On paper, drawing a charge in basketball doesn’t sound difficult. A defensive player simply stands still and allows the offensive player to run them over.
If the games were played on paper, taking that charge would be easier. But folks don’t refer to the basketball court as the hardwood because it’s soft and a really fun to place to fall.
Drawing a charge in basketball is sort of an art. The defender must beat the offensive player to a spot before bracing for the inevitable collision. It takes anticipation, discipline and must of all, courage.
“The key for me is making sure my feet are set,” said Parkers Chapel’s Taylor Fortune. “The toll physically isn’t as bad anymore because I’ve learned over time how to fall back without hurting my back.”
The 5-foot-10 senior has led the Lady Trojans in charges taken in each of her three seasons. Also, a capable shot blocker, Fortune takes more pride in drawing an offensive foul on an opponent.
“I would rather take a charge. Taking a charge guarantees that our team will get the ball back,” she said. “I have never focused on taking a charge. I just do whatever I can to help our team get the ball back.”
PC’s defense has been stingy during this league co-championship season. Fortune’s presence in the paint has played a huge part.
“You have to be willing to put your body on the line for your team,” said PC coach Justin Welch. “Taylor’s unselfishness out there on the court, her personality is perfect for that because she’s a team player. She’s willing to do that. She never questions whether or not to do it for the team.”
For the Lady Trojans, the question isn’t whether Fortune is willing to take a charge but when she does it. Her presence on the floor is needed so avoiding foul trouble will be key if PC hopes to make a postseason run.
“It’s not worth trying to draw a charge when I’m in foul trouble. I really try not to unless I see it’s the perfect opportunity to step in,” Fortune said.
The block or charge call comes down to an official’s judgment, which makes it even more important to use discretion before stepping into an opponent’s path.
“We have discussed it a lot this year about being smart and knowing when to attempt the charges and when not to,” said Welch. “She has to understand. Like earlier in the game when she picks up a quick foul, she has to be smart. It’s been a work in progress as we’ve gone through the season. She’s gotten better at it.”
Quick feet are keys to defense. Also, anticipation, knowing where the ball handler wants to go and then beating them to the spot.
“I think the first step is having the courage to do it,” said Welch. “You know you’re about to take contact. A lot of it is also technique because you have to get there in time to get those feet planted.
“You don’t have to be completely still when you take a charge, but most officials won’t give it to you unless your feet are set.
“She does a real good job of moving over and getting into a legal defensive position. She does a good job of timing it to get set up.”
How about acting, embellishing the contact to influence the official? Fortune said, absolutely not. In fact, the mere thought is offensive.
“I don’t act. If I take a charge it’s because I got run over,” she said.