What Is Holding In Basketball & How Does It Work?

Holding in Basketball

Holding In Basketball

Holding can occur when a player uses his or her body to push or block an opposing player in a way that is not within the game’s rules.

Most often, holding is called on defensive players who attempt to slow down an offensive player by grabbing onto their jersey or shorts. However, offensive players can also be called for holding if they grab onto a defender to keep them from getting past them. In either case, holding is not allowed and results in a personal foul being called against the offending player.

Players are allowed to use their hands and arms to block shots and passes, but only in certain ways.

How Does It Work?

While some contact between players is inevitable, holding gives the defensive player an advantage and prevents the offensive player from getting open for a shot or making a move to avoid fouling. Holding can also be used to slow down the pace of the game or keep possession of the ball.

How To Avoid Being Called For Holding In Basketball?

There are several ways to avoid being called for holding in basketball.

  1. Keep your hands off of your opponents as much as possible. If you do need to touch them, do so lightly and quickly.
  2. Never wrap your arms around an opponent, as this will be called immediately.

Penalty For Holding In Basketball

The penalty for holding is loss of possession of the ball to the other team.

While it may not seem like a big deal, holding can give players an unfair advantage and slow down the game. That’s why officials keep a close eye out for it and penalize players when they break the rules.

Types Of Holding Fouls

There are various types of holding fouls, including:

Screening In Basketball
Types Of Holding Fouls

Reaching in: When a defensive player reaches his arm into the offensive player’s body in an attempt to steal the ball or stop him from driving to the basket.

Illegal screen: When an offensive player sets a moving screen or does not give the defensive player enough time to get around him.

Pushing: When a player uses his body or hands to push off of an opponent to create space between them.

How Long Can You Stand Holding The Ball In Basketball?

A player can hold the ball for as long as they want, as long as they don’t take any steps. If a player takes a step while holding the ball, it’s called traveling, and they will be called for a turnover.

Well, if a team is trying to run out the clock, they will often have one player hold the ball near half-court without dribbling. The other team can’t do anything about it since it’s not against the rules.

Can You Move While Holding A Basketball?


  1. You can only hold the ball for a maximum of three seconds if an opponent is closely guarding you. If you are not being closely guarded, then you can hold the ball for up to five seconds.
  2. You cannot move your feet while holding the ball. This means that you have to stop moving forward or backward, but you can pivot on your feet to change direction.


In conclusion, diving into the mechanics of what is held in basketball can be quite fascinating. It is a simple game with complex rules and a long history. Although it may be difficult to understand the game’s intricacies, it is still enjoyable to watch and play.