AIRBORNE BLOCK CHARGE PLAYS

All block-charge calls are difficult decisions. Plays that involve a secondary defender are even more difficult than plays that involve the primary defender. Block-charge plays that involve and airborne shooter are, I believe, the most difficult of all.

On these airborne shooter plays the defender must obtain legal guarding position before the shooter leaves the floor. One of the aspects of this play that makes it so difficult is that where the defender obtains LGP and where the shooter leaves the floor can be, and often are, several feet apart.

There are a couple of ways to work this play. Focus on the defender first until he becomes legal then switch your focus to the shooter. If by the time you get to the shooter he/she is well into the air the best decision is probably a block. If the shooter is just leaving the floor by the time you get to him/her the best decision is probably a charge.

However, you might like the opposite approach better. Watch the shooter until he becomes airborne, and then change focus to the defender. If the defender is just becoming legal you probably want to rule a block. If the defender is clearly legal probably the best decision is a charge call.
Whichever way you go, this is a play that requires a high degree of decisiveness. Sell it!

The first video clip below shows an airborne shooter colliding with a defender. This is a play that could, in my view, go either way. When I first saw it at real time speed I ruled a charge.

In slo-mo it looks like the defender may be a little late obtaining LGP.

There is a block-charge philosophy called the “dumb play’ philosophy. It goes like this. If the defender was there waiting and the offensive dribble driver knew he was there but goes airborne anyway rather than pulling up for a ten-foot jumper or a dish, then that is probably a ‘dumb play.” If you have any question about your decision and the offensive player had a smarter option than the collision, rule a charge.

Another philosophy states that if it is a “bang-bang” play; rule a block because of the higher possibility of injury to the airborne shooter. This philosophy may be the most popular.

The lead in the first clip below is in great position, is very decisive and probably got the play right. I wish he had given a foul signal first, before showing “block.” Also, he walks away from the players on the floor after the collision. Slow down and stay at the scene of the crime until all is good.

The center official could have closed down to the players on the floor with more urgency while using his voice to make sure there was no retaliation.

Here is another play where the dribble driver goes airborne and the covering official rules a charge. This is another bang-bang play that probably could go either way.

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