Home | Blog | What is a Charge in Basketball?

What is a Charge in Basketball?

Last Updated May 13, 2024 Last Updated February 22, 2024 by Brian Aquino

In the fast-paced basketball world, where players dash up and down the court, execute gravity-defying dunks, and make precision passes, a crucial defensive play can turn the tide of a game – the charge. This basketball maneuver, often seen as an act of sacrifice and courage, is a powerful defensive weapon when executed correctly.

Delve deeper into the true essence of a basketball charge, unraveling its significance, rules, and everything you need to master this vital defensive maneuver. Gain a comprehensive understanding while enhancing the quality of your defensive skills.

What is a Charge in Sport?

What is a Charge in Basketball?

A charge, in basketball, is a defensive play where a defender sacrifices their body by standing their ground and absorbing contact from an offensive player barreling toward the basket. This move is executed to draw an offensive foul on the opposing player, thereby turning possession of the ball over to the defensive team.

The Act of Sacrifice

A charge is often seen as one of the most selfless acts in basketball. It requires players to put their bodies on the line, knowing they are about to absorb a significant impact. Players who excel at taking charges are highly regarded for their commitment to team defense.

Impact on Momentum

Beyond the immediate turnover of possession, a well-timed charge can also shift the momentum of a game. It not only denies the opposing team a scoring opportunity but can energize the defensive team and the crowd, creating a turning point in the game.

How Do You Get a Charge in Basketball?

To understand what a charge is, it’s essential first to grasp how a player can successfully draw one. Here are the key elements involved in getting a charge in basketball:

1. Establishing a Legal Guarding Position

The defensive player must establish a legal guarding position, which means they must be in the offensive player’s path before any contact occurs. This often involves the defender setting their feet and facing the opponent head-on.

2. Maintaining Position

Once the defensive player has established their position, they must maintain it. They cannot move laterally or backward, as this would result in a blocking foul being called on them instead of a charge.

3. Offensive Player’s Actions

For a charge to be called, the offensive player must commit an offensive foul by contacting the defender who has legally established their guarding position. The offensive player cannot change direction or initiate contact intentionally.

4. Referee’s Judgment

Ultimately, it’s up to the referees to determine whether a charge or a blocking foul has occurred. This judgment often hinges on the timing of the defender’s position, the offensive player’s actions, and the contact made during the play.

Watch this video for more detailed instructions on executing a charge in your game. It will provide you with valuable insights and guidance to ensure proper execution.

What is the Charge Line in Basketball?

The charge line, often called the “restricted area” or “paint,” is a key element in determining whether a charge or blocking foul should be called during a game. This area is located beneath the basket and is usually painted with a semicircular arc. Here’s what you need to know about the charge line:

The Restricted Area

The charge line serves as a boundary within which specific rules apply. When a defensive player establishes a legal guarding position and is inside the restricted area, a blocking foul is more likely to be called if contact occurs. However, if the defender is outside this area, the likelihood of a charge being called increases.

Defensive Advantage

The charge line prevents defenders from camping out beneath the basket and drawing charges without making a legitimate defensive effort. It encourages defenders to establish a position while actively guarding their opponent.

Offensive Player’s Movement

The position of the offensive player in relation to the charge line also plays a role in the referee’s decision. Suppose the offensive player is in the air and has already initiated their shooting motion before reaching the charge line. In that case, the defender’s position within the restricted area may not be a factor in the call.

Is a Charge in Basketball a Steal?

A charge in basketball and a steal are distinct defensive plays, each with its rules and objectives. Let’s clarify the differences:

Charge vs. Steal

  • Charge: As mentioned, a charge is when a defensive player establishes legal guarding position and absorbs contact from an offensive player. The primary aim is to draw an offensive foul and turn over possession to the defensive team.
  • Steal: On the other hand, a steal is when a defensive player legally takes the ball away from an offensive player without making contact. It involves quick hands, anticipation, and the ability to disrupt the opponent’s dribble or pass.

While both plays are essential defensive tactics, they require different skills and strategies. A charge relies on positioning and sacrificing the body, whereas a steal demands agility and precise timing.

Best Basketball Accessories for Maximum Support When Taking a Charge

When you’re on the basketball court, taking a charge can be a game-changing defensive play. To maximize your ability to execute this crucial maneuver effectively, you need the right basketball accessories that provide optimal support and protection. In this review, we’ll explore three top-notch products designed to enhance your performance and protect against injuries while taking a charge.

1. Incrediwear Elbow Sleeve: Best in Elbow Support and Joint Pain Relief

Incrediwear Elbow Sleeve

Key Features:

  • Provides elbow support and pain relief
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Embedded with semiconductors for enhanced circulation
  • Breathable and moisture-wicking fabric
  • Suitable for various conditions, including Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, Bursitis, and Sprains


  • Non-invasive design promotes blood circulation.
  • Can be worn day and night for 24/7 recovery.
  • Moisture-wicking fabric keeps you comfortable.
  • Alleviates pain from various conditions.
  • Ideal for high-performance training.


  • Slightly higher price point at $44.99.

The Incrediwear Elbow Sleeve is a standout product for anyone looking to enhance their elbow support and alleviate joint pain effectively. This elbow brace’s unique semiconductor technology helps increase blood circulation and reduces inflammation, making it an excellent choice for basketball players aiming to stay at the top of their game.

2. Vinaco Ankle Brace: Best in Ankle Support for Preventing Re-Injury

Vinaco Ankle Brace

Key Features:

  • 360-degree stabilizing ankle support
  • Breathable neoprene fabric
  • Adjustable elastic straps with hook and loop
  • Clinically proven to protect against sprains and injuries
  • Suitable for various sports activities


  • Offers superior comfort and support.
  • Adjustable for a customized fit.
  • Effective in preventing ankle sprains.
  • Suitable for a wide range of sports.
  • Breathable and durable.


  • Limited color options.

The Vinaco Ankle Brace is your go-to accessory for preventing re-injury and stabilizing your ankles during basketball games. Its 360-degree support and adjustable straps are designed to keep you comfortable and confident while on the court. This ankle brace is reliable for those looking to protect their ankles and stay active.

3. NEENCA Professional Knee Brace: Best in Knee Pain Relief and Support

NEENCA Professional Knee Brace

Key Features:

  • Patented spring knee support technology
  • Innovative functional fabric
  • Anti-inflammatory therapy
  • High-elastic compression fabric
  • Suitable for various knee conditions, including meniscus tear, ACL, arthritis, and joint pain


  • Provides targeted pain relief and support.
  • High-elastic fabric for a comfortable fit.
  • Clinically proven to reduce inflammation.
  • Improves blood circulation and oxygen flow.
  • Suitable for sports and everyday wear.


  • Higher price for the upgraded versions.

The NEENCA Professional Knee Brace is a game-changer regarding knee pain relief and support. Its patented spring knee support technology and anti-inflammatory therapy make it an ideal choice for basketball players seeking to protect their knees and enhance performance. Whether recovering from an injury or preventing one, this knee brace covers you.

Key Takeaway

Understanding what a charge in basketball entails is crucial for both players and fans of the game. It’s a defensive maneuver that requires skill and willingness to make sacrifices for the team’s benefit. The charge line and the rules surrounding it add complexity to the play, making it a fascinating aspect of basketball strategy.

The right basketball accessories can make a significant difference when aiming to take a charge effectively and protect against injuries. These three products offer the best elbow, ankle, and knee support, ensuring you’re ready to perform on the court. Choose the one that suits your needs, and confidently elevate your game.

So, the next time you watch a basketball game, keep an eye out for those courageous defenders willing to take a charge and shift the momentum in their team’s favor.