Each team has four 30-second time‐outs during regulation play. When the ball is in play, a player on the court whose team has possession of the ball may call time‐out. The team that called time-out must have possession of the ball at that time. A time‐out may not be called if the possession of the ball is unclear.
Time outs are frequently called when a team is in danger of committing a ten, twelve or forty-second violation or a back court violation. Sometimes a player with possession of the ball who is in danger of leaving the court due to contact will call a time‐out to stop the play before he is out of bounds. A team that is forced to use up all four time‐outs early in the game will be at a disadvantage later.
When a player calls for a 30-second time‐out, the referee will blow his whistle and the game clock will stop. The referee will signal the time‐out by holding one arm with the palm flat and with the index finger of the other hand extended to touch the middle of the palm.
Each team also has two 60-second time‐outs that can only be used by a coach. These can be used at any time during the game, and are only granted when the ball is dead. The coach may request a time-out with the timekeeper at any time, and the timekeeper will relay the request to a referee at the next stoppage in play.