2008 - Behind The Whistle
BEHIND THE WHISTLE
CCU SUMMER 2008 #1
By D. Lee
Longtime CYO Basketball Referee
Member of the Northern California Basketball Officials Association (NCBOA)
Officiating Basketball (or any sport for that matter) is like being a judge or jury for a court case. You are supposed to make decisions on certain situations based on the information presented to you. Of course, in a basketball game, you don't have lawyers arguing their respective sides. Though players, fans, and coaches could make good substitutes for lawyers with the way they critique every whistle make by the officials.
I think many of you would rather be a juror in a court case than officiate a CCU basketball game (and you get paid a BIG $15 a day!). Fear not, Behind the Whistle is here to help you out, just in case some of the information from the CCU Officiating Basketball clinic didn't quite stick. Let's proceed!
BLOW THE WHISTLE
Well, I guess it doesn't hurt to remind people that when you're officiating, you should blow the whistle. It doesn't matter if you're calling a foul or because a ball went out of bounds. Teams are trained to play until the whistle blows. So if there is a situation that requires the whistle to be blown, then BLOW THE WHISTLE before doing anything else.
RUN, DON'T WALK (HUSTLE, HUSTLE)
It is very difficult to teach anyone how to officiate basketball in one day, let alone through an article published on a website. However, one thing officials can do (and doesn't require knowledge) is to hustle. There will be times games will be fast paced and all officials should do their best and keep up.
Teaching positioning is a little beyond what I can do here. However, if you hustle and stay with the players, I can almost guarantee you will be able to see the plays better than if you didn't run and are looking from the backcourt.
KEEP THIS QUIET - OFFICIALS DO MAKE MISTAKES TOO
Here's a little secret that many people don't realize. Basketball officials may never admit this publicly, but in private (usually among other referees) they will admit that they MADE A MISTAKE. It could involved calling fouls or violations. It might involved some positioning errors (NBA/College and High School are big on these) that only other referees will notice.
What's my point? Firstly, even the best professional referees in the world make some mistakes. With that said, you should not let the fear of making a mistake paralyze you. If you think there was a foul, then just go ahead and call the foul. It's definitely easier said than done but with practice, you will feel more confident and get better.
Secondly, as I mentioned, there will be times only the officials themselves know they made a mistake. Why? Basketball officials are trained to be like salespeople. Instead of selling you a house or a car, basketball officials will try to sell you that their call (or non-call) was correct. You can usually see this technique in action if a referee blows the whistle extra loud and/or says very loudly and emphatic "That's a block!" or "That's a Charge!.
This technique isn't used intentionally to sell "wrong calls" but it sure helps especially if the officials call might be WRONG. To the fans, if the official is emphatic about what he or she saw, the less the fans, players or coaches will question them. Keep this in mind when you officiate.
RELAX, HAVE FUN AND GET SOME EXERCISE
I know many teams and players dread officiating games. If you take anything away from this, remember to relax and have fun out there. Think of officiating as an opportunity to scout other teams (if you're officiating your own division) or see other divisions in action that you normally might not get to see.
Also, remember that by officiating, you get to do some free exercise. It is not super strenuous exercise, but it does keep your body moving. Or if you're like me and officiate a lot of high intensity games, you can officiate and get in shape for playing CCU basketball.
CCU Note: Training Materials Are Available Online: Ref Clinic training materials for Referee Workshops 101 and 201 are available online. We highly recommend that you review the scenarios in these PowerPoint presentations, as they are good officiating references for CCU referees.
Beginner Workshop - http://ccusports.com/doc/Basketball/Officials_Clinic_Presentation__101_2008.ppt
Advanced Workshop - http://ccusports.com/doc/Basketball/Officials_Clinic_Presentation201_2008.ppt