Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Penalized for Being Advanced

Few things are more nerve wrecking to an educated basketball fan than hearing basketball- ignorant fans screaming for supposed rules violations. These fans yell " Carry" or "Travel" at any thing that looks unfamiliar to them. I would like to shed light on the "carrying" violation that has so many fans/parents so perturbed. Here are the interpretations of the rule:

a. "Palming" or "carrying" the ball places the defensive player at a distinct disadvantage while according the dribbler a sizeable advantage inconsistent with the spirit and intent of the rules. The dribbler, who during a high or hesitation dribble, causes the ball to come to rest and then pushes or pulls the ball either to the side or in front of him commits an indefensible violation which must be called.
b. "Palming" is an illegal maneuver. When the ball comes to rest in the dribblers’ hand, by rule, the dribble has ended. Continuing to dribble after the ball has come to rest in the hand is a violation and must be called.


Palming - A violation in which a player moves his hand under the ball and scoops it while dribbling.


B. Palming.
Offensive players “palming” the ball continue to gain a tremendous advantage over defensive players. Emphasis is not only to be given to the dribbler’s hand position, but also the activity of the ball while the dribble is occurring. “Palming” not only occurs while the palm is facing “skyward,” but can also occur while the palm is facing the floor. The key to officiating this play consistently and correctly is to determine if the ball has “come to rest.” A definite advantage to the offensive player is gained on the hesitation “move” to beat a defender (toward the basket or just to go by them). In many of those instances, the ball is “coming to rest” in the dribbler’s hand. A violation must be called by the official, as there is no way to legally defend against this move.

As you can see, there is some interpretation to the rule. The rule is not so black and white like other rules like traveling violations. However, I think we can all see that the following is correct in regards to "palming"(carrying)

1. A player can dribble higher than his/her head if the ball never comes to a rest and his/her palm never faces skyward.(How many times have you heard parents go crazy from the stands while yelling "carry"when a player dribbles high) As we can see from above, that is not the case.

2. How many 13 year old girls can literally palm a basketball? I am referring to the practice of grabbing the ball with one hand and squeezing it until it is held firmly with the one hand and suspended in the air. Very few girls this age can palm a ball since their hands are not big and strong enough. Following that line of thinking, how can a regulation ball(28.5) come to a rest in a young girls hand? The only logical way for a ball to come to rest in MOST young girls hands is if their palm is facing skyward. It is almost impossible for the the ball to rest in a young girls hand if her hand is on top of the ball.

2-Time NBA MVP, Steve Nash Hesitation Dribble

The problem is that the Hesitation Dribble is somewhat of an advanced move and not normally seen at the recreational basketball level. When a player spends the time to advance their skill set and add moves like the Hesitation Dribble, it is unfortunate that opposing fans(unknowledgeable fans) try to have them penalized for it. Worse than that, is the referees that continue to be swayed by the unknowledgeable fans. They allow their interpretation of the rules to be altered by the screaming parents in the stands. They are either intimidated or do not have a grasp of the rules themselves.( But that is another topic)

If San Antonio's Girls basketball is going to continue to make gains, we all have to start being more proactive in educating our players and parents. We also have to stop penalizing the girls who put in the extra time to learn advanced skills.