FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

The ability for all players, both offensive and defensive, to have freedom of movement on the basketball court is paramount for a game to be played so that skills can be demonstrated, speed and quickness is displayed and size and girth does not get an advantage not intended by the rules.

Ball handlers and dribble drivers must be able to do their thing without being illegally disrupted. Their rhythm, speed, balance, quickness and agility needs to be sanctified.

Cutters, who play such an important role in a movement oriented offensive, should be allowed to run free without being “re-routed,” having a “message sent” or being dislodged, held or tripped.

Post people, both offensive and defensive, need to be able to go about their business without being illegally held, displaced, backed down or dislodged.

Players being screened should be able to have the time and distance to avoid screens when it is applicable by rule. They should be able to go under or above screens to continue guarding their opponent without being illegally impeded or picked off by a rolling screener. Screeners should not be dislodged by or physically intimidated by defenders blasting their way through screens.

Potential rebounders should be able to find a legal position without being “backed out,” “pushed under” or “held off.”

Passers should not be allowed to crash into defenders who had claimed a spot on the floor first and grind them to smithereens.

Protect vertical shooters from being bumped, hit or undercut. They should be allowed the right to come down to a space that was not occupied legally before they elevated. Shooters should not be allowed to come down and flatten defenders who were in LGP before they elevated.

In short, if you want to have the best possible game you can have, start by ensuring freedom of movement by both offensive and defensive players. Discuss this important game aspect in each and every one of your pre-game conferences. Make sure all officials are on the same page and are looking where they need to be looking.

Below is a clip of a cutter being mugged and ending up on the floor. No call was forth coming. Either the covering official was not on board with the freedom of movement philosophy or was not looking at the cutter or there was confusion as to which official should have been watching this player.

This cutter was departing from the C’s area or “weak side” and was arriving at the station manned by either the trail or lead on the strong side. Diagram these kinds of FOM plays in your pre-game conference so the crew will know who is looking where.

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