When I watch a basketball game, I see many players often draw a foul by driving to the basket. Sometimes, the offensive player (ball handler) gets an offensive foul because the defender takes a charge. How do you do that?
The keys to taking a charge are anticipation, speed, and attention to detail.
Anticipation refers to knowing where the ball is and knowing where the players are moving to, before they do. In order to take a charge, you have to get to where the offensive player is going a little bit ahead of him in order to plant yourself (two feet, square body) before he gets there. You can't take a charge if you're not there first, after all.
You also need to anticipate the right point to take the charge: where is the offensive player going to be the most out of control, and thus least able to avoid you. That could be as he goes for a layup and is going to elevate, it could be as he is turning blindly, it could be as he avoids weakside help.
Speed is also necessary. You have to be quick to get to that spot on the floor- if you take a long time to get there, the offensive player will see you and avoid you.
Finally, attention to detail is necessary to plant yourself properly and take the charge, and not get called for a defensive blocking foul. Refs tend to call blocking when it's questionable, so the best players at taking a charge do so in an exaggerated manner (not a flop, but they plant themselves very carefully).
They also do that because it helps them avoid the pain from taking the charge - you have a 200 pound person (+/- 50 pounds) barreling into you at speed, that is going to hurt. Carefully planting yourself so that your chest takes the shoulder of the offensive player, and then falling in such a way that you take most of the contact with the floor on your buttocks rather than on your back or arm is important to avoiding injury and too much bruising.
Shane Battier, one of the greats at taking charges, has a Youtube Video that some of this comes from, and he shows you nicely how to take a charge, as well as live pictures of himself and some other greats taking charges in real games.
You can also read the NBA Block/Charge rulings which explain what is supposed to be called one versus the other. Knowing these rules and associated rulings are important, because what you're allowed to do as a defender varies by location on the floor and what the offensive player is doing.
“Taking a charge” is an often overlooked skill in basketball. This is due to the fact that in order to be good at it, the player must seek out physical contact by giving up his/her body. In its simplest form, a charge occurs when a defensive player is in a “set” defensive position and the offensive player causes contact to the defensive player’s torso. Often, you’ll hear that the defensive player “owned” the spot on the floor, therefore, the offensive player must try to avoid contact. a "set" position, or, good defensive position can be defined as:
- The defender was still, or moving sideways or backward but not forward, when contact occurred.
- The defender took a legal guarding position before the contact, that is, one with both feet on the floor.
- The defender was hit on the torso (as opposed to the arm or leg).
To be good at taking charges, you must be quick by playing defense with your feet and not your hands. Beating the offensive player to the “spot” is the most effective way of taking a charge
There is no 'being set' or a 'set position' listed in the rulebook (high school). The defensive player needs to establish a legal guarding position at some point; This means facing the ball handler, with two feet on the ground. [This two feet on the ground may be what some people refer to as being 'set', but a defender does not need to be 'set' at the point of contact.] After legal guarding position is established, the defender can move sideways, backwards, and diagonally backwards. If the defender moves toward the dribbler OR if the defender touches the dribbler with arms or hands, that can be a foul on the defender. Otherwise, it is the dribbler's responsibility to avoid the defender's torso after legal guarding position is established. The defender has not yet established legal guarding position if the dribbler is already taking flight for a layup, shot or dunk. The defender must have established that legal guarding position in enough time for the dribbler to avoid the contact. When taking a charge the defender may twist or turn away if they think they will be taking a hard charge and this does not negate the charge foul.