The Shocking Truth About Continuous Motion
By Billy Martin
Are you too tight … or loose … when it comes to judging whether a player is in the act of shooting.
How often have you heard a crew member or yourself say … “On the floor” (Don't say this!!)… after whistling a foul on a defender that is stopping an offense player’s drive to the basket.
Unfortunately the concept of continuous motion gets a bit cloudy in the heat of battle. Here’s a few tips that might help you keep it straight in the future.
First of all, there is NO DIFFERENCE in the high school, college, or NBA rules regarding continuous motion.
How often do you hear from the stands … “Hey, it’s not the NBA out there” … as they think the officials are giving too much latitude around continuous motion.
But more often the problem lies in the “tighter” interpretation of the concept.
Obviously a player does not have to be airborne to be attempting a try for goal, so the extra verbiage of “on the floor” is superfluous at best and many times inaccurate.
Pointing to the floor is an additional non-approved signal that really means nothing and should be put in your closet of “things not to use.”
Key tenets of the CONTINUOUS MOTION are:
Continuous motion has no significance unless the foul is on the defense.
There is a “window of time” that a defensive foul must occur for it to be considered in the act of shooting.
The window opens when the try begins … and closes when the ball is in flight.
These are two key elements to burn in your mind. Try begins and ball in flight.
So it’s pretty easy to know when the ball is in flight, so let’s concentrate on the part of the window that many officials seem to get confused on.
The try begins with:
The habitual movement which usually precedes the shot.and this movement is the motion of the arms, legs, feet, or other body movement needed to complete the try for goal.This is commonly called, “in the act of shooting.”
Basically the continuous motion allowance this gives the shooter an opportunity to complete their original task of making the attempt for goal even with the defender putting them at a disadvantage through fouling.
Things to note, if the foul occurs during a TAP, the interval begins with the touching of the ball and end with the ball clearly in flight. This is much easier to see the window.
The offensive player (when fouled in the act of shooting) has the right to continue their try for goal.
If they are pivoting or stepping when fouled they may complete the usual foot (or body) movement which customarily precedes the release of the ball.
The shooter does NOT have to be in the final stages of a try … it must only have BEGUN.
This is where many of our well intention-ed officials put our shooters at a 2nd disadvantage, by ruling the foul occurring “before the try begun” … or in their words “on the floor.”
These privileges are given only when the “usual” throwing motion has started before the foul occurs.
So in review …
Motion – refers to the body movement of the player who has started the try for goal.
Habitual body movement – is the movement which customarily precedes the shot.
Continuous – refers to the right for an offensive player to continue their try for goal, when fouled by the defense.
A patient whistle and seeing the entire play through will reduce the tendency for good officials to make poor choices when it comes to ruling fouls as it relates to continuous motion.