In this post, we will review various parts of the jump ball rule and some of the situations that can come up.  Even though the jump ball is a common, or even mundane, part of the game, it’s important to be engaged and not be caught off guard.

The “Jump Ball” Rule

Rule 6-3 says a lot – we are not going to hit all parts of the rule here, but let’s take a look at several “common” situations that could catch us off guard to start the game.  Here are a few rules to take a look at.

How High to Toss the Ball.

6-3-4 states, “The ball shall be tossed upward between the jumpers in a plane at right angles to the sidelines.  The toss shall be to a height greater than either of them can jump so that it will drop between them.”

If the toss isn’t high enough, while not great, it doesn’t mean we have to re-toss.  Do we really want to stop and toss it again?  Sometimes we have to.  Watch to make sure that one jumper doesn’t tip it before the ball has the chance to get to its apex.  This puts the other jumper at a disadvantage, completely robbing them of the opportunity to tip the ball in their favor.

When Can the Non-Jumpers Move?

6-3-5 states, “Until the tossed ball is touched by one of both jumpers, non jumpers shall not: have either foot break the plane of the center restraining circle cylinder.”  

Along with 6-3-2, also deals with what non-jumpers can, or can’t do.  Once the official has indicated he/she is ready to start the toss, the non-jumpers who are on the center restraining circle may not change positions.

How many of you watch the toss and not the players?  Would you know if there were players lined up on the circle?  Or, if players changed their positions on the circle after the official sounds their whistle?  I would venture to guess we are all guilty of ‘ball watching’ on this one.

Either of these scenarios constitutes a violation.  Penalize the violation by sounding the whistle and awarding the ball to team B.  On the inbound, the arrow is then set to team A.

The Jumpers Can Do That?

Rule 6-3-7 states several things that the jumpers can’t do, but one thing they can do is touch the ball a second time.  “Neither jumper shall touch the ball more than twice.”  On this point, knowing they can touch it twice is more important than knowing they can’t touch it more than twice – let’s not get confused here.  

The final part of Rule 6-3 for discussion in this post is the note.  It states, “The jumper is also not required to jump and attempt to touch the tossed ball.”  Sometimes, a jumper will concede they have no chance at winning the jump, and just settle in to play defense.

It is important to remember that the Jump Ball the restrictions outlined in 6-3-7 end as soon as the ball touches the floor, one of the non-jumpers, an official, a basket, or a backboard.  

Watch the following video and see these plays in action.