Basketball Official Signals

basketball official signals

To the red or to the blue? To the yellow or to the green? This is why we, non-players, or some of us, are fond of watching basketball while cheering our favorite teams. I bet, half of the people watching just join the roars and applause of the audience when they see their side score because they only understand a part of the game – scoring, shooting, where the ball is, announced fouls and violations. How about the rules? Do they even notice the officials’ actions? Yes, this is what we will discuss today. For sure, we will enjoy watching this game better if we understand the signals of the referee and have more information about basketball. So here we go.


Start Clock

start clock

The clock starts when a player touches the ball after the official tosses it for the initial jump ball.¬†When the game pauses, you will see the referee raising his right hand to start it again and then, he’ll move it downward.


Point Scored

point scored

When the basketball player shot the ball, the referee will raise his right hand diagonally signalling the number points the team got. It can be one or two points. Then he’ll point or signal the number who scored.


Three Point Shot

3 point shot

The player can also get a three point shot, which is taken from beyond an arc that is 22 feet from the basket, but it has a different signal for referee. Instead of raising his right hand, he will raise his both hands upward.




One violation that the players may get is palming. This will place when the player moves his hand under the ball and scoops it while dribbling. The referee will place his right hand in his side moving it concavely.




From the word itself, blocking is the illegal contact of a player that impedes the progress of an opponent and when the player has done this foul, you will see the referee having a pose with his both hands on his waist.


Personal Foul

personal foul

Another foul that can be given to a player is this illegal physical contact with an opponent when the ball is live. When a basketball player had this foul, the referee will raise his right fist upward and his left hand forward.


Player Control Foul

player control foul

Player control foul is an offensive foul that is committed not when a player is shooting, but just when his team is in control of the ball. You will see the referee’s right hand at the back of his head when this occur.


Technical Foul

technical foul

This foul is a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct or violations by team members on the floor or seated on the bench. If the referee signaled a T sign using his hands, it means that a technical foul is assessed.


Jump Ball

jump ball

To put the ball in play with a jump ball between two opposing players after such occurrences as a held ball, the referee will signal the players and audience by placing both his like signed hands in his front and move it upward.


30 Second Time Out

30 second time out

Teams are allowed one 30-second timeout per half. If the referee places both his hands on his shoulder, it signals the granting of a team’s request for a 30-second time-out.

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