I got on the bus recently and a young guy that lived in the neighborhood sat opposite me. We said hello to each other, but after a couple of stops, I noticed he kept glancing in my direction. I looked over as he looked at me and he said, “Are you a basketball referee?” I smiled, said yes and asked if I had officiated one of his games. He said no and we rode silently for another stop. Curious, I asked how he knew I was a referee. He said his uncle was a referee. I asked his uncle’s name but it wasn’t anyone I remembered. We rode another stop or two, the mystery driving me crazy, so I finally said, “How do you know I’m a referee”. He said, “You do the same thing my uncle does at home when you walk your dog”. I had to think for a moment before I realized, I practice my mechanics when I walk my dog in the evening. I don’t do it during the day, fearing people will think I’m crazy, but at night I have at it practicing my right and left hand mechanics.
I’ve been a referee for more than 20 years, but I still want to look sharp on the floor. I also work at using both hands so I never have to reach across my body to indicate direction or spot. It also means I avoid turning my back on players given certain plays and situations. The mechanics change for different levels of play so I practice that as well. There are few things worse than using the wrong mechanic during a game and, trust me, someone is sure to notice. Most importantly, crisp mechanics keeps you out of trouble. Sloppy mechanics are hard to understand by the table crew. Most often that causes them to ask you to repeat a call or a player’s number. Also, strong, sharp mechanics suggest you are clear about the call and, therefore, less likely to be challenged by a coach.
The same is true for your whistle and your voice. Blowing your whistle a mechanic. A loud, short blast always works best. Practice that as well. Wear a lanyard that matches your partner’s. Keep several types in your bag. Always have spare whistle and lanyard. “Always be Audible.” Be clear and direct in making calls and reporting information to the table and coaches. This also works well when talking to players. Your voice may be your greatest asset. Don’t be afraid to use it.
5 referee questions in 5 minutes!
Test your Basketball I.Q.