Officiating off ball, in the primary coverage area, is often centered around looking for violations of the principle of ‘Freedom of Movement.’
Rule 10-7, article 1 states, “A player shall not hold, push, charge, trip or impede the progress of an opponent by extending arm(s), shoulder(s), hip(s) or knee(s), or by bending his/her body into other than a normal position; nor use any rough tactics.”
When officiating off-ball, it often involves plays such as backside screens, post play, or players cutting through the lane looking for an open spot. The importance of making sure this play is officiated can not be stressed enough. Motion offenses, for example, are based on timing. When defenders bump, push, or otherwise hold up these offensive movements it completely disrupts the entire offense. There is the disadvantage! These bumps, pushes, and holds should be penalized.
One way to judge if contact by the defense should be ruled a foul is if disrupts a players “RSBQ” – Rhythm, Speed, Balance, or Quickness. Keeping these 4 factors in mind will make the decision for you. If any of these four factors are disrupted, a player has not been given the opportunity to have ‘freedom of movement.’
In the following play, watch the player running the end line. As she moves across the lane she is bumped, enough to disrupt the offense. This play should be ruled a foul.