Can You Catch Your Own Airball in Basketball?

Can you catch your own airball in the basketball? Regarding airball, there are many rules that might fall into disrepair by players, especially by the new one. One of these rules is to catch or rebound your own air ball in the basketball. The question is closely related to the fact whether you are playing at your local YMCA or with Michael Jordan, but still, a lot of basketball players do not understand this major difference.

Meanwhile, if you are longing to pursue basketball as a professional player, you must have a good understanding of these rules. So, having spent years playing and watching basketball, I will try to answer your question; ‘can you rebound your own airball in basketball’?


What is an AirBall in Basketball?

Typically, an air ball becomes inevitable when a player shoots the basketball, but it misses the rim and the backboard. Unless you are playing pickup basketball in the playground of your area, in your school or college, you can catch or rebound your own air ball, as it is deemed legal; however, it is considered illicit in official NBA matches.

Due to this reason, several unpleasant incidents have been reported during the official matches or exchange of harsh words between players – all due to misunderstanding or misinterpretation of rules. However, there is a lot more to know about this rule.

Do not worry; I have written down everything about rebounding your own airball in basketball, and I am sure that it will help young players understand the rules.

Before starting my debate on the legitimacy of catching your own air ball, let me briefly explain the reasons for an airball in basketball.


What are the Reasons for AirBall in Basketball?

There are several reasons responsible for converting your regular shots into airball shots, and it occurs in almost every basketball match. What causes an air ball in basketball? To know the answer to this question, consider the following factors:


1. Fouled by Another Player

Air ball is a common phenomenon in basketball because the player who takes the shot might have been fouled by his counterpart while shooting the ball in the rim. Simply put, when an attacker heads towards the rim holding the ball, the defender may strive to stop him by fouling. This is how a player gets easily startled, and it results in an air ball.

This is not a big deal in the game; however, the attacker is given a chance to revise his shot as the defender earlier fouled him.


2. Injuries of Player

Injuries are among the major reasons that adversely affect the performance of players on the court. Meanwhile, injuries are also the leading cause of early retirement of basketball players – Kobe Bryant is a glaring example of this who retired earlier due to injury.

At the same time, injuries are also a fundamental factor for players to shoot an air ball. Especially; if the injury is in the arm, shoulder, or any of the feet of the player. The instant pain in the joints can revert the attention of the player, and the ball might miss the rim, causing an air ball.


3. Exhaustion and Fatigue

This is a matter of my personal experience; once I returned from the gym, I joined my friends on the court. However, I was entirely unable to shoot the ball in the rim, and most of my shots were an airball. Later on, I found that the performance in the court is directly related to the health of your mind and body.

So, it can be said that fatigues are also among the major causes that lead players to shoot an airball. Therefore, I recommend you not to join the court when you are running short of enough sleep or just completing any physical task.


4. Insufficient Shooting Practice

When it comes to the game’s performance, the practice factor cannot be overthrown. Air ball might result from insufficient shooting practice, and you will straightforwardly compromise your career in this game. Therefore, I will suggest you do enough practice shooting the ball into the rim before you participate in an official match at any level.

Another thing that you should always consider is that you must be regular to the gym to strengthen your biceps and triceps – this is how you can better throw the ball in the rim.


5. No Warm Up

You might have noticed that players miss the rims more frequently when they start hooping without doing enough warm-up. Yes, it happens, and it is a significant reason for an air ball in the games. Muscles are typically needed to stretch properly before you are on the court; otherwise, you can be inaccurate in ascertaining the power required to rim the ball.

Therefore, enough warm-up is too important before you start playing the basketball game. It will not only avoid air balls but also reduce the chances of muscle spasms or twitching muscles.

So, these are the major things from which the causes of air ball stem. Now, let us see how rebounding or catching your own air ball is perceived in different official leagues.


Rules of Rebounding or Catching Your Own AirBall in Different Leagues

I have seen players arguing over the legitimacy of rebounding their own air ball; most of the time, both of the players are right; however, they are fans of different basketball leagues that have different rules regarding catching your own air ball.

Yes, if you think that all leagues are governed under the same rules, you are wrong because different leagues have different regulations regarding catching your own airball. So, let us dive into the rule books of these different leagues and try to ascertain the legitimacy of airball:

Can You Catch Your Own Airball


1. NBA (National Basketball Association)

National Basketball Association is the most famous basketball league, which millions of die-hard fans worldwide love. According to NBA, there should not be a player rebounding his own ball if his shot results in an air ball. It will be perceived as a turnover or violation of the game.

In short, NBA does not allow its players to catch or rebound their own air ball, and if he does so, it will be considered a violation of the rules.


2. NCCA (The National Collegiate Athletic Association)

Within the years of experience, I did not come across any of the rules in the rule book of NCCA that prevents the player from rebounding or catching his own air ball. The same rule is applicable to the leagues played in Schools, Colleges, and Universities.

Considering all the rules of NCCA, it becomes evident that there is no restriction of catching your own air ball in NCCA. You can catch or rebound your own air ball without breaking any rule.


3. FIBA (International Basketball Federation)

FIBA is another famous and Switzerland based basketball league watched across the world. The FIBA doesn’t have any rule that negate the catching or rebounding of your own air ball in basketball.

The rules of FIBA clearly indicate that there is no prohibition of rebounding your own air ball in the basketball.

Therefore, based on my personal experience and knowledge I developed in years of watching and reading about different rules of basketball, I have tried my level best to eliminate all your apprehensions regarding rebounding or catching your own air ball.



The legality of catching your own air ball is a common point where players might indulge themselves in a debate with each other; however, all of them may be right at the same time depending upon the rules of the league they follow and love to watch. In simple words, NBA is the only league that does not allow catching of your own air ball. While NCCA and FIBA have no restrictions over rebounding the air ball.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you Rebound or Catch your own airball in Pick-Up basketball?

Most of the player play Pick-Up basketball follow the rules and regulations of NBA. However, it also happens that they do not care about this rule, and enjoy the game according to the rules enshrined by NCCA and FIBA.

Is catching an airball counted as rebound?

Yes, catching an airball is considered as rebound. If a player from other team catches the ball shot by his counterpart, still it will be counted as rebound and violation of the rules of the game.

Is it an airball if the ball hits the net of the rim?

No, in this case, it will not be an airball. Typically, airball is an unblocked shot that never hit backboard, basket, rim or its net.

Michael Heywood

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