Our recent posts on dealing with abusive fans and the flagrant foul YOU TUBE video generated quite a bit of feedback and we appreciate those REF 60 viewers who took the time to make a thoughtful contribution to our “60 Seconds on Officiating” community.
We Learn Best From Our Shared Experiences…
Now good people can have an honest disagreement about the root causes for the uptick in the overall incivility emanating from spectators; but with the benefit of time and perspective, most officials would likely agree it is a problem best dealt with by someone other than the working game officials.
In today’s “60 Seconds” post we offer some advice for your consideration on how to preempt an ugly incident between players from erupting in your game.
Basketball officials who have been in the middle of an ugly in-game episode, would likely share the same pose-event assessment of a snow skier surviving an avalanche:
"Everything was going along fine until I was upside down."
Today’s “60 Seconds on Officiating” post would like to offer a few strategies to consider as preemptive measures to avoid an ugly game incident that could lead to hours of second-guessing, as well as unnecessary post-game paperwork and conversations with your assignor.
Not to mention the possibility of personal injury and legal action against you.
You won’t find these tips in any manual, and you won’t ever be able to prove they got you through a tough game without any problems, but if the price to you is a bit more focus and a little more hustle, wouldn’t it be worth it?
Don’t Wear Ignorance As A Badge of Honor
Being clueless to key factors involving the game you are about to officiate does not increase your ability to be objective. You need to know if there was any problems when they two team played last.
- Is there bad blood between the two schools or coaches?
- Does one team play very aggressive; maybe even a bit thuggish? (We’ve all seen the YOU TUBE Video!)
Identify The Problem Child
Don’t let one player with a bad attitude, or displaying an overly physical presence meant to intimidate, ruin your game.
If a team senses they are on their own in dealing with an overly physical opponent, they will undoubtedly take matters into their own hands.
Don’t let one player negatively alter the play of the other nine players on the floor. There will be ample opportunities to call the appropriate fouls or violations on the “problem child” that might improve his conduct, or cause the coach to remove him/her from the game.
Either way, the problem has been solved and your game is back on track.
Ref Like You’re In The Stands
Consider the clarity you seem to have while watching a game in-person or on TV, and bring it into every contest you officiate.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to bring that same perspective and insight into every game we work, that we seem to enjoy from the comfort of the stands or our sofa?
If you can channel this “outside-in” mentality, you will be much better at noticing any change in the temperament of your game and be able to make the necessary adjustments.
Let The Ball Roll
Don’t worry about tracking down the basketball during a dead ball. Your responsibility is to monitor the ten players on the court.
Someone will usually toss the ball back onto the court, or it will come to rest along one of the four walls that you can retrieve while still watching the players on the court.
Now if this seems a bit paranoid to you; I would pose you consider what you will do when you are alerted to fight/shoving match on the floor while you have your back to the court (or are crawling under the stands) chasing down the errant basketball. Let it roll!
Butter ‘Em Up
While I’m not suggesting that you have to kiss anyone’s ass; it may prove helpful to be a little empathetic to the plight of your players and coaches.
- Consider lending a helping hand to a fallen player.
- Offer a discreet “good hustle” compliment to two players involved in a jump ball.
- Get in quick to a jump ball scrum to keep tempers from flaring.
- Offer a sincere, but discreet “tough night; keep hustling” comment to a player on the bad end of a lopsided game.
- Coming out of a timeout, consider offering a discreet “protect yourself” comment to an assistant coach or a high-flying player whose team is pouring it on the opposition. You can call a foul; but that won’t fix a player's broken wrist if they get low-bridged.
It doesn’t cost anything to be nice, and it may save you some aggravation before the final horn sounds.
We at REF 60 hope you will accept these preemptive suggestions in the spirit they are offered, and that you finish the season strong!