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5 Play Fridays – S1 E4 – Hey Ref! What are you even looking at?

5 Play Fridays – S1 E3 – Hey Ref! What are you even looking at?

Today we’re going to look at plays going from Trail to Lead. primary coverage. primary defenders. secondary defenders. how we’re going to officiate this game in two-person mechanics of course these principles also apply to three person mechanics

our emphasis today is understanding which players we are officiating, what our primary responsibilities are and staying connected to plays as Trail. not giving up on them.

Today as we do basketball referee play review, we’re going to focus on 


Play 1 – Foul. Shooting Foul or not? – Basketball referee learning points

Lead official is responsible for the secondary defender. he’s officiating this play for a possible block charge, for absence of verdict verticality, or for elbow contact here. the Trail official is responsible for the primary defender on the play. the primary defender is red 1 and needs to stay with the play and get this push by red 1 on our airborne shooter. we’re dividing the responsibilities of a who’s officiating what. Lead is responsible for secondary defender on a drive to the lane the Trail needs to stay connected on the primary defender and also ready to make any calls on obvious fouls in their secondary.

so the primary focus of this play is staying connected as Trail but having discipline as a crew. recognizing who is officiating what.


Play 2 –  – Basketball referee learning points

play down the lane secondary defender belongs to the Lead. Lead has first crack in their primary coverage area. Trail official has this player primary defender. we could from the Trail I have a reach-in by this player here but this block charge play belongs to the Lead.

Play 3 – Lead’s call. Is shoulder turn by defender a factor? – Basketball referee learning points

screening action player in the Trail’s primary

Pass and crash play offensive foul by Lead. The defender establishes legal guarding position prior to the player going airborne. notice the shoulder turn. is that a factor on this play? not by rule. oftentimes a cue that our brain receives and our brain says “oh wait a minute he did something. he’s therefore illegal.” A defender is allowed to turn to avoid contact. offensive foul.


Play 4 – At Trail have discipline with your whistle and mechanics – Basketball referee learning points

this is a crew discipline play. super easy charge call. this play completely belongs to the Lead. On a fast-break all defenders our secondary Lead has first crack.

in case of a double whistle we want our mechanics to be clean fist up confirm then signal especially as the outside official we don’t want to give a preliminary signal when the play is not in your primary.


Play 5 – Stay Connected as Trail – Basketball referee learning points

connected as Trail. primary defender is beaten. we need to stay with this play. this defender belongs to the Lead the secondary defender but the Trail needs to stay connected and have the backside defender. that’s illegal contact. that’s a foul. that’s a shooting foul.


Here is a fun play to end on. Who doesn’t like the 3/4 court shot? Big court as well.

Even in a fun play like this there’s something for us to focus on. the gym’s excited. everybody’s excited. is the team that just got scored upon excited?

At the end of a period and during timeouts we need to observe the players crossing. This has to be a habit. We can’t be focused on our mechanics and scoring goals and things like that. We must observe the players! In this instance the player throws the ball to the Lead. If it was at all inconvenient, just let the ball go. Watching the players is more important. The players back here are all good. The main concern for me on this play is number 30. His demeanor is not happy. He’s going right into the black team as they are coming off the bench. It’s not impossible to imagine a scenario where somebody gets shoved here or a word is said or something else. We just have to know what’s happening on the play we have to know right close in observe.

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