What Does Bonus Mean In Basketball? Full Explanation

If you have just started playing basketball, understanding the terminology used in the sport should be your first task. Let’s start with the terms that appear in the infractions, most notably “bonus.” 

This article discusses all aspects of the term “bonus” in basketball, its usage in tournaments, and its importance in each game. Scroll down for better insight before starting your first match!

What Is The Difference Between A Bonus And A Double Bonus In Basketball?

Basketball rules state when a player commits a specific individual foul, it will be included in the team’s total infractions. When a team has too many fouls, risk penalty, which is the term “bonus” in basketball.

In the NBA, this is the heaviest penalty situation that teams avoid. Meanwhile, in the NFHS and NCAA, the “double bonus” is even more serious than the “bonus.”

When a team gets a “bonus” or a “double bonus,” they get one or more free throws, including fouls.

What Are The NCAA Vs NBA Vs High School Rules In The Bonus?

Although the bonus is a familiar term in basketball, different leagues and levels offer different rules. Let’s find out through the rules summarized below.

NBA rules

The NBA implements bonus rules very differently from high school and college tournaments. Specifically, the team that achieves the bonus will be awarded two free throws instead of using the “one and one” rule.

The basketball rules in the bonus.

Each quarter, each team can only foul up to 4 times. If, unfortunately, they reach the 5th foul, their opponent will immediately receive a bonus.

When two minutes are left in a quarter, the rule will count from the second foul, regardless of the number of fouls in the quarter. The rule is effective when a team goes over three fouls during injury time.

High school basketball rules

High school basketball rules usually limit fouls to six times per period. However, the “one and one” rule applies here. It means that if you miss this free throw, it will be considered direct, and you will not be able to make a second throw.

College basketball rules

College basketball’s rules are the same as in high school basketball. In each round, each team, when exceeding 6 violations, will have to give bonus rights to their opponent.

The bonus rule means in basketball.

NCAA college women’s basketball is a little different. Each team is allowed to commit up to 4 fouls per quarter before the bonus is applied. Offensive fouls in both men’s and women’s basketball do not count toward the prescribed number of fouls.

Read more: What Are Assists In Basketball

Why Should You Understand The Bonus Situation?

A basketball match cannot be played according to the players’ feelings but also depends on tactics and flexibility depending on the game situation. Therefore, teams often adjust their game plan based on this situation.

The basketball bonus rules are essential.

Here are two methods of using bonuses to your team’s advantage.

Method 1- Defensive Strategy: If your team makes too many mistakes, it is best to increase the defense by focusing players on the home field to protect against the opponent’s attacks. When the opponent attacks, use their openings to counterattack.

Method 2- Offensive Strategy: If your team has just received a bonus/double bonus, this is the perfect opportunity to replace some of the best basketball pitchers on the field. It will help make the most of this situation and greatly increase your team’s free throws success rate.


The rules are the basis for building a more consistent, fair, and dramatic basketball rule for the players. So, what does bonus mean in basketball? Through this article, the information shared above will significantly help you in the first matches of your sports career.


Does a triple bonus exist?

Unfortunately, the answer is no”. In basketball, there is no such thing as a “triple bonus.” When a team exceeds the specified number of fouls, their opponent will be awarded multiple free throws, which are “bonus” and “double bonus” (depending on tournament type).

Can both teams be in bonus at the same time?

No. Usually, the team that commits the tenth foul in a previous round will receive the “bonus” first, regardless of whether the first shot was successfully taken.

Do offensive fouls deduct from the bonus?

The answer is No. All tournament basketball rules state that an offensive foul does not count toward a team fouls unless the player is in a situation where the player’s foul penalty is in place.

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  • Dalvir O'Connor

    Meet Dalvir O'Connor, CEO and founder of Sportssio, boasts 15 years of experience in sports knowledge and analysis, backed by his Master's degree in Sport Psychology....

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