Basketball Icon

Basketball Blocks And Charges

What is a blocking foul? What is charging? Is it a block or a charge? Get ready to learn about the most controversial call for blocks and charges in basketball.


In basketball, the referees are responsible for calling all fouls and violations on players that break the rules of the game. One of the most controversial and highly debated calls in basketball is the difference between charging and blocking fouls.


A screen in a basketball is a type of play where a player moves into position on the court, plants his feet, and uses his body to legally block the movement of a player on the other team.

Basketball Screen

Illegal Screens

When setting a screen, the player must establish his position on the floor, prior to the other player running into them. It is illegal for the screener, the player setting the screen, to move sideways or to purposely run into or push the other player being screened.

You can learn more about screens in Basketball Screens.

Blocking Fouls

A blocking foul, is an illegal screen, that will be called on a defensive player who does not get into position in time prior to the dribbler moving in that direction. The referee will use the dribbler's speed to determine how much space on the court the defensive player needed to make prior to setting up the screen.

PRO TIP: When looking for a block or charge, make sure the defender had his torso in front of the dribbler prior to the collision. The defender must also be in position before the dribbler is moving the ball toward the basket.


A charge is called on the dribbler if he collides with a defensive player who has established a legal screen on his way to the basket.

Basketball Charge

Examples of charging:

  • the dribbler runs into a defensive player who has established position with a legal screen
  • the dribbler does not dribble in a straight line towards the basket before running into a player
  • the defender has both feet planted outside the restricted area prior to the dribbler moving in that direction

If the dribbler is moving in the direction of the basket in a straight line at a high speed and has picked up his dribble before a defensive player is in position, he will not be called for charging. Instead, the defensive player will be called for a blocking foul.

Block Or Charge Tie

If there is a tie and both players seem to be in the right, the result should be called as a blocking foul.

NBA Restricted Area

The restricted area in a component of the court that defensive players are not allowed to stand in. A legal screen must be made outside of the restricted area, otherwise it's a blocking foul.

Basketball Restricted Area

Search Results