It’s a Fake

When it comes to money, it’s pretty difficult for the untrained eye to spot a fake. But when a fake happens during a free throw, that’s much easier to spot if you know what to look for.

Know how to spot a fake.

NBA example of a “fake release” on a free throw. By NFHS rules, this would be a violation.
  1. When a free thrower A-1 “fakes” the release of the ball, it’s considered a violation by that player. Team B is awarded a throw-in a the spot nearest to the violation, which is on the end line (either side). A “pump fake” is the obvious type of violation.

  2. If the free thrower A-1 does not feel comfortable after starting his/her motion and stops to adjust — the players in the free-throw lane spaces are expected to hold their positions. If either team violates during this action it should be penalized accordingly.

  3. During A-1’s free throw, a player in a marked lane space “fakes” by rocking forward causing their opponent to enter the free-throw lane prematurely. Depending on which player “fakes” determines the penalty. In this situation:

    If B-1 fakes (drawing A-2 into the lane) — the delayed dead ball signal is used indicating a violation and a substitute free-throw is awarded if A-1’s attempt is unsuccessful. If successful, the violation is ignored.

    If A-2 fakes (drawing B-1 into the lane) — the ruling official should sound their whistle immediately when A-2 violates. This cancels A-1’s attempt and it’s team B’s ball for a throw-in, unless additional free throw(s) are involved.


  4. If a player uses “verbal tactics to fake” an opponent into a violation — only the fake is penalized. This would be something like, “you’re in my space” or a time out request.

  5. If A1 is preparing to attempt a free throw and prior to the release of the ball — B1 (in a marked lane space) fakes — causing A2 to enter the free throw lane prematurely — then A-1 requests a time-out.

    If this situation, there is a delayed dead ball (signaled) and Team A is granted a time-out.

    After the time out and upon resumption of the free-throw sequence, if the attempt is successful, the violation is ignored. If missed — a substitute free-throw would be awarded as a penalty for the original “fake” violation by B1. Got it ?

Just remember … be ready for those fakes and penalize accordingly.

NFHS Rule References
9-1-3b PENALTY, 9-1-3b PENALTY 4d

2 thoughts on “It’s a Fake

  1. Great article. Every aspect of the FAKE during a free throw was explained succinctly. This should be included in every official’s pregame so as not to get caught by surprise when a violation like this occurs during a free throw. We should never treat the free throw procedure as a knee-jerk.

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