What is a Technical Foul in Basketball (Rule + Tips)

Have you ever seen a foul called, but it seemed like there wasn’t even physical contact between players? 

That’s probably a technical foul. But what exactly is it?

A technical foul in basketball is a non-contact foul called when there’s unsportsmanlike conduct, delay of the game, fights, arguing, and excessive celebrations on the court. The penalty of a tech may be a free throw, possession of the ball, ejection, and a fine.  

What is a technical foul in basketball?

Technical fouls are common in basketball and usually occur when a player commits an infraction against the rules of the game. Technical fouls are not penalties; they call attention to specific actions against the rules.

Technical fouls are one of the three main fouls in basketball. The other two are personal and flagrant fouls

When calling technical fouls, referees generally use their discretion, meaning there are no set criteria for which violations qualify as techs. 

They also do not have to call every technical foul that occurs; instead, they have to make an effort to determine whether or not one occurred.

Why do players get technical fouls?

Technical fouls are different from personal and flagrant fouls since they’re non-contact. But here are the common reasons why players get called for a tech:

  • Using inappropriate language toward other players and referees 
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct
  • A coach entering the court without permission
  • Delay of game
  • Fighting
  • Shattering the backboard

Technical fouls are controversial, especially in the NBA. There was once an instance where Tim Duncan was laughing on the bench and got a technical foul. He eventually got ejected from the game for laughing again on the bench. 

Although the referee Joey Crawford was suspended, it was still a strange incident.

Today, many players get technical fouls for arguing with the referees or for excessive celebrations.  

What is the penalty for a technical foul?

The penalty for a technical foul depends on the league. For college and high school basketball, the opposing team will be awarded two free throws and possession of the ball. 

But for the NBA, each player, coach, and management personnel can have two technical fouls each. 

For every technical foul, the opposing team will shoot one free throw. If any player or team member gets two technical fouls, they will immediately get thrown out of the game

There’s also a fine for technical fouls in the NBA. Depending on the type of technical foul, they can be paying $2,000 up to $50,000. 

What is the technical foul hand signal?

Referee signaling technical foul in basketball

When there’s a technical foul, the referee will signal a “T” with his hand. This can be done by holding one hand straight while putting the other hand on top.

The referee will also whistle while doing this and will point to the player/team member who got the technical.

3 Tips to avoid technical fouls 

Technical fouls can be tricky since they’re non-contact fouls. This means that there might not be enough evidence to support your claims. 

But there are still some practical tips you can use to avoid getting them:

Tip #1: Control your emotions

The most common reason for a technical foul is unsportsmanlike conduct. This is when a player taunts or fights the opposing players.

Like any sport, our emotion plays a big part. But we shouldn’t forget that uncontrolled emotions are dangerous.

Before you try to fight or challenge a call, take a deep breath and think rationally. By doing so, you may save yourself a technical foul. 

Tip #2: Don’t argue; reason

Try to reason with the referee when you believe the call was unfair. Don’t argue and shout, as that’s grounds for an instant technical.

Instead, ask the referee what led him to call the foul or violation. Then, assess the situation to determine if reasoning it out is worth it or not. 

Tip #3: Talk to your coach

If you think you can’t control your emotion, you better talk to your coach about it. Don’t go directly to the officials when you’re hot-headed.

Talk about it with a coach or a teammate and try to get their side. You might realize a lot of things that way. 

Final Words

Technical fouls exist to protect players, coaches, and referees from becoming unfair.

Any basketball league will become a zoo of complaints and fights without these calls. 

Read these next:

Leave a Comment