The Game has Rhythm!


Maintain the Rhythm of the Game

By Referee


A game is a kind of dance, with its own unique rhythm. Not completely, but they have similar elements. One team is on offense and the other has the role of defender. They switch places. One leads, and the other reacts. The movement is up and down, in and out, around and around. Officials can either help or hinder that movement.


Superior officiating means being aware of the rhythms of the game and contributing to the flow, not disrupting it needlessly.


Rhythm in a game is not always evident at lower levels. In basketball games, in bounding the ball becomes a charade in slow motion, and administering a free throw is agonizingly deliberate.


Good teams move with dispatch. Sloppy and inept teams delay and mill about. . You can almost tell the score by the way they move. Skill, talent and rhythm have a way of meshing.


What can officials do to facilitate that harmony? The one fundamental ingredient in all sports is keeping the ball in play. Basketball officials can get the ball back in action quickly after it goes out of bounds.


Keep in mind that fouls and penalties in basketball can also automatically disrupt any established flow of action. You don’t have to rush any of those administrations, but you also don’t have to prolong the outcome with your own overly deliberate processes.


Move with dispatch when you can, and encourage others to restart the steady tempo as well. If you are a laggard, you will be an irritant. Sluggish officials contribute to a feeling of annoyance among participants. You can “advance the dance” with a conscious effort.


Sometimes the action stalls in ways that officials cannot control. When that happens, officials must use discretion in “administering” to the interruption and restarting the fluidity. If a player gets hurt, a piece of equipment dislodges, a delay is inevitable. But there are some things you can do. For example, officials should be aware that an injury can cause trauma among teammates. Helping to move players away from the injured player and offering a word of comfort can be calming techniques.


Another way that officials can promote the rhythm of a contest is by assisting one another in calling the game. Basketball officials have zones(PCA) to cover, but they can also help each other by looking beyond their own assigned territory when no action is taking place in their immediate vicinity.


A final hint: Speaking to players should be done in an unobtrusive way. It goes without saying that any words aimed at participants should have a purpose. If a player is close to fouling or if he/she is showing improper disgust with the calls, get word to the captain of coach or speak to the player in question directly when the ball is not in play. An official has no right to disrupt the concentration of a player who is intent on playing the game with a heightened focus.

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