Block-Charge Plays in Order of Difficulty

Stationary legal primary defender
This is the easiest of the block-charge plays to get right.  The defender is legal and stationary and the offensive player initiates the contact.  Often this play is just a “run over” and obvious.  It also occurs when the offensive post lowers his/her shoulder into the legal stationary defender and creates separation to get a shot.

Moving legal primary defender
This play is somewhat more difficult to call because the defender is moving.  But, remember 4-23 tells us that a legal defender can move to maintain their advantage as long as they are not moving forward.  If this play is properly called on the offense the offensive coach will almost certainly whine that the defender was moving. all the time knowing he/she teaches his/her defenders to “move their feet” when playing defense.

[box type=”note” style=”rounded”]This video is a good example of a defender who legally moves to maintain her legal guarding position. She moves obliquely backward, takes the contact on her torso and the offensive player never gets her head and shoulders by the defender.  Charge![/box]

Secondary defender and the dribble driver
Most block-charge plays do not involve the primary defender.  They involve a secondary defender. This play is difficult to officiate because the secondary defender must establish LGP on the dribble driver. The primary defender is beaten and the “help” defense must establish LGP before the contact.  The most difficult part of the play is knowing whether the secondary defender got both feet down and facing before the contact.  Finding and refereeing the defense in central to adjudicating this play correctly.  This play is further complicated by the fact that not only do we have a secondary defender involved, we often have a secondary official.  The official who started primary on this play now often gives this play up to a partner who is better able to discern if the secondary defender was legal at the time of contact.

Secondary defender and the air borne shooter
Every aspect of the above play applies to this play as well.  The key point here though is that the secondary defender must have obtained LGP before the shooter left the floor.  So, we have a secondary defender and a secondary official who has to note the instant the defender got into legal position and then change his focus to the offensive shooter to see if he/she has yet to leave the floor.  This is a very difficult play to referee.  It is also the one that we often don’t pull the trigger on and results in bodies on the floor and no whistle forthcoming.   If you consistently get this play correct you are well on your way to becoming a very good basketball official.

[highlight]A COUPLE OF GUIDELINES[/highlight]
Here are a couple of block-charge guidelines that you may find helpful. The first is that “bang-bang” or “gray” block-charge plays early in the game are probably better off ruled as charges.  Obviously if the play is a block it should be called a block.  But if the play is very, very close, rule it a charge.  A charge ruling sends a message to everyone involved that if they are going to go hard to the hole they better have somewhere to go.  If you rule a block on this kind of play that sends a message that the dribble drivers only need to lower their head and go to the hole and unless it is a “no brainer” it will be ruled a block.  It will make the game much more physical and more difficult to call.

The video above is a good example of a close call that if deemed bang-bang should be called a charge early in the game.

Here is a “post contact clue” that may help you rule on block- charge plays.  If both the offensive player and the defender go to the floor in the same direction the correct ruling is probably a charge.  If they go to the floor at opposing angles after contact it probably means the defender was late getting to a legal position and the play is probably a block.  This is just a guide line and as like all guidelines it not always a 100% correct.

I am convinced that we often turn block-charge plays around because we grow up watching games in person and on TV where our entire focus is on the ball handler.  Then when we get on the court to officiate it is hard to look at the defense.  Over come this habit!  It is the only way to get these play correct.

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