Reaching for the ball is a foul. Do you understand that? Not “reach- ing for the ball and hitting someone’s arm.” Just “reaching.” Period. The end.
If you reach for a ball to steal a dribble, or to hit it out of a player’s hand, it is a foul. It does not matter in the least whether or not you touch the man. Touching has nothing to do with it. Referees call fouls for reaching because when you reach, it looks like you are fouling.
If you really do understand this, you will never reach again, or at least if you do and you get called for a foul, you won’t walk around the court mumbling that you never touched the man.
Remember, touching the man has nothing to do with it. If you reach for the ball, expect a whistle. Nine out of ten times a whistle will blow, and the referee will not even bother looking to see if you made contact or not. Referees understand the game of basketball well enough to know that coaches teach players not to reach. If you reach, the referee knows he can call a foul without even worrying about the coach getting on him because all he has to say in retort is, “Sit down, Coach, your player reached.” He won’t even say that you hit him or you slapped him or killed him or took his arm off. He doesn’t have to. Coaches and referees understand that reaching is going to be called. So players may as well realize it and just consider reaching a violation all by itself.