Language of Basketball. Unsportsmanlike and Technical Fouls, Man-to-Man and Zone Defence

VTB-League.com presents Part VII in the Language of Basketball series, highlighting the words and phrases every basketball fan needs to know. Together with detailed explanations, we've provided clips from the VTB United League to illustrate each concept.

Today's edition covers four new terms: unsportsmanlike and technical fouls, man-to-man and zone defence.

Unsportsmanlike foul
Unsportsmanlike foul is when a player fouls another with no intention to play the ball. The player who committed the unsportsmanlike foul will be charged with a personal foul, while the player who is fouled will shoot two free throws, and their team will then retain possession and inbound the ball from the centre line extended. Usually unsportsmanlike fouls are called in case of a hard foul, which could cause an injury or if the defensive player contacts the opponent from behind or laterally in an attempt to stop the fast break and there is no defensive player between the offensive player and the opponent’s basket.

Technical foul
A Technical foul can be defined as any form of foul which does not involve physical contact. A technical foul is generally characterised by unsportsmanlike behaviour and can be assessed in many situations at the referee’s discretion, disrespectful or lewd gestures, intentionally delaying the game, substituting into a game at an inappropriate time. In the event of a technical foul the opposing team, which was charged with the technical foul must elect a player to shoot a single free throw, after which, regardless of the outcome, the team which had possession prior to the technical foul retains possession for an inbound.
Unsportsmanlike and technical fouls are often being mixed. Unsportsmanlike foul only belongs to the players and only for game fouls. Meanwhile, technical foul belongs to the players on court as well as players on the bench. Technical foul happens during the game or when the game is stopped.

Man-to-Man and Zone Defence
There are several kinds of defence in basketball, however the most common is man-to-man defence. In man-to-man, as the name suggests, the defenders are assigned to specific players. Usually the players are divided into different positions when a center will guard another center, while power forward will play man-to-man with another power forward.

Another kind of the defence in basketball is zone defence where each defensive player is given an area known as a "zone" to cover, instead of each player guarding a corresponding player on the other team. It has its pros and cons. A zone defence emphasizes all five players working together to defend the basket, save the energy and faster go to offence. On the other hand, it requires high coherence and ineffective against teams with a lot of good shooters. There are usually more cons than pros, therefore, zone defence is used most often on short-term basis as a temporary or backup option.