketball competitions. It is a healthy way of developing competitive skills, social interactions and becoming a team player which is an important skill for life.What is the hardest contact sport? ›
Pound for pound, the toughest sport in the world is . . . Boxing. The Sweet Science. That's the sport that demands the most from the athletes who compete in it.Is there any contact in basketball? ›
Contact which occurs on the hand of the offensive player, while that part of the hand is in contact with the ball, is legal. EXCEPTION: Flagrant and punching fouls. PENALTIES: The offender is charged with a personal foul. The offending team is charged with a team foul if the illegal contact was caused by the defender.What is contact called in basketball? ›
In basketball, a foul refers to illegal personal contact or unsportsmanlike conduct on the court or sidelines of a game. Most player fouls involve contact that impedes an opposing player's gameplay.What are 20 examples of non contact sports? ›
- Table tennis.
Benefits of organized contact sports include:
Respect: Children learn to listen to and respect teammates, coaches and officials. Also, children learn to follow rules and respect opponents. Teamwork: Organized sports teach children to work with and help teammates in order to achieve a common goal.
What is the safest contact sport? ›
Golf is considered one of the safest sports to play because of the limited contact you have with other players.What is the fastest contact sport? ›
Lacrosse is the fastest tempo sport on two feet, where checking and stick contact is common. Endurance is essential when you consistently react and move at top speed with balls reaching 190km/h (115mph).Is cheerleading a contact sport? ›
Court Rules Cheerleading is a Contact Sport.Are contacts OK for sports? ›
Yes, children who play sports can wear contact lenses. In fact, contacts are one of the safest types of corrective eyewear for physical activity. Eyeglasses can easily be knocked off by contact or slide down the nose during gameplay.How long is a basketball game? ›
Each quarter makes up a 12-minute session, meaning that in total a game of basketball will last for 48-minutes at NBA level. Some major European and international setups, though, will use a 10-minute quarter instead, making the whole match 40-minutes in length.Is basketball a hard sport? ›
Will they be able to tread water while they're pushed, shoved, kicked and elbowed? And yet, the panel of experts who ranked sports' degree of difficulty for us determined that basketball is the fourth-hardest sport to play.Is basketball an easy sport? ›
Basketball is among the most difficult, entertaining, and thrilling sports in the world. The game is often conducted on a four-sided court. Playing this sport is not tough. You only need to learn the fundamentals with a lot of dedication to understand how this game works.Is Kids soccer a contact sport? ›
While soccer is a contact sport, it is not a collision sport. Some contact between players may occur, but generally kids' soccer is relatively safe, with a lower risk of injury than other, rougher team sports.Is Wrestling a contact sport? ›
Wrestling is a contact sport but when some simple safety protocol is routinely followed, the risk of injury is substantially reduced.Is soccer or basketball more contact? ›
This is because in soccer, players are often tackled and knocked around (both on the ground and in the air). Meanwhile, in basketball, there are a lot less physical contact between players.
What was the first contact sport? ›
What is the first sport ever played? Although it is impossible to know for sure, it is usually considered that wrestling and boxing were the first sports ever played. Competitions using the simple mode of human transport, running, would also have been among the first sports played.What does contact sport mean? ›
contact sport in American English
noun. any sport in which physical contact between players is an accepted part of play, as football, boxing, or hockey.
/ˈkɑːn.tækt ˌspɔːrt/ a sport such as rugby or American football in which players are allowed to touch each other when, for example, they are trying to get the ball. Sports & games generally. battleship. board sport.Is flag football a contact sport? ›
NFL FLAG football is a non-contact sport. There's no tackling, diving, blocking, screening or fumbles.Is volleyball a contact sport? ›
It is a non-contact sport. As opposed to other team sports, in volleyball there is no legal contact between opponents. Players are in control of their own game and must play within themselves.Is skating a contact sport? ›
We all believe, at least in theory, that figure skating is a non-contact sport. In practice, blades and ice together can make the contact unavoidable.Is contact allowed basketball? ›
A player shall not hold, push, charge into, impede the progress of an opponent by extending a hand, arm, leg or knee or by bending the body into a position that is not normal. Contact that results in the re-routing of an opponent is a foul which must be called immediately.Can you use contact in basketball? ›
Basketball is sometimes called a non-contact sport. Although, there is plenty of legal contact between players, some contact is considered illegal. If an official decides that the contact is illegal, they will call a personal foul.Is basketball a girl sport? ›
|Team members||Five on-court players per team|
|Type||Team sport, ball sport|
2 . . . A player must not contact an opponent with his/her hand unless such contact is only with the opponent's hand while it is on the ball and is incidental to an attempt to play the ball. ART.
What is a contact in basketball? ›
Contact in basketball is when a player guards tightly or hits an opponent. This can either result in a foul or can be a term used to describe how close a player is in relation to the other player. Basketball is considered a low contact sport, but it is still involved in the game.What is the biggest contact sport? ›
Today, the world's most popular contact sport is soccer, which is played annually by over 250 million players in over 200 countries.Is basketball a more contact sport than football? ›
Basketball is a relatively low contact sport. This means that players are generally not allowed to push or tackle another player in an attempt to get the ball. As for American Football, however, it involves both pushing and tackling – this makes American football much more physical than basketball.Is hugging in basketball a foul? ›
"Hugging" is not listed as an exception. The rule clearly establishes the offensive player's freedom of movement as defining the foul. "Hugging" or "enveloping" is, therefore, clearly a foul.Is there illegal touching in basketball? ›
The player is out-of-bounds when he touches the floor or any object on or outside a boundary. For location of a player in the air, his position is that from which he last touched the floor.