Knowledge of the entire mechanics system and why it works, gives an official the ability and confidence to make correct decisions. The emphasis is on making QUALITY calls that are obvious in an official’s primary area.
ON-BALL AND OFF-BALL COVERAGE
The “position of the ball” dictates whether an official referees on-ball or off-ball.
An official must always attempt to be in a position where he can see ALL players who are not directly involved with the play on-the-ball. An official must know the position of the ball and the location of his partners at ALL times, without having to look directly at either of them. This is absolutely essential when it is necessary for an official to adjust his positioning on the floor and changing his primary area of responsibility from on-ball to off-ball coverage.
An official will referee on-ball when the ball is in his primary area of responsibility. The referee with on-ball coverage must dictate his angle by positioning himself in a position to “Referee the Defender”.
Rotation is dictated by the movement of the official in the “LEAD” position. The LOCATION of the “BALL” dictates the rotation of the “LEAD” official. FIND A REASON TO ROTATE, NOT AN EXCUSE NOT TO ROTATE!”
When the ball is in the front court and moves toward or outside the area of the free throw lane line nearest the CENTER official, the official in the LEAD position must move across the lane to maintain a position in line with the ball (in line with the ball = ‘mirroring the basketball). While rotating across the lane the LEAD will referee the first competitive match up that the CENTER official cannot referee.
During rotation initiated by the LEAD official, the CENTER official must maintain a position to “Referee the Defender” on-ball. This position is normally best maintained by “stepping down” (aka “diving down”). Once the LEAD official has completed his rotation and there is no pressure on the ball or the ball has moved in the LEAD official’s primary area of responsibility the CENTER official will rotate to the TRAIL position. It is important that the CENTER maintain an open angle on the play, so rotation by the CENTER is not necessary until play dictates that he do so.
During rotation initiated by the LEAD official, the TRAIL official must immediately change his coverage to off-ball and referee the first competitive match up that the LEAD official cannot referee while in rotation. At this time the TRAIL official will be moving toward the free throw line extended and assume the CENTER position.
This to remember about Rotation:
If the ball swings back to the middle of the floor and the LEAD has not crossed the middle of the basket, the LEAD will back out and assume his previous LEAD position.
It is possible to temporarily have TWO officials at the free throw line extended. This could be GOOD floor coverage!
If a drive starts to the basket as the LEAD is in rotation, both the CENTER and LEAD official will referee on-ball.
If there is a steal by the defense while in rotation the outside officials must make eye contact to determine which official is going to the LEAD position. The new TRAIL official must be aware and balance the floor.
The official in the LEAD position must constantly move to maintain a position in line with the ball (aka “mirroring the basketball”).
When the ball is in the center of the floor whether in a half court game or in transition the LEAD official should position himself at his near lane line. This allows the LEAD official to properly start his ROTATION if the ball crosses his far lane line and a shot or drive is not imminent. This position will also reduce the number of times the LEAD will have to run across the lane while rotating and will allow the official to walk “WITH A PURPOSE”.
If the ball is outside his near lane line, the LEAD official must step wide to maintain a position in line with the ball. As the play develops and enters his primary area of coverage, the LEAD must move to attain a position to allow himself to dictate his angle to referee the defender(s).
Primary rebounding coverage for the LEAD official will be the players on his side of the basket.
The LEAD official must be careful not to call fouls across the lane outside of his primary area of responsibility.
The starting CENTER position must be in the area of the FREE THROW LINE EXTENDED. This allows an official to have an inside/out look at most plays from this position, clear view of all ten players on the floor and a clear view of plays s they develop.
CENTER’s primary responsibility will be off-ball until the ball enters is primary area of responsibility and the LEAD official has not had an opportunity to ROTATE.
As the ball enters our primary area of responsibility do not be in a hurry to move to the TRAIL position. Wait until the LEAD official has completed his ROTATION and assumes the LEAD position on our side of the floor. Many times as the ball or pass enters your primary above the free throw line extended stepping down (aka “diving down”) will allow you the best opportunity to continue to referee the defender As the ball gets passed to the corner, back to the middle of the floor, or as a drive starts to the basket adjust your position accordingly.
From the CENTER position, if there is a trap near mid-court, adjust your position to best referee the play. In most situations like this, the LEAD official will rotate across the floor and you will assume the TRAIL position.
Primary rebounding coverage for the CENTER official will be the players on his side of the basket.
Normal TRAIL position should be slightly behind and to the outside of all ten players on the floor.
If the ball is in your primary, establish a position to clearly see the actions of the defender. From the TRAIL position your movement to maintain a position to Referee the Defender is critical. Make every attempt to not get “STACKED” behind the offensive player, especially when the offensive player is taking a shot near the 3 point arc.
As an offensive player starts a drive toward the basket, the TRAIL official must stay “connected to the play” and help the LEAD official with secondary and multiple defenders converging on the offensive player.
Rebounding coverage for the TRAIL official will be the players directly in front of the basket and on the weak side of the floor, as many times the TRAIL official has the best look at illegal actions by rebounders on the weak side.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
There is no “MAGIC SPOT” on the floor, only a beginning point. Adjust your position to see the defender in your primary area and to see as many players as possible when your primary area of responsibility is off-ball.
Do “NOT” count calls. Be honest with yourself and only concern yourself with calls you “SHOULD” or “SHOULD NOT” have made.
Trust your partners – if you do not have a good angle to make a decision on a play (primary or not), DO NOT GUESS! Many times in these situations one of your partners will have a better “open look” to make a correct call.
When things aren’t going well, return to the BASICS:
Referee the defender
Trust your partners
Stay in your primary
CALL THE OBVIOUS
Look for reasons to rotate