Is Face Guarding Illegal?

When a player decides to enter the basketball court, all the rules and basic guidelines of the games should be applied, respected, and followed throughout the entire game. The player must have a strong hand during the bounce, dribble, and basket of the ball. However, the rules of basketball can vary according to the level of the play; for example, professional basketball rules are different compared to recreational basketball. Similarly, the game’s location is also a determinant in the application of rules and guidelines. Regardless of the complexities, basketball rules are pretty simple. Despite many regulations, it is imperative to indulge in physical activity, whether running, jogging, walking, horse riding, or playing a team sport. It is beneficial for mind sharpening and enhances overall health, including stronger joints and bones. Apart from the physical benefits, participating and performing in a group of people may help in developing team spirit, cooperation, and kindness.

What is face guarding in basketball?

In basketball, face guarding represents player behavior where the defender blocks or disrupts the vision of the offensive basketball player, whether that player has the ball or not.

face guarding in basketball

Basketball is a team-based sport divided into two teams, including five players each. Both the teams mount their chances of winning by shooting the ball through a hoop located 10 feet above the ground. The game is usually played on an indoor rectangular court that is smaller than outdoor sports such as football or soccer. There is a division line between the court, and the mid-court line, dividing the court into two halves. If the team’s offense takes the ball into play and stays behind the mid-court line, then the team has a time of 10 seconds to take the ball over the mid-court line. If the team’s offense fails to get the ball over the mid-court line, the defense takes the lead by possessing the ball. However, where the offensive team gets the ball over the mid-court line, it cannot take possession of it in the area behind the mid-court line. If the team’s offense does that, then the defense is granted the ownership of the ball.
Another thing to remember is that the ball cannot be touched by body parts other than the hands and only through the dribbling motion. Through active dribbling, the ball can only move throughout the court. The team who has possession of the ball is the offense, and the team without the ball is the defense. The purpose of the defensive team is to take the ball from the offense, repel passes and accumulate rebounds by shooting the maximum number of baskets.

Is Face Guarding Illegal?

No, face guarding in basketball is not considered illegal. The NBA may not have face guarding as illegal, but any contact made while a defender is waving or placing hands in front of an opponent’s face is considered a personal foul. Flagrant head or face contact generally results in the offending player being ejected and suspended.


Is Face Guarding Pass Interference?

Face Guarding is distinct from Pass Interference. Pass Interference may sometimes look like face guarding, but they are both different. When a defender makes contact with a player to obstruct a catch but does so without making a play on the ball, this is called pass interference. Tripping, shoving, tugging, or cutting in front of the receiver, covering the receiver’s face, or pulling on the receiver’s hands or arms are all pass interference.


There is a controversial technique in basketball known as face guarding, on which multiple debates have taken place over the legality issue. It is described as an act implemented by the defender to block and create obstacles in the way or vision of the offense player regardless of the player having the ball ownership. The defensive player attempts to block the sight of the offensive player by placing a hand in front of the eyes in the act of shooting rather than defending the ball. Similarly, it is termed a violation when a player guards the opposite player away from the ball and impedes vision to avoid passing the ball to the player offense. Face guarding happens when the defender deliberately interferes in the line of sight of the opponent he is defending but does not make physical contact with him. In this situation, the defender often puts his arms or hands over their shoulders to block the offensive view. This technique does not involve any physical contact with the opponent, nor does the defender try to take possession of the ball.

Can You Put Your Hand In Front Of Someone’s Face In Basketball?

In basketball, you cannot put your hands in someone’s face; it’s prohibited and could be seen as face guarding. Blocking a player’s vision to prevent him from receiving a pass while guarding him away from the ball is a violation. A technical foul can be passed to the offender, resulting in a free throw for the opposing side.

In a professional platform, face guarding is not forbidden by the establishments. However, if physical contact is made during the blocking or obstructing of vision, it is recognized as a personal foul. Unlawful conduct that involves contact on the head or face might result in lawful suspension or expulsion of the offender. NBA officials do not mainly highlight the physical contact as foul into contact is noted on the front.

Is Face Guarding Illegal in College sports?

The NCAA has properly defined face guarding as intentionally obstructing or hindering the opponent’s view or line of vision by placing hands or arms around the opponent. This rule has clearly been stated in rule 10, section 6, article 1 in the official rule book, which covers all basketball for men and women. The offender is labeled and punished by a technical foul which usually gives a free throw to the opposite team.

Is Face Guarding Illegal in High school basketball?

The National Federation of State High School association was historically considered an act of outright violation in 1913. However, there were a few modifications around 2004 when NFSH labeled it as a point of emphasis, released for the referees. We modified the rules, including actions away from the ball. The rules mentioned that putting or waving hands in the air is acceptable, however, hindering the opponent’s view intentionally and creating vision hurdles is not permitted.

Is Face Guarding Illegal International?

No, face guarding is not illegal in Europe basketball or international because world Basketball Federation rules are closely linked and associated with the NCAA and NFHS rules. As per the international forum, face guarding is prohibited according to rule 38.3.1, which highlights that blocking the opponent’s vision deliberately is synonymous with a technical foul against the offender, which allows the opponent to have a free throw opportunity.

Similarly, in defense, most personal fouls are received because of illegal physical contact with the offenders. Therefore to excel in basketball, the contenders should be well aware of the defense rules. Defenders should be well familiarized with the legal guarding position, which we can achieve if both feet of the defenders are on the ground facing the opponent. During the legal guarding position, any physical contact is noticed between the defenders and offenders; it is termed an incidental foul or the offense. The player in the legal guarding position must stand firm on the ground and may only change directions to the left or right. The main objective should be to avoid contact, especially if we had established a legal guarding position. The offensive player must change direction and avoid physical contact.
Similarly, a secondary defender is not allowed to undergo an offensive foul when underneath the basket. This player is defined as a player who is not entirely defending the offense by scoring the basket but jumps in to assist the team player who is the primary defender. Defensive players are not present in the free-throw lane as per the NBA rules. This rule is only applicable for three seconds without being present at an arm’s length of the opponent.

Regardless of the exact position on the basketball court, players are compelled to oblige the rules. Failure to do so may result in suspension, eviction, or a penalty to the players.

Igor Bumeral

Igor Bumeral

My name is Igor. I like sports statistics, rules, and strategies. On this website, I will try to cover basic sports game rules. Additionally, I want to present the best athletes from US and Europe.

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