Updated: Jan 23, 2020


Rule an INTENTIONAL PERSONAL Foul when contact above the shoulders is NOT the result of EXCESSIVELY SWINGING the ELBOWS

Rule a FLAGRANT PERSONAL Foul when contact above the shoulders is the result of EXCESSIVELY SWINGING the ELBOWS.

When a player “excessively swings” their elbows, at a minimum, a violation should be ruled even if NO CONTACT is made.

 If the contact is the result of excessive swinging prior to the official stopping play (for a violation) then a flagrant foul may be ruled – unless the contact is judged to be “slight of nature.”

Penalizing rebounders for contacting defenders with their elbows, when pivoting to release an outlet pass should be at a minimum be ruled intentional – with the possibility of being flagrant, based on the “excessive nature” of the swinging.

Ask your partner(s) for help with these types of plays.

When these plays occur – blow the whistle immediately with your stop clock signal.

Either violation (open hand) for excessive swinging with no contact – or foul (closed fist) and intentional (crossed arms above head with fists closed) to indicate an intentional foul.

By bringing in the crew to discuss this situation before reporting to the table you can share what each person saw — and rule on whether the movement was “excessive” or not.  If excessive swinging causing contact was judged then a flagrant foul is in order.

Remember, in NFHS play the offender is disqualified for the remainder of the game.

When judging … action of the arms / elbows during total body movement (such as pivoting, faking a pass, releasing a pass) is not to be considered excessive.

Neither is moving the ball to prevent the defender from causing a held ball situation.

The result of the play if the ball is alive is two shots to the offended player and the ball out of bounds at the point of interruption. Ensure that you have the right shooter.


The ball becomes dead when a held ball occurs, a player-control foul or team-control foul occurs, an official’s whistle is blown, time expires at the end of a quarter or extra period, a foul other than a player-control or team control foul occurs.

The ball does not become dead until the try or tap ends(shot is made).

The ball becomes "ALIVE" when ball is at the disposal for a throw-in after a shot is made. The easiest way to know is when the official begins their "5 Count".

If their is any elbow or any other contact that occurs in the "DEAD BALL" time frame, and is ruled a foul, it is either a intentional technical foul or a flagrant technical...Two shots and the ball at the mid court line...Any player can shoot technical fouls.

If a "FLAGRANT" personal or technical is called, the result is the same..the offending player is disqualified and must remain on the bench...Never send them to the locker room.

Three plays--You make the Call!

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