Why Referee’s Want To Get Plays Right

Available on refereeforlife.com

written by: John McMillin, source: www.refereeforlife.com – Being a basketball referee is one of the toughest jobs on the planet.  

You are judged on every call you make and half the people in the building think you’re wrong every time! Sound like your average work place?  I didn’t think so!


Despite the yelling fans, coaches, and even players, we still go out every night and give our best on the floor.  Why?

Because we love the game and officiating for starters.
But there is something fans, coaches, and players don’t know.  A reason that we ARE TRYING TO GET EVERY PLAY RIGHT.  Actually, you could say there are multiple reasons.
Getting Plays Right Means…Getting More Games
 Every basketball official on the planet has an assigner.  That assigner puts officials on games and expects them to know the rules and assess infractions according to the rules.
When officials do not know the rules, then it is highly likely that they could get less games.  Assigners and referees never want to miss plays and cost any team a game.  Despite what most people think.
When you yell at referees in the heat of a big call or play, in some cases, you are actually hurting their ability to get plays right.  Not every referee handles the high impact, intense moments the same.  Especially newer officials.
When we get plays right, especially those tough plays, it helps us to get more games.  Especially when we display the ability to consistently get those plays right.
Getting Plays Right Means…Getting Post Season
The first major goal of any official is to get post season.  For us referees, that starts with Districts, then extends to Region.  For some officials, that even could mean officiating a State Tournament.
Yes, from the start of basketball season, officials have goals.  That goal always means getting your season extended into post season.
But it starts with each and every game.  Referee’s discuss plays in pregame locker rooms.  We discuss plays that have happened throughout the season and even plays that we see on TV.
Yes……believe it or not, referees go into EVERY GAME wanting to get all calls correct.  Seeking perfection in games knowing that calls will be missed, but trying to minimize the amount of missed calls.  AND hoping that any one missed call does not effect the outcome of the game.
In the state of Kentucky, most associations only get to send 24 officials to district tournament and 12 officials to regional tournament.  That means that every referee that steps on the floor is competing for those few spots.
On average, you have about 60 people who really want 12 spots.
Getting Plays Right Means…Everything To Officials
Night in and night out, referees walk on the floor intending to give it their all and best.  Referee’s are human by the way…..just in case you didn’t know.
 We have families and “real jobs” outside of officiating.  Just like anyone else, we have good days and we have bad days.  BUT the intent is always the same…..Get Plays Right.
 Whether its the NCAA Tournament, Regional Tournament, or a Regular Season game, referees walk onto the floor with the goal of getting all plays right.  When that happens, referees get peace of mind that the best team won and walk off the floor not regretting any plays they officiated.
The good officials are still playing the game out in their mind.  We discuss plays among each other remembering the very time on the clock that the play happened.  WE get film of games simply to watch one or two plays.
Some referee’s even take clips of plays from game film and share them with other referees or assigners to find out what they need to do to get better.
Personally, I had a play this season that I had a bad angle on.  At the time, I didn’t realize I was out of position.  I was officiating an on ball play with a screener coming directly at me.  In hind site, I should have took a few steps up the sideline to view the screening matchup.
 I remembered this play during the game and requested the film.  Watched the play several times myself.  Shared it with my assigner and some people I trust.  Guess what?  I should have had a whistle on the play.  A foul for illegal screen.
Why did I want to see that play?  The coach questioned why I didn’t have a foul.  That was the first trigger that I may have missed something.
 Also, I didn’t want to miss that play again.  By watching that play, I learned about positioning myself on the floor so that I can better officiate competitive matchups.  I walked off the floor that night thinking about that one play and a couple others.  Got the game film with he purpose of learning so that I can better serve the game and the teams.
I can assure you this……Referee’s WANT TO GET PLAYS RIGHT.  There is no question about it.  For those of you reading this that are not referees, I can promise you that every time you see a referee walk on the floor, they are trying to get every call right.
For those of you who are referee’s, I created a shirt that says “Get Plays Right”.  It was for the purpose of showing everyone that referees are neutral every time we step on the floor  AND that we all have that one goal in mind.
If you’re a referee I know you want to get plays right.  Get your shirt right here:

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