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CJJ*
04-03-2006, 01:07 PM
This is perhaps the most trivial thing in the sports world, but I have two questions regarding markings commonly seen on a basketball court:

Why are the "blocks" - square marks near the bottom of the free-throw lane - larger than the usual dashed markings up along the lane? The marks along the lane are used to set positions for players during a foul shot, but was there really a specific rule change made such that there is at least one foot between the closest rebounders and the next-closest? It's there for a reason, but I can't imagine any reason important enough to warrant it (my wife thinks they're there to give players a clear spot to set up around when running certain defensive schemes i.e. it's not related to a rule change per se).
What are the short dashes seen perpendicular to the sidelines, approximately 2/3 of the way up from the baseline to the half-court line? I had originally believed these were there (at least in the college game) when there was no shot clock in force; teams were required (when, say, running a four-corners offense) to pass the ball over the imaginary line between these dashes every 12 seconds. But why are they still on the court today?

MonkeyMensch
04-03-2006, 02:13 PM
I don't know if the extra width block on the free throw line was ever not there. I've always imagined it was just to give an edge in rebounding to the free thrower's opponents occupying the free throw lane space closest to the basket.

The other line you refer to is (I think) the coaching box line and restricts the coaches to that area of the sidelines. OK, mostly restricts the coaches. It wouldn't do to have both coaches running the entire length of the sidelines simultaneously trying to coach their teams.

aktep
04-03-2006, 05:18 PM
in addition to defining the coaching box, the 28-foot line also serves another purpose: If a player with the ball is "closely guarded", he must cross this line within 5 seconds -- you can't just run around in the backcourt.

CJJ*
04-03-2006, 05:45 PM
I don't know if the extra width block on the free throw line was ever not there. I've always imagined it was just to give an edge in rebounding to the free thrower's opponents occupying the free throw lane space closest to the basket.

According to Hoopzone (http://www.hoopszone.net/Natl%20Resources/1932.htm) , the lane markings were introduced in the 1931-2 season (college).

The other line you refer to is (I think) the coaching box line and restricts the coaches to that area of the sidelines. OK, mostly restricts the coaches. It wouldn't do to have both coaches running the entire length of the sidelines simultaneously trying to coach their teams.

I think this is it; the NCAA rules stipulate that the line for the box must extend 3 ft. onto the court. Strange that an identical mark would be on the opposite side of the court from the benches, but not a big deal...

CapnPitt
04-03-2006, 06:18 PM
an additional question (not much of a hijack...no offense intended):

Why do some courts have the dotted semi-circle in the lane (completing the half-circle behind the free throw line)?

aktep
04-03-2006, 06:32 PM
Well I'm not so sure about my response about the alternate use of the 28' line -- although this seems to be part of the NCAA officiating philosophy, I can't back it up with a rule from the rulebook.

The dotted semicircle to complete the circle from the free throw line is a throwback to when a "tied up" situation resulted in a jump ball (which I think still happens in the NBA). The two players involved would jump, and that circle would be used if it was closest to where the tie-up occured. Now, they use the wimpy little "possession arrow" to settle such disputes.
On college courts, the lane-half of the jump circle is only their for tradition, or because NBA games might also be played on that floor.


There is also occasionally another dashed semi circle in the lane, this time under the basket. In the NBA, this denotes an area where the offensive player cannot be called for charging, even if the defender has a set position. It is to prevent the defense from setting up under the basket to get cheap fouls when a player drives for a layup or dunk. The NCAA does not have this rule (yet), but experiments with it quite frequently in the preseason tournaments.

OldGuy
04-03-2006, 11:58 PM
This is perhaps the most trivial thing in the sports world, but I have two questions regarding markings commonly seen on a basketball court:
Why are the "blocks" - square marks near the bottom of the free-throw lane - larger than the usual dashed markings up along the lane? The marks along the lane are used to set positions for players during a foul shot, but was there really a specific rule change made such that there is at least one foot between the closest rebounders and the next-closest? It's there for a reason, but I can't imagine any reason important enough to warrant it (my wife thinks they're there to give players a clear spot to set up around when running certain defensive schemes i.e. it's not related to a rule change per se).
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They are as you surmise to keep the rebounders separated by a bit. They date back to at least the mid 60s as we had them (with perhaps different dimensions) when I played basketball in school. The reason why only the first block is larger is that the second, third, and occasionally fourth rebounder on each side generally wants to be as close to the basket as possible. However, the first (closest rebounder often wants to be further away. No one is closer than (s)he so moving away from the basket gives him/her first chance at more of the misses. Neither the first nor second rebounder on each side can touch the mark. This separates them.

Pashnish Ewing
04-04-2006, 12:53 AM
They are as you surmise to keep the rebounders separated by a bit. They date back to at least the mid 60s as we had them (with perhaps different dimensions) when I played basketball in school. The reason why only the first block is larger is that the second, third, and occasionally fourth rebounder on each side generally wants to be as close to the basket as possible. However, the first (closest rebounder often wants to be further away. No one is closer than (s)he so moving away from the basket gives him/her first chance at more of the misses. Neither the first nor second rebounder on each side can touch the mark. This separates them.Actually, a few years ago the NCAA decided that this gave an unfair advantage to the shooting team, and now the non-shooting team "gets the blocks" - meaning they can stand ON the blocks, and the only seperation between the first and second player from the basket is the thinest line you can imagine between "block" and "no block". The two inch dash between the second and third player continues to act as a buffer. Players are no longer allowed to occupy the fourth space.

Pash, NCAA Basketball Official*

*No, unfortunatly not Division I

Pashnish Ewing
04-04-2006, 12:57 AM
Actually, a few years ago the NCAA decided that this gave an unfair advantage to the shooting team, and now the non-shooting team "gets the blocks" - meaning they can stand ON the blocks, and the only seperation between the first and second player from the basket is the thinest line you can imagine between "block" and "no block". The two inch dash between the second and third player continues to act as a buffer. Players are no longer allowed to occupy the fourth space.I should note, this is the rule for Mens games played under NCAA Rules (which includes all junior college and NAIA games). The womens game has different free throw rules - the first lane spaces are unoccupied, so the block is irrelevant (but I'm not a womens official, so I'm not speaking from authority here).

Pash

Pashnish Ewing
04-04-2006, 12:02 PM
Sorry for the triple post, but I thought I would link to the PDF of the NCAA Basketball rulebook in case anyone was interested in reading the details of the two issues mentioned in the OP.

NCAA Basketball Rulebook (WARNING: PDF) (http://www.ncaa.org/library/rules/2006/2006_m_w_basketball_rules.pdf)

Free throw positioning is discussed in Rule 8, Section 1, Art. 4 & 7.

Also, the 28 foot line is only for the Coaching Box. It no longer has anything to do with holding the ball or closely guarded counts. If you do a search on "coaching box" in the rulebook you can find all the details. Also, here's a link to the NCAA Court Diagram (Another PDF) (http://www.ncaa.org/library/programs/diagrams/basketball_court.pdf) where you can see the coaching box markings.

Pash