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Basketball signals and mechanics are crucial to our success as basketball referees. The stakeholders in the game want the game officials to be confident and consistent. They want referees who will administer the game efficiently and with purpose.  This is what we are all about at abetterofficial.com.
  • Monty McCutchen was considered to be at the very top level of NBA basketball officials. He moved into NBA management in 2018. For basketball officials the phrase holds true, "When Monty speaks, I listen!"

    "When Monty speaks, I listen!" Monty McCutchen:

    "As we get into presence on the floor though, we are going to move into the subject of projection. Projection on the floor is what defines our presence, at least in regards to refereeing the actual game.
    Projection starts long before you actually get to the game. It all starts with your signals. Basketball signals and mechanics are a hard-fought battle won in an aerobics room. They are not won anywhere else other than well in advance of the actual event. Projection is the performance of the hard work you put in into the aerobics room.

    I used to practice probably close to an hour a day. In the aerobics room, I use both the space and the mirrors to see your signals and how they look from front? How do they look from the side and even how they look from back? You can look back through various degrees of how the mirrors work. You can work on your pacing. "Alright I'm on the left side of the goal here and I'm going to present to a table with on my right. Do I want to walk around players and give off the impression that I'm scared of them? Or, am I going to cut through the lane and and go directly to the table?"
    Now, I realize I'm giving you an example from a pro mechanics standpoint that may or may not apply to each in one of your conferences. If you have a conference supervisor that tells you to go up and around players then of course that's what you do.

    Presence and projection is ultimately about strength.

    My point is is that you should have practiced this to know what you want to do and then know how to fit it in to what the supervisors desires are. Smart people can make quick adjustments when their supervisors ask them for new things. If the supervisors are leaving some of this up to you, getting to the table in the most direct manner gives a presence of strength.
    Presence and projection is ultimately about strength.
    You can't have that without will and so you're in that aerobics room and you've put in the hours upon hours of presentation. You know exactly when you want to start your signals. By that I mean you should know when to start your signals so that you know how long it's going to take to finish your signals. I like to start and project my basketball signals and mechanics with my voice. I always start my signal in a way that allows me to finish my signal where I want to finish knowing where the ball is. By that I mean if I'm going to be at the 28 foot mark for free throws, I want my signals and mechanics finishing up just about the time I hit the 28 foot mark. Then, all I have to do is turn around and now begin my administration of the free-throw with my responsibilities as the new Trail, whatever those may be.

    We do not want an erosion of confidence

    I don't want to finish my signal and be at the spot where I'm supposed to be and have to continue giving my signals and mechanics. I don't want to give my signal and then have that look like, "Oh wait! Now I got to get over to the slot or Center position."
    I do NOT want to, as a result have that sort of hesitant look, to have people thinking I don't know where I'm going to finish up. That is a presence and a projection issue, that although isn't tangible, is very real. A coach or administrator may not say "Man, he looks confused," those words may not actually come out. But, there is an erosion of confidence in people that have that hesitant look when they finish their signals and don't know exactly what their next position is supposed to be.
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    Check out this video that follows up on Monty's thoughts:

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