Do basketball coaches teach players to “Flop” in order to draw a foul? | The Boneyard
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Do basketball coaches teach players to “Flop” in order to draw a foul?

HHH

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In a 5/7/21 article regarding a meeting of The NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee, there was a section entitled “Point of emphasis” (bolding by me):

“The committee held discussions regarding players who fake being fouled. The committee is concerned that these tactics are being taught, and officials will be instructed to carefully monitor these situations.​
“Examples of what officials will watch for include players involved in block/charge plays, players falling to the court despite not being contacted during or after field goal attempts, dribblers who bob their heads to simulate being contacted and players who act like they were the recipient of contact despite not being touched.”​

Remember that play in the Elite 8 game against Baylor, where Evina Westbrook and DiJonai Carrington were jostling for a rebound, and Carrington drew a foul call against Westbrook by launching herself into the air as though she’d been shot out of a cannon?

CarringtonCannonSmall.jpg


And that play yesterday, where Paige Bueckers put her hand on Destanni Henderson’s midsection as she dribbled past, and Henderson drew a foul call against Bueckers by reacting as though she’d been punched in the jaw?

PaigeFoulSmallest.jpg


Do you think all/most coaches are guilty of teaching “flopping” at some level or another? Or are some coaches more likely than others to encourage this kind of behavior in their players? Or are these just considered savvy plays by veteran players (Carrington was a graduate transfer from Stanford at the time, Henderson a senior)?
 
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Sadly, a little of both. Some coaches do teach and encourage flopping. And the players, as young as 11-15 years old, watch games on TV and see NBA/WNBA/College players and during games, you see the flopping. They are pretty smart. They see that sometimes, especially at the high school level, that flopping is a game changer.
 

Plebe

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Yes, it's taught. Some may not explicitly say they're teaching "flopping", but to practice "taking a charge" players are taught to exaggerate a fall to the floor in order to project the impression of a foul.

My high school team won a game on a designed flop play. We were down by 1 and the other team had possession. Coach said one of us had to take a flop on the inbounds play to see if we could draw a whistle. My teammate did the honors, the refs called it, we got the ball back and won the game. A good time was had by all.
 

KnightBridgeAZ

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The Duke legacy.
??? Not 100% sure of the reference.

That said, years ago my wife and I were heading to an away Rutgers game and had the opportunity to attend the 1st day of a Duke Women's In-Season Tourney - In addition to Gail G's Duke, we were taking the opportunity to see Joe Ciampi's Auburn team (although I don't think they played each other that day). In the pre-game, Duke players 100% were practicing flopping - and 100% teasing with the referee's about it. I thought it was quite odd.
 

D J B

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Yes, it's taught. Some may not explicitly say they're teaching "flopping", but to practice "taking a charge" players are taught to exaggerate a fall to the floor in order to project the impression of a foul.

My high school team won a game on a designed flop play
. We were down by 1 and the other team had possession. Coach said one of us had to take a flop on the inbounds play to see if we could draw a whistle. My teammate did the honors, the refs called it, we got the ball back and won the game. A good time was had by all.
Please clarify this for me. Are you saying your high school team cheated to win a game by intentionally flopping? And a good time was had by all. Presumably "all" not including the team cheated. Is this somehow OK?
 

Monte

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I think it's a pretty dumb thing to teach to players. If you flop, and no foul is called, you are laying there on the floor with no one guarding your man.
 
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Flop or not, it should not affect the refs call. A foul is a foul. A charge is a charge. The biggest ref problem I see is inconsistency in foul calls. I counted at least 5 uncalled charges in the SC game. Of course the physical game favored SC, but if the ref simply isn’t calling it on a consistent basis, adjust. Don’t flop after the uncalled fouls as you become useless thereafter. As long as refs are consistent with calls, I can take it as it’s on the players to adjust. It’s the inconsistency that drives me crazy.
 
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Part of the game unfortunately.
Officials responsibility.
Maybe institute an unsportsmanlike one shot ‘technical’ foul with possession retained?
Or go to the tape and levy a ‘delay of game’?
Soccer players win the Oscar for their flops.
 
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Flops don't occur like they do at the collegiate and professional levels, without them being coached to a degree. Most teams try the flop.

The officiating was poor on both sides. The subjectivity of fanbases will see some, and not see others. Many if not most of the charging accusations were flops in their own right - Williams, Nelson-Ododa, Bueckers - in order to further elicit calls from the officials. Their problems were they were too slow to engage in their flops - there's no charges in the restricted areas under the baskets. If they reacted quicker, they would've been outside of the restricted areas, and might've had a better chance of eliciting calls.

I also doubt that players who constantly engage in moving screens do not do them without getting a degree of coaching. Connecticut is notorious for decades of the moving screen - the player setting the screen has the ball, hands the ball off to the rolling teammate, and sticks their hip/butt outward as they do it to impede the defender trying to stay with the rolling teammate. That is rarely called, but one or two of them did get nabbed in the game with SC.

One occasion was interesting: Early in the game, with South Carolina leading 6-0, Nelson-Ododa very clearly and blatantly hooks Boston with her right arm as she tries to dribble-drive around Boston toward the basket. Boston moves with Nelson-Ododa to stay with her, but Nelson-Ododa maintains her hook around Boston's waste, and the refs call Boston for her first foul of the game. For contact, I guess? Nevermind that there was an offensive foul to begin with, nor that the only reason for the body contact was Nelson-Ododa hooking around Boston's waste, trying to hold Boston down as she tries to move past her to the basket.

On another occasion of the moving screen, this time it was Bueckers. She hands the ball off to Williams, I think, and Cooke was following Williams as Williams starts to roll around Buecker's screen. Not only does Bueckers move her feet to maintain contact on Cooke, but she then throws up her hands in the air as if to imply that somehow Cooke was lifting her up off the floor, and displacing her physically out of her set screen. I guess to also hide her efforts to move laterally into Cooke's path, to obstruct her attempt to stay with Williams. However the replay shows Bueckers was already moving before Cooke comes into contact with her. Buecker's "display" was a form of flopping.

The bottom line for all of this:

Yes - the officiating for women's collegiate basketball is terrible, and that's the case for all games in all conferences, every season.

Yes - players are coached to flop, to move screens, to hip check, to arm bar, to do more things not mentioned than are, all to gain an edge in games.

Unless there's some egregious call or non-call that instantly impacts outcomes for games, such as an arm bar of a player attempting a layup that would win a game in the closing seconds of regulation, or body contact of a player attempting a jump-shot to win a game at the closing seconds, most of the shenanigans will do very little to factor in on the overall result of those games. The cure for the disease, is just to play the better basketball....
 

oldude

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Back in the Dark Ages, when I played ball, nobody taught you how to fall down. This is a more recent phenomenon (20 years?). In all the years I played, I can not recall a single time someone dribbled into me and as a result I fell backwards onto my butt.

You were taught to play defense with a balanced stance, knees flexed and your weight over the balls of your feet. If you are standing flat footed and straight up and down, you could certainly get knocked on your keister, but that used to be bad defense, not something to be celebrated.
 
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I'm of two thoughts on this.

One, yes there are players who are encouraged to flop or sell fouls. You definitely see it at the HS level for sure nowadays. During the FIBA U19 Tournament, I recall Czech Republic fans losing their minds when their team faced Canada. Day-Wilson was drawing foul calls like crazy because of the way she was selling the contact.

Second is that players have to be coached on how to take a charge for their safety. Learning how to absorb the contact and protect the head is important. Taking on a player charging at full speed without knowing how to do so leaves players more vulnerable for concussions if they don't.

It's unfortunate that some players over do it to get a call but it is a technique I believe is important for players safety.
 
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Those type of plays have always leaned towards savvy in the past, especially in reference towards a older player against a younger player. Look no further than DT in the WNBA she does it a good bit (quite well too) and she's often praised for getting the better of her opponents as a result. Personally I don't think Henderson was trying to sell a foul there but they blew the whistle anyway.
 
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In Drama Club we learned how to "stage fall" so falling looked real and we also didn't hurt ourselves. That got us ready for basketball season....just kidding, back then it was used so we didn't get hurt if we fell off the ladder reaching into the peach basket.
 
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Back in the day if you fell on the floors or were thrown off your spot you were laughed at by your peers for being soft or off balance. The problem now in my view has been promoted by the poorer officials who call that stuff. If you are on the floor your man is open. Bad for your team. I do remember once we thought someone on the other team was trying that. My coach instructed us to make sure the contact was real :D.
 
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Flopping is annoying, but every team does it...even UConn. Last year vs. Arkansas, I remember a play where Amber Ramirez (all 120 lbs of her) was driving with Mir McLean guarding her, and there was contact. Mir did the arm waving thing and literally staggered like five steps back as if she got hit by a truck. She played limited minutes, but produced her share of theatrics. She also didn't get a single call her way in spite of her efforts to sell it to the refs.

I think every fanbase is conditioned to believe that it's a charge when their player falls, but it's a flop when the opposing team hits the ground.
 

Centerstream

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Flop or not, it should not affect the refs call. A foul is a foul. A charge is a charge. The biggest ref problem I see is inconsistency in foul calls. I counted at least 5 uncalled charges in the SC game. Of course the physical game favored SC, but if the ref simply isn’t calling it on a consistent basis, adjust. Don’t flop after the uncalled fouls as you become useless thereafter. As long as refs are consistent with calls, I can take it as it’s on the players to adjust. It’s the inconsistency that drives me crazy.
I have to disagree with your premise of a foul is a foul. To me it seems like 50% of fouls called on inside shots are based on the premise that it looks like a foul but in reality, there was never any contact...it just looks like there's a possibility that it occurred.
And in the SC game it appeared that the referees assumed the UConn player flopped yet didn't call it (it's a point of emphasis, right???) on more than one occasion and also didn't say anything to the player about it being a flop. They just let SC run over them.
 
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Back in the Dark Ages, when I played ball, nobody taught you how to fall down. This is a more recent phenomenon (20 years?). In all the years I played, I can not recall a single time someone dribbled into me and as a result I fell backwards onto my butt.

You were taught to play defense with a balanced stance, knees flexed and your weight over the balls of your feet. If you are standing flat footed and straight up and down, you could certainly get knocked on your keister, but that used to be bad defense, not something to be celebrated.

To be sure, most people probably didn't coach how to fall down, because they relied on gravity teaching you how to do it, for free. But there've always been degrees of flopping, going back to the 80's, 70's, 60's. Very little before that time, do I have knowledge of. It started with that all-time legendary Hall Of Fame player named "Unknown" complaining to the official, "hey Ref, that guy just knocked me out of my stance! Why didn't you call that??", and the Official replying, "sorry, I didn't see it....". So after that, players began to demonstrate dramatically, to ensure that the officials DID see them when the fouls happened.

Somewhere, along the way, the most notorious and despised All-Star foil to aggitate the great players of his time, named "Also Unknown" - he was called "Al" - came up with the idea of acting out as if he was fouled, even when he wasn't really fouled, to see what the officials would do. And the rest is history. Al has the further distinction of being the first basketball player to eat oysters.

Players were flailing their arms in the air in the NBA during battling for rebounding or post position in the paint for generations, and that's a form of "flopping". Trying to imply that they were in the act of shooting at the point of being fouled, by slinging their arms up towards the basket after the contact, is another form of flopping. It's all by design to elicit favorable calls from the officials. But I agree the rate of flopping has certainly risen to ridiculous levels since the 90's......
 

Plebe

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Please clarify this for me. Are you saying your high school team cheated to win a game by intentionally flopping? And a good time was had by all. Presumably "all" not including the team cheated. Is this somehow OK?
I never asserted that it's OK, and my last line was spoken facetiously. I was responding to OP's question about whether "flopping" is taught. It most assuredly is. (FWIW I didn't see what happened between my teammate and the guy he was guarding, so I don't know how much of an act it was. But it was right after our coach told us to try and draw an offensive foul on the inbound play, so ...)

Back in the Dark Ages, when I played ball, nobody taught you how to fall down. This is a more recent phenomenon (20 years?). In all the years I played, I can not recall a single time someone dribbled into me and as a result I fell backwards onto my butt.
More than 20 years. As a 7th grader in the mid-80s, in my first year of competitive basketball, one day early in the season our coach had us practice taking charges by falling back upon contact from the offensive player. While I still consider him a very good coach (who btw also taught us good fundamental defensive stance as well), I'm certain he wasn't a pioneer in the field of taking charges.
 
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Centerstream

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Those type of plays have always leaned towards savvy in the past, especially in reference towards a older player against a younger player. Look no further than DT in the WNBA she does it a good bit (quite well too) and she's often praised for getting the better of her opponents as a result. Personally I don't think Henderson was trying to sell a foul there but they blew the whistle anyway.
Did you not see the image in post #1? Looks like she has been hit by a truck...
 
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View attachment 71317
“Teaching kids to flop? Who me?”
From ESPN article: Coach K introduced a drill at practice where you had to take a charge, and he would jump right in and do it with us. One time I had the ball when he was in the drill, and he was defending me. I'm thinking, "What do I do here? I don't want to knock over my coach. Will he still be doing this drill when he's 50?"
 
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Did you not see the image in post #1? Looks like she has been hit by a truck...
One frame doesn't tell the whole story. It's just an opinion, but it looked to me in real time that Henderson was attempting to avoid the contact to what looked to be a potential Paige drive. Henderson was getting beat off the dribble, then she backed up after initially trying to go in a for a steal and as she pulled back her hands to not get called for her own potential foul, she caught Paige off guard in her attempt to lean into Henderson, which caused her to trip with the ball as the foul was called. That's why I initially thought the call was for a travel and not a foul. Again it's just how I saw it, I personally thought it was just perfect storm of events that an over anxious ref reacted to.
 
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