Last night I was playing in a league basketball game, and barely managed to evade fouling out from reaching. However, I am not sure whether or not I was reaching, or if the referee had the rules wrong.

Here's what happened (4 times):

Our team does a 2-3 zone defense, and I am under the basket. The point guard (I'll call him number 10) runs past the front of our defense, and runs into me.

More specifically, my feet are planted on the ground and my hands are above my head. When 10 runs into me, I make sure to not move my arms or my feet. However, every single time (3 times in the first half), the referee would call a reach on me, and never a charge on number 10.

During half time, I asked the referee what I was doing wrong, and he said:

"Your arms are actively blocking the offensive player."

After half-time, I made absolutely sure that my arms were straight up and I thought that there was no chance he could call a reach on me, but of course he did.

Am I doing something incorrectly, or is the referee calling incorrectly? According to my coaches, if my arms are straight up, then there is no way I can have a reach violation called.

I looked at this article but it wasn't specific enough.

Thanks for your time!

1 Answer 1


Taking your description on it's face (hey, nobody ever thinks they fouled!), it seems that the referee was wrong in saying that these were reaching fouls. They would have been blocking fouls if you were truly in the wrong.

You say that your feet were planted and arms straight up when the opponent runs into you, but the determination of whether it's called a blocking or charging foul then comes down to the timing of when you got set--was it before the other player started his upward shooting motion? At least that's how it works in the NBA and NCAA rules, but it may vary so might to see what rules your league abides by.

The only explanation I can think of that's compatible with both your description of being in a set position and the ref's comment about your arms blocking is that although you had your feet set and arms straight up, you leaned into the offensive player. Might that have been the case?

At any rate, next time try keeping your hands behind your back as the player comes toward you with your shoulders squared up toward him. If a reaching foul is called then, you really need to look into how to get a different referee!

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