If you've been to a basketball game or watched one on TV, you've likely seen a player take what is called a charge. But what exactly does it mean when a player takes a charge? In this article, we'll break down the rules of taking and giving charges in basketball so that even the most novice fans can understand.

A charge is when an offensive player runs into a defensive player who has an established position. Establishing position means that the defensive player must be standing still with both feet planted firmly on the ground before the offensive player makes contact. If contact occurs while the defender is moving, it will be ruled as either an offensive foul or a blocking foul instead of a charge. Players need to understand when they should attempt a charge because if they're wrong, they can cost their team dearly.

If an official calls an offensive foul on the play and determines that it was a charging call instead, then the defender will gain possession of the ball by way of the turnover. On the other hand, if an official incorrectly calls it a charging foul and decides later that it was an offensive foul, then possession will remain with the offense and no turnover will occur. Thus, understanding when to take or give up charges can make all the difference in close games!

What is a Charge in Basketball
Photo by Chris Moore / Unsplash


Taking and giving charges are key components of basketball strategy. By knowing how and when to use them properly, players can help their teams gain valuable turnovers—or avoid costly ones—in close games. Now that you know what constitutes taking or giving up charges in basketball, why not put your newfound knowledge to use by watching some games with friends? Who knows; maybe your expertise will help you pick out some sneaky plays! ;-)

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