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5 Play Fridays – S1 E2 – 5 Plays to help basketball referees be a better official.

5 Play Fridays – S1 E2 – 5 Plays to help basketball referees be a better official.

5 Play Fridays – S1 E2 –

Today as we do basketball referee play review, we’re going to focus on two of the NFHS points of emphasis for 2018. we’ll start with two plays that involve traveling and then two plays that involve block/charge and guarding.

Stick around for play number 5 as I guarantee it will be a challenge for you as a basketball official. let’s get started.

As we recall from the points of emphasis video for 2018, NFHS says not that there’s TOO MUCH traveling being called not that there’s TOO LITTLE traveling being called but rather the accuracy of traveling calls needs improvement and the way to improve our accuracy is to first identify the pivot foot. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

[bctt tweet=”NFHS says not that there’s TOO MUCH traveling being called not that there’s TOO LITTLE traveling being called but rather the accuracy of traveling calls needs improvement and the way to improve our accuracy is to first identify the pivot foot. ” username=”BetterOfficials”]


Play 1 – Step back move. Legal? – Basketball referee play review

More basketball referee play review with this step-back play popularized by James Harden in the NBA among others. It is definitely being taught to kids today, so it’s something we have to learn to officiate. The player terminates his dribble with a right foot pivot foot. He uses the right foot to push his body away from the defender and creates space for an open shot.

This is all well and good. The problem is he comes with a staggered landing landing: one foot two foot. By rule that is a traveling violation. What he’s trying to do is execute the move from our points of emphasis video. He jumps off one foot holding the ball but lands with two feet simultaneously. This is the key. that’s a legal play. and that’s what these players would the step-back move are trying to accomplish. as officials we have to judge whether they achieve it successfully or not. To reiterate: jump off of one foot land on two feet simultaneously is a legal play. jump off one foot land with a staggered landing with two feet is an illegal play.

[bctt tweet=”jump off of one foot land on two feet simultaneously is a legal play.” username=”BetterOfficials”]


Play 2 – Spin move – Traveling or Not? – Basketball referee play review

Basketball referee play review of traveling now looks at when small quick players execute this move sometimes it can be a challenge for us to sort out in our brain which foot was the pivot foot things happen very quickly in this instance we’ve got a larger more lumbering player which makes things a lot more evident let’s find the pivot foot that’s our objective right here so we’ve got a left foot pivot steps forward or the left foot gathers the ball holds the ball spins places the right foot on the floor as well as the left foot back onto the floor this is a traveling violation left foot left foot returns traveling.


Review of Traveling Plays 2018

Our point of emphasis from NFHS is more accurate travel rulings and they do achieve that accuracy let’s focus on finding the pivot foot and knowing the rules and restrictions. basketball referee play review helps us in this process.


Play 3 – Block Charge play in Transition. Call from Center. – Basketball referee play review

Defender two feet on the floor facing his opponent torso contact charge  one of our fundamental principles on a transition play is to be always ball aware we know what’s going on with the ball but also what’s going on with our crew right has there been a rotation that we missed etc on this play if you’re the center you need to be aware that your lead official is not in a great position for whatever reason he’s not in a great position I have that awareness that’s a foul secondary cadence come in put a whistle on the play let’s make the spot move to the reporting area and off we go transition play all defenders are secondary defenders  basically these two either play involving news these two defenders belongs to the lead lead as first crack the lead is out of position or that’s a play that needs a whistle secondary cadence from an official who’s the play is in there secondary.

[bctt tweet=”One of our fundamental principles on a transition plays is to be always ball, but also what’s going on with our crew!” username=”BetterOfficials”]


Play 4 – Block Charge play in transition. Call from Lead. – Basketball referee play review

In a fast-break situation all defenders are secondary defenders. these two defenders here are secondary defenders. lead has first crack on secondary defenders. we have a charge. let’s talk about the legality of the player. prior to going airborne both feet on the floor facing his opponent. easy charge. this defender is legal. now we have players on the floor and we have players coming in to assist.  do not run away from these plays. we’re in no rush. no we have a charge on white 32. We know where we’re gonna go. let’s just make sure everybody’s in great shape. yes players are good. NFHS mechanics when they make the call as the lead is going to switch with the table side official. if the lead had properly designated the spot as over here on the O he would become the new lead table side. fails to do so on this play though. move to the reporting area. report and off we go. it’s important to recognize whose defender this is this is a secondary defender on a fast-break situation belongs to the lead. Lead is not in perfect position here but easy easy call.  if the lead does not have a call who can get it? Center can get it. trail can get it. now we’ve got players on the floor we also have two officials moving. official one official to both moving that means your third official has to observe the players.


Play 5 – Correctable Error Scenario – Basketball referee play review

NFHS Rule 2-10

Before we look at play number five it’s important to remember that blue fifty-five and white 34 had been an issue for us the entire game white 34 and blue fifty-five have been our trouble players the last foul on blue was their seventh team foul we have us as a crew have to figure out whether this is a correctable error and if it is how we’ll proceed that’s the challenge for you right now is to say  I’m gonna pause the video and I’m gonna answer these questions: did this occur in the correctable time frame? how will we resume?

Did this occur in the correctable time frame? How will we resume?

the challenges we face in correctable error situations is we have to rewind the game in our mind and piece things together as a crew. what happened? can we fix it? how will we proceed?

in this instance what we need to do is realize we erroneously awarded the white team a throw in when they should have shot merited free-throws. this is when our period starts we have until the ball becomes live again to correct the error. we have a foul and the ball becomes dead. 

so at this point we are informed by the table that the last team foul was the seventh. since the ball has yet to become live since we made the error it is within the correctable error time frame. the next thing we need to determine is has there been a change of possession. recall that we gave the ball to white for a throw in.

since that time has blue had possession of the ball? the answer is obviously yes  since they took the rebound and went the length of the floor and shot and for the goal. we know that when we award the merited free-throws in this correctable error situation it will be with the lane cleared.

we’re not going to resume the game with the merited free-throws since we’ve had that change of possession. we are going to resume with blue shooting the free throw that they are merited here but before we do that we’re going to correct our error by awarding the merited free-throws for white at the other end. basics. good. now who shoots the one in one?

Who shoots the one in one?

our player who was fouled is white 13. white 13 is going to shoot the free throws except white 13 is now subbed out of the ballgame! We’re informed so you could make a case hey even though he’s been subbed out and cannot play until the clock runs you could say well this timeframe is such that we’re gonna bring white 13 back and he’s going to shoot the free throws but what if prior to the original throw in white 13 had been substituted for then who’s going to shoot the free throws something to think about.

Our takeaway on the correctable error play is first of all we’re concentrating on the game itself we have players in the game who we are keeping an eye on we have situations we’re aware of the calls our partners have we’re working as a crew we’re very occupied with the game and then suddenly we’re presented with a correctable error situation. It’s not always easy for us to just say oh here’s what happened let’s do: this, this, this, this, this.

Possible Situation

It may be a situation where we have to replay let’s say originally blue a white misses the shot blue comes down misses a shot comes down to the other end white misses a shot etc it goes down back and forth for three or four times we have to in our minds as a crew reconstruct what has happened to determine if there’s a correctable error time frame that we can correct this error and how we’ll proceed it’s not easy but it is something we have to be prepared to do.

Correctable Errors happen at all levels of basketball:

  • in the NBA they have correctable error situations
  • in the NCAA they have correctable error situations and
  • in high school they have correctable errors situations.

Just saying well I’m not gonna let it happen in my game a lot of ways is a cop-out. “I don’t need to think through how to actually solve the problem because I’m gonna prevent the problem!” Any way that you slice it, the problem will arise and we need to learn how to officiate these plays. Basketball referee play review complete!


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