Volume 5 .............................................................February 2001

Welcome from The Editor

While watching the Super Bowl opening toss it was a pleasant surprise for me to see Jerry Austin, the game referee, in charge of that ceremony. I remember refereeing with Jerry in a collegiate basketball Southern Conference assignment
years ago. I recall our pre-game conference where I found myself in the company of a good basketball official and a devoted gentleman. Jerry had the demeanor and personal security that allowed me to feel comfortable in his presence, and really made me feel like we were a team. There was no question when we left the locker room that WE would be ready to take care of business on the court TOGETHER.

Jerry was a low key individual (and I liked that). He didn’t have to be theatrical or boisterous to handle game situations. It is no wonder that Jerry is now a successful NFL official . His knack for understanding and working with people in a composed manner was evident many years ago and holds true today. Jerry Austin was one of the real basketball referee “partners” many years ago. He knew his place, and his strengths. Jerry Austin is now a good partner in the NFL. More importantly, he is still a gentleman.

Topic of the Month

February is crunch time. No matter what level you are working this is the time when teams are ready to make a run at seeding positions and tournament advancement. Playing skills are at their best while player nerves and coaches emotions
are running high. This is the time when each referee must be ready to perform at the highest level. Now is when all the “abnormal” things start to happen and you must be ready to put out the fires. Mental preparation and composure should
be at a season high. As a referee you should work to avoid as many problematic situations (that are within your control) as possible. Here are a few thoughts on how to prepare and why:

Your pre-game conference must be taken seriously and must be inclusive (all referees involved). Shine your shoes, get dressed, THEN sit down together and get ready to work. DUMP ALL THE PHILOSOPHIES IN THE TRASH CAN. Go work the game in the context of the rules.

When the officiating crew leaves the locker room your emotional dial should be at #1.

When the teams leave their locker room their dial will be at # 10.

During the team warm-up period start to really focus mentally. Find the shooters, look at the post player’s moves, find the pivot feet, etc.

The teams are preparing to play and perform their physical talents.

The referees need to “warm-up” and be ready for the plays that are forth-coming.

Meet the coaches with your most confident “game face”on. Have a good strong hand shake and positive body language. Be professional and businesslike.

The coaches emotions are high and often their confidence in you is low.

You can help put the coach at ease by the level of confidence you show.

Get the game started in a positive manner. If you are the tossing official, make sure the teams are facing the proper direction (you just watched them warm-up for 15 minutes so you should know the direction) and then make a good toss.

The players will be nervous especially early in the game and could line up at the center jump facing in the wrong direction. Be on top of the game and make that correction. It is important for the crew to get off to a great start.

You must set a good tempo for the game with solid play calling.

The teams will bring “nervous energy” and higher intensity to the game.

The referee crew must bring understanding, concentration, focus and good performance to the game. During crunch time and tournament time the game must continue to be free flowing. Do not take a “let’em play” approach. See the plays, call the plays. They will play as you allow them to play.

Basic Tips:

Work hard in the half court (good rotations, good lanes of vision). Handle your primary coverage and be ready to assist in your secondary coverage when needed.

Call the obvious – reroutes, impedes, hand checks, rough post play.

Referee as a team (get your free throw shooters, help on out of bounds plays, talk during time outs if needed, cover end of period situations).

Cover your areas of responsibility when in transition ( lead is ahead of the play, center referee the pack, trail behind the play).

Manage the clocks. Every possession and every second is vital. Make sure the clock starts and stops on time. If you are not directly involved in the play, you need to manage the clocks.

Communicate and share as much information with your partners as possible during time outs(who’s ball, spot or run on throw-in, number of free throws, shooter, etc.). You want to be on the same page all night.

  Guest Spot

Over the past few Newsletters I have mentioned “partnering” and the team concept in officiating. The following was written by Sue Blauch who currently referees in several major college conferences and the WNBA. This information has been well received in the officiating community, and appears on page 23 of the NBA Official’s Manual. I offer my sincere thanks to Sue for her contribution to the game and our profession.

by Sue Blauch

Partnering describes the way we interact and relate to our fellow officials. Generally, we think of it in terms of what we do on the floor. The following ideas demonstrate a broader vision, one that includes attitude, demeanor, and character.

Partnering is a verb and therefore calls us to action. Partnering is…

1.STEPPING outside of our comfort zone and doing what is right for the situation, our partners and the game.

2.PREPARING ourselves mentally so that the anxiety resulting from a natural fear of failure does not paralyze us but mobilizes us to succeed.

3.MAINTAINING PERSPECTIVE that the game is not here for us - we are here for the game.

4.ALLOWING our competitiveness to show itself through being the best “I” can be, NOT by being better than “you”.

5.RECOGNIZING that each one of us-although we’ve arrived on different paths-have earned our place.

6.CHECKING our egos to make sure we are not trampling over others.

7.GIVING and RECEIVING feedback professionally and respectfully.

8.CELEBRATING, sincerely, the success and accomplishments of others.

9.CONTRIBUTING to the quality of other’s experiences because any group or community that works together cannot live in a bubble and be effective.

10.ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY for ourselves – including our circumstances, decisions and attitude. Who we are and what happens to us is not someone else’s fault. Be a problem solver, not a finger pointer.

 Thought for the Month
There is always room for improvement, you know- it’s the biggest room in the house. Louise Heather Leber

.Question of the Month

I have heard that when A’s team foul total is six and team B’s team foul total is one referees should look for fouls to call on team B to balance the totals. Is this the correct way to officiate ? Name withheld by request.

While it is good officiating practice to be aware of game information, including knowledge of team fouls, it is wrong to call fouls for the stated reason. When there is a large difference in team fouls my recommended advice is the following. Make sure that you don’t miss a foul that is committed (by either team).

A referee should in no way “make up” a foul nor “find something “to call that is not a foul. To referee the foul total or score by creating calls that are not there or making non-call decisions on plays that warrant a whistle is beyond the scope of your duty to the game.

A team that plays good defense without committing a foul should not be penalized by poor officiating decisions based on erroneous philosophy. If a team plays good defense without fouling, then the referees should not succumb to the pressure
from the sidelines (by the coaches) which is the basis for this current philosophy and call manufactured fouls to balance the scoreboard. Duty and courage is not just for the military. It applies to those that wear a referee uniform too.

If you have an opinion regarding this February question or answer visit and respond.

 Parting Thought

It is perspective and attention to little things that makes true champions and great referees.

Good luck in crunch time.

Stay well…

Copyright 2000. Toliver All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any article without permission is prohibited. The thoughts in this newsletter are the property of the writer. I will not be responsible for anything contained as it reflects my opinion. While topics may be cutting edge in content it is the intent of the newsletter to stimulate positive interaction and growth for the readers.

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