The Rule on Kicking the Ball

Rule 4-29 on the Kicked Ball states very simply, “Kicking the ball is intentionally striking it with any part of the leg or foot.”  There are two key qualifiers in this statement, “intentionally” and “any part of leg or foot.”

Play Analysis

The rule on the kicked ball is usually a straight forward ruling.  When the ball strikes a leg or foot, a decision has to be made.  Did the defender intentionally strike the ball, or was it incidental.  In the following play, the initial contact with the foot was ruled on the court as incidental.  However, on replay, it is rather obvious that the player lifted their foot to contact the ball.  

This is an interesting play because the player didn’t really move his foot forward to ‘kick’ the ball, but did intentionally raise his leg to cause his foot to contact the ball.   The ruling official may not have been able to see the foot because he came too far out towards the 3 point line.  When the play moved back into the lane, he was not in a position to see the foot contact the ball.

Let’s consider the official did see the foot and ruled this a kicked ball.  On this particular play, the violation occurred in the lane.  The ball would be placed on the end line for a throw-in.  This is to the advantage of the offensive team.  Instead, play continued and white has the ball out above the 3-point line.

Remember, when making the ruling, any contact with the foot or leg that is intentional should be ruled as kicking the ball.