5 Things You Should Be Doing

5 Things the Rulebook Says You Should Be Doing

By Billy Martin


… And you might not even be aware of.


As you progress in your officiating career you most likely will settle in to a level of comfort in rules knowledge and mechanics.


 While this is a good thing sometimes we overlook nuances that are outlined in our prescribed duties as a referee or crew official.


Here are a few items found in our scholastic (NFHS) manual that may be already part of your routine … or these could represent areas that are unknown and would make a fine new addition to your  officiating repertoire.


The (assigned) REFEREE for the game shall DESIGNATE the OFFICIAL to TOSS the ball in the center restraining circle for all jump ball situations.


That’s right.  If you’re the crew chief and not a great tosser – this gives you a great option to assign this task to a partner.  Also this is a nice way to allow less tenured officials an opportunity to experience the thrill of tossing under your observation.


Remember – the table-side U1 (in both 2 and 3 person crews) can blow their whistle and request a re-toss if necessary.


The (assigned) REFEREE shall also be responsible for having EACH TEAM NOTIFIED 3 MINUTES PRIOR TO the start of EACH HALF.


 If the teams are on the court and ready to go this becomes a moot point.  But if either team is in the locker room and it’s approaching 3 minutes – you should think about how to get a message to the teams.   This is not a “courtesy” but rather a specific duty outlined in the rule book.  


Leverage your on site administrators, team assistants, bench personnel, scorers, timers, etc … or even an officiating crew member that is responsible for observing that team during warm-up.


 If the teams fail to appear and they consume a full minute through not being ready to play when it’s time to start the 2nd half – a Team Technical foul would be warranted.


The resumption of play procedure (placing the ball on the floor to avoid a technical foul) should only be used after time-outs and after the intermission between quarters.


If the officiating crew cannot agree on whether a GOAL should be COUNTED the (assigned) REFEREE shall make that DETERMINATION.


 Information can be gathered from not only the crew but also the official timer and scorer – but the ultimate decision, if your partners cannot agree, rests upon the REFEREE’s shoulders.


 It’s always best as the Referee to take in all the elements of the play or situation before making a unilateral decision.  But you do hold the power if needed.


On the topic of notifications – one of the officiating crew’s general duties is to NOTIFY THE CAPTAINS when PLAY is about to BEGIN at the START of the GAME.


The easiest mechanic is for the tossing official to sound their whistle once the players are ready and set prior to the jump ball.  Remind the teams (and your crew) of the team’s basket choice as a double check insuring teams are facing the proper direction.


Right after this look at the visiting captain and say something like ” Blue Captain #21 are you ready?”  Then repeat this for the home team – “White Captain #5 are you also ready?”  


While the notification does not have to be in the form of a question — it’s a respectful gesture to give them a moment to respond and starts the professional bond between you and the speaking team captain for each squad.


A common responsibility that (arguably) is missed by many experienced officials relates to the foul calling sequence.


 When a foul occurs the official shall SIGNAL the TIMER to STOP THE CLOCK with a closed fist. That’s the easy one we all get.


 The part many of us forget is the requirement to VERBALLY INFORM the OFFENDER.


 This should all occur near the spot of the foul after stopping the clock properly.  What we see (much of the time) is the stop clock signal followed by the calling official moving toward the table to report the foul to the scorer.


 While this is appropriate for the final piece of the foul calling sequence – there should be a communication to the offender at the spot BEFORE you go to the reporting areas.  Indicating the COLOR and NUMBER of the offender along with the appropriate preliminary signal will not only satisfy this requirement but alerts your crew to your ruling and embeds in your mind the proper player this foul should be assessed to.


These five represent a few of the more “obscure” responsibilities of the officiating crew.  If you have any of your own to share feel free to comment below.

NFHS Rules Reference 2-4-4, 2-5-1, 2-5-3, 2-7-1, 2-9-1

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