What is The Kick Ball Rule in Basketball?

Basketball is one of the most famous and most played sports across the United States. It is actively played, watched, and enjoyed in colleges and universities. With that being said, there are teams at colleges and universities which then derivate to state-level teams.

Basketball, like all other sports, is regulated by laws, and each game is played under the supervision of a referee who ensures that all laws of the game are enforced. Another responsibility of a referee is to let the game carry out in complete conduct and true spirit. Keeping all these things in mind, there are some regulations that are confusing and the penalty of offense totally depends on what the referee interpreted. One such rule is the “Kick Ball Rule”.

Also Read: How Holding Works In Basketball? 

What is The Kick Ball Rule in Basketball? 

The “Kick Ball Rule” states, if simply put, that no player is going to hit the ball neither with fists, legs, or any other part of the body. In most cases, the ball is kicked by the legs.

What is The Kick Ball Rule in Basketball

Further Explanation

The players usually do not hit the ball with their legs but this violation is reported two to three times a week. Though the frequency of violation is not concerning, the interpretation and consequences are. As a penalty of violation, the referee hands over the ball to the other team and the game continues.

Is the Conviction of the Kick Ball Convincing?

The interpretation of Kick Ball violation is often unconvincing. The strategy of using the Kick Ball is the major spin-off and intelligent players use it for their advantage. Though you cannot keep on kicking the ball, players are on the lookout for a sweet spot.

Majorly ball is kicked to stop a pass or when it is about to be bucketed. The offending team claims it to be intentional while the defending team reflects upon it as a foul because they were unable to concede the points. Since it is a violation and not a foul, the penalty is just that the other team resumes the game from exactly the same point. This gives the opponent to devise another move and the game goes on.

Regulations of NBA for Kick Ball in a Basketball

In order to have more clarity, mentioned below are the exact regulations of the NBA:

  1. A player is not allowed to kick the ball or make an attempt to grab or intervene in its path using body parts other than his hands.
  2. If any players kick the ball with a leg or strike it using fists or his head or any other body part and the act is found intentional, it will be considered a violation. However, if the act of kicking or striking the ball with legs or fists during play is found unintentional then the violation will not be imposed as the act was not intentional.
  3. Only hands shall be used to secure or grab the ball and no other body part like legs or fists shall be used to grab or secure the ball during play.

Clause 1 of Rule 10 clearly states that the ball cannot be struck with a fist or kicked with a leg. It means that usage of such shall be deemed a violation of the game. The confusion starts with clause 2 of Rule 10 where it states that if the ball has struck on foot, fist, or leg ACCIDENTALLY, then it is not a violation. This is the manipulative part of the rule because judging the “intention” is extremely difficult and players take undue advantage by posing as if it happened accidentally.

Referees, on the other hand, keep a sharp eye on the movements of players and they are vigilant enough during the game but they are humans too. Though they are referees and it is their duty to identify and impose a penalty on spot in order to have a just contest but the problem lies in the identification of intention. The penalty is imposed on the player only in case the ball is kicked intentionally and it is extremely difficult to correctly read the fast-paced players and truly judge their intention. Talking of the penalty, let’s review what the codebook says:

Kick Ball Rule in Other Leagues 

Besides NBA, there are other leagues and they too have their own definitions of the violation and penalties.

WNBA and Kick Rule Violation 

Women NBA or WNBA has the same rule book as NBA. They consider it a violation if it is an intentional act.


Other leagues include FIBA and NCAA. They are having more or less the same interpretation as the NBA. FIBA states in its rule book that no player is allowed to make a deliberate attempt to touch or kick the ball with a leg. However, if accidentally any player comes in contact with the ball, it will not be considered a violation.


Similar to FIBA, NCAA also states in its rule book that if kicking the ball with fists or legs or any other body part is an intentional act only then it is considered a violation. Otherwise, if any player accidentally or unintentionally comes in contact with the ball, it will not be considered a violation.

A major thing to notice here is that though this violation has the capacity to ruin a potential pointer of one side, this is not considered a foul. A foul is inherently considered a deliberate attempt at a player’s part but since in the case of the Kick Ball rule the intention of the player is also under question, it is kept as a violation and not a foul.


There are three situations for penalties:

  • If the offending team has committed the Kick Ball violation the game resumes from the sidelines with defending side having the ball. Point of resumption is a point of violation but not closer to baseline than extended throw line.
  • In case the defending team has committed the Kick Ball violation the game resumes from the sidelines and the ball remains with offense. Point of resumption is a point of violation but not closer to baseline than extended foul line.
  • When the ball is kicked during the throw-in and violation occurs, the opposing team keeps possession of the ball at the original throw-in spot with all privileges intact, if any

Based on the above penalties, there are three possible situations in which the Kick Ball rule is imposed and the penalty is executed:

Three Situations of Imposing Kick Ball Rule

There are three possible situations in which the Kick Ball rule is imposed and the penalty is executed:

Situation 1: Violation by Offense 

The first situation is that the ball is with the offense and they did the violation by kicking the ball with a leg or punching it with a fist or brushed it using shoulders or head. In such a situation the ball is handed over to the defense. The game resumes with defending side player having the ball on the sidelines, nearest to the point of violation. The nearest point of game resumption can be up to the extended free throw line.

Situation 2: Violation by Defense

The second situation is reverse to the first one. In this case, the Kick Ball violation is caused by defending side. This is a crucial situation because the defending side is most likely the one taking advantage of the violation. This is because it is easy to break the momentum than to devise a counter-movement. If at any point they loosen their grip on the opponent’s movements and are not able to block or have the ball possession back, they may use Kick Ball as a deflection and break the momentum of offense. If the violation is caused by defending side, the offending side keeps the ball and the game resumes from the side lines. The point of game resumption is near the base line up to the extended foul line.

Situation 3: Throw-In

The third situation is when throw-in takes place and a player, from either side, causes the kickball violation. In such a case, the opposing team keeps the ball along with all the privileges.

Analysis of the Penalties

The analysis of the penalty provides that it is not a hefty one and the only consequence is that the ball is handed over to the other side and the game resumes. But this provides great assistance by breaking the momentum of another team. The penalty resumes the game from the sideline but those few moments while the game stops due to violation, are ample to regain strength and build a counter-movement to block the opponents.

One more aspect is that the intensity of kicking the ball is not in question which means that either the player kicks the ball marginally or with full force, the penalty shall be the same, and that is ball shall be handed over to the other side.

Last Words – What is a Kick Ball Rule in Basketball Game? 

Summarily, like all other games, Basketball is a game of strategies. Both teams prepare various ball passing techniques and dodging movements in order to keep most of the ball possession. Though not a popular one but usage of kickball violation is among the techniques that are used while executing game strategy during the contest. Such strategies serve as neutralizers and they make the whole strategy of the opponent team look futile. The whole effort of passing the ball from one end of the court to another goes in vain just because an opponent unintentionally touched the ball with anything but his or her hands.

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