Creating a Early Game Mind Set


Visualize plays before you call them.

Before you step onto the court, you need to be ready to handle the things that are likely to occur. Most of us know the rules on goaltending and basket interference. But are we ready to judge those


Give a slight pause before blowing your whistle.

Another asset in the official’s arsenal is a patient whistle. A split-second of reflection provides the opportunity to see the result of the play before ruling on it, and thus determine whether the contact was a foul or incidental.

Know if the foul during a rebound situation has possession consequence implications. If it doesn’t, it may be best to pass. If it does, it is likely a foul.

Before you whistle a foul during a rebounding situation, wait an extra second to be sure the players involved haven’t “cleaned off” each other, in which case you could have a no-call situation. Too often officials have tendencies to react spontaneously to rebounding contact before judging whether it had any real impact on the play.

That can be prevented by allowing the play to fully develop, or by seeing that the contact precluded it from developing, before making a judgment on the contact. It’s a terrible feeling to immediately react to a slight rebounding bump by blowing your whistle, and then a second later seeing that those two players “cleaned off” each other and there’s a foot or more space between them.

To judge whether contact results in a foul, see it in the context of an entire play sequence. Give yourself a tad more time to view the entire play. It will make the difference between making good and not-so-good calls.

Keep the captains’ (and coaches) meeting brief.

It is not time for a rules clinic or lecture. Try to finish the meeting in less than a minute and keep the following points in mind.

Refrain from making any threats or vows. When you say you’re going to call something close, you are opening up a can of worms. Remind the captains to help the officials with their teammates regarding any unsporting issues. Address any unusual court situations, such as the use of a restraining line. Follow any procedures your state requires.

Know non-jumper and jumper restrictions for the toss:

Non-jumpers, before the ball is tossed. Non-jumpers can’t do two things: move onto the center circle or change positions on the circle.Non-jumpers until the ball is touched. Once the ball is tossed, non-jumpers may not do two things: break the plane of the center restraining circle or move into an occupied space.They must be completely in the circle, not touch the ball on the way up, may not leave the circle, may not touch more than twice or catch the ball unless touched by a non-jumper.

How you start the game has a large impact.

Start the game off well. Have a good jump ball. Ensure that the first few calls are definite violations and fouls. In doing so, you allow everyone to gain confidence in your ability. You can only make a first impression once. Early on in the game players and coaches will make assumptions about you. Having a good first impression can generate less pushback later in the game.

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