Hand Checking

Sport: Basketball

The hand checking rule is a relatively new addition to the NBA. As a result, much debate is situated on it and its importance in the game of basketball.

The hand checking rule became commonplace during the 2004-2005 NBA league and is therefore a newer addition to the NBA ruleset. 

What is Hand Checking?

Hand checking was introduced as a type of foul in basketball. It’s considered a personal foul due to the fact that it is called when two players make unnecessary contact with each other on the court. Hand checking is the act of touching another player with one’s hands in order to impede the other player’s movement. This maneuver is only completed by the defender of the ball handler, and is usually carried out to limit the ball’s direction.

Hand checking can be called if the player does any of the following:

  • Uses their hands or arms on an opponent to control their movements in some way.
  • Uses their hands or arms on an opponent to restrict their movements in any way. 
  • Uses their hands or arms on an opponent to change their direction in any way.

When checking a player, one’s arm doesn’t need to be fully extended. Providing the intent to restrict or prohibit movement is there, it is considered checking.

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