A Referee’s Guide To Being A Better Defensive Player

Referee bwReferees participate in and watch a lot of basketball. No, really, a LOT of basketball. Not just the games they officiate, but they often watch friends referee games, other games of interest and just basketball in general on all levels. And there is truth in that oft heard comment made when the official blows the whistle, “What game are you watching”, because referees watch games through very unique lenses. With an eye towards rules and game management, basketball referees watch players scrupulously. Every move has to be pretty close to perfect. Too much contact is a foul. Starting a dribble and picking up the pivot foot without releasing the ball is a travel. And while every shooter wants the “and one” often the contact is incidental and doesn’t merit a foul call. But how can a referee’s view of the game make a player better? Consider the following as a Better Defensive Player’s Points of Emphasis. They are some of the things referees watch for that often create fouls. If you eliminate them, you can become a Better Defensive Player.

  • Get There First. Referees always look to see if the defensive player has established a Legal Guarding Position (LGP) before any contact.
  • A Legal Guarding Position is your torso facing the opponent. If you are off to the side or at an angle, you risk committing a foul.
  • Be very careful trying to make a block from behind. If you make contact, you may commit a foul.
  • When rebounding, reaching over or past someone may get you a pushing foul.
  • When rebounding, jumping into someone’s back WILL get you a foul.
  • Reaching across your body to make a steal takes you out of a legal guarding position and may cause a foul.
  • Keep your hands off the offensive player, especially when he/she has the ball. A hand in the back of an offensive player when he/she has the ball will get you a hand check foul.
  • An arm used to impede a player as he/she dribbles is an arm bar and will get you a foul call.
  • Even though a player’s hand is part of the ball when dribbling, hitting seen as overly aggressive may get you a foul. That is also true when blocking a shot.
  • Stepping over to cut off the lane, baseline or sideline and crashing into the offensive player will get you a blocking foul.
  • Closing a lane by using your leg or arm and not your torso will get you a blocking foul.
  • Jumping into an offensive player in an attempt to block a shot may get you a foul call if the contact is more than incidental.
  • Keep your hands straight up on all shot attempts. Straight up means when you look straight ahead you shouldn’t be able to see your arms or hands.

There are lots of things that are allowed contact. After all, basketball is a contact sport but if you eliminate the illegal or questionable things referees watch for you will probably be in better position to make a good defensive play and stay in the game longer. That doesn’t mean you should be less aggressive on defense just smarter.

Rules to Being Better Defensive Player
Rule 1: Always establish a Legal Guarding Position.
Rule 2: Move your feet to maintain a LGP between your man and the basket.
Rule 3: Keep your hands off and get them straight up on any shot attempt.
Rule 4: BOX OUT!
Rule 5: Rebound.
Rule 6: Work hard to become a Better Defensive Player.

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1 Comment

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One response to “A Referee’s Guide To Being A Better Defensive Player

  1. Reblogged this on NY S.U.B.O.A. and commented:

    Hey Ref, What game are you watching? This post may answer that question for you.

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