Charging vs. Blocking Foul

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 09:30
Customer Service & Admin Specialist

Basketball is a fast-paced sport with a lot of moving parts within a condensed area, so it can be tough making a judgement on how some fouls should be called. One of the biggest controversies, both in the SSC leagues as well as the pro’s, is the difference between a charging foul and a blocking foul.

A charging foul occurs when an offensive player makes significant contact with a defensive player who has established their position with both feet on the ground and their torso square facing the opponent. In order for a charge to be called, the defensive player must also be set with enough time for the offensive player to either stop or redirect their path towards the hoop and avoid a collision.

A blocking foul occurs when the defensive player does not meet the criteria mentioned above. As a defender, you can’t be sliding into position as contact is made, nor can you lean into the offensive player as they try to pass as that will be considered blocking and you will be given the foul. Once the offensive player initiates their gather (the 2 steps players are allowed after they stop dribbling to either pass or shoot), if the defender has not yet established their position, any interference will be considered a blocking foul. This also applies when a player is mid-air, taking a shot, and the defender then slides in front. If a blocking foul takes place while the offensive player is taking a shot, they are given a free throw.

Still not making sense? Let’s pretend we’re driving in cars instead of playing on a basketball court. Imagine being at a stop light, chilling, relaxing, minding your own business, when a crazy out of control car comes and hits you! That is obviously and blatantly their fault, ergo a charge! On the other hand, imagine you're about to drive through an intersection but before you actually go through you see a driver coming from your left side. They are visibly driving faster than you but you think you can still get through before they can, so you go for it. If they end up clipping you and they get hurt that is definitely your fault this time, ergo a block!

This example of a block is clearly emulating what a regular blocking foul would be compared to. Where it gets tricky is when you're trying to discern the difference between a block and a charge when a defender purposely puts their body on the line. Imagine you’re a cop and you see a reckless driver. Obviously you'd want to either slow them down or stop them outright. Your best option would be to place yourself right in their path so that they slow down as they approach you. Now as they start getting closer to you, sometimes you realize they ain't slowin’ down and you need to either brace for impact or get out of the way. If you take that hit for the betterment of the rest of the people on the road (a.k.a. your team) you my friend saved the day by taking a charge! However, if you try to get out of the way or just didn't get there in time to place yourself in a good position, then you my friend are a coward and have just committed a blocking foul! (Just kidding about being a coward though – you putting your body on the line in a basketball game is totally different than doing it with vehicles)! There are tons of other variables that could be substituted, but as far as a straight forward comparison this might be the closest you can get!

Moving back to the basketball court, as a defender you never want to give your opponent a free throw as even some of the worst shooters can sometimes make a shot when they don’t have a defender in front of them. However, while taking a charging foul can be a useful tool and a good strategy in the game of basketball, it is a risky move as it is hard to properly pull off and can result in injury if not executed properly. It is best to play defense with your feet, move with the ball, and avoid unnecessary aggression when under the hoop.