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

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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5 Play Fridays – S1 E3 – 5 Plays to help basketball referees be a better official.

- Basketball referee play review

5 Play Fridays – S1 E3 –



welcome to another edition of 5 play Fridays where we look at plays and see what we can take from them so that we can get better as basketball officials. 5 play Fridays is weekly series with new videos releasing every Friday during the basketball season. make sure to hit subscribe and also the notification bell so you don’t miss out on any of our new videos.

A quick thank you for those who bought us a cup of coffee this week. very generous and much appreciated. thank you. you can always buy us a coffee at abetterofficial.com/coffee


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


Play 1 – Foul. Shooting Foul or not? – Basketball referee play review

now let’s look at plays the point of this play is to recognize whether or not we have a shooting foul if you are inclined to say this is not a shooting foul I encourage you to check the action on the play and get a clearer understanding of when the habitual throwing motion begins. basically the shooting motion by the player. this is a ball handler dribbler she is dribbling the ball she picks up the ball.  the foul has not yet occurred. the foul occurs with the hip check right here. that drives the player off their line. this is absolutely a shooting foul and the player should be awarded two free-throws. right here she’s a dribbler. she has begun her habitual throwing motion here. the foul occurs here when the player extends her hips. trail official. primary defender. open look. foul that’s a shooting foul two free-throws awarded.


Play 2 – Hard Foul – Basketball referee play review

you alright new lead is beaten on this play has to find an angle to observe that’s a great angle on the play the camera angle which is what we need so white 25 is tracking down this player we have a airborne shooter in a vulnerable position we got white with body contact and the extended arm on the vulnerable player yes he has a hand up in the air but this is there is no attempt on the ball here none first order of business so we have a captain of the team signaling to the coach coach come on out we’re going to do that anyway but first order of business is make sure that all the players are good right this is a hard foul we the possibility exists for retaliatory action see the coach coming on we’re going to have communication between the crew about what’s going to happen we’re going to upgrade this play it’s going to be an intentional foul. We will shoot two free-throws and we’ll have the resulting throw in nearest the spot of the foul great job by the awful says well hey we’re going to who’s going to shoot our free-throws we had a coach come on to attend to his injured player by rule that player needs to be replaced unless the coach wants to buy him in with a timeout so in our substitute we’ll make that offer that the coach can buy him in the coach declines to buy him in so the substitute will shoot will shoot two free-throws and we’ll have the ball at the spot of the fact another angle on the play the extension of the arm by y 25 really seals the deal on this play just a review airborne player defenseless position no play on the ball excessive contact. easy call. remember points of emphasis for 2018 NFHS wants to reduce concussions by eliminating rough play always eliminating rough play this is clearly a rough play situation penalize accordingly. first of all


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 – Anatomy of a Call Incorrect. – Basketball referee play review

when we analyze our game video the evidence of our call accuracy comes to bear  this is a call incorrect. judging the legality of the defender Player begins to drive prior to going airborne (left-foot determines that) left foot’s on the floor defender is in legal guarding position. this is incorrectly ruled a block but that’s not really the important part of the play this is Call icorrect you could say and that’s super close it’s a 50/50 play but the bottom line is the calling official is ball watching. when you analyze your game video these are the things that come to bear right right here the lead official you just watching this action this is not the primary defender belonging to the lead the lead is responsible for players in their primary and secondary defenders on a drive down the lane calls made confidently. sold. again it’s a 50/50 play some would say easy block charge. Defender is leaning back or whatever a bunch of extraneous stuff the bottom line is the player is legal. the player is at the spot on the floor prior to the player going airborne the problem is the lead official is not officiating that player and is surprised by it so when you analyze your game video there’ll be plays they occur and you thought you knew what happened on the play because your brain does a good job of piecing things together and filling in the blanks but recognize when what occurs in your game is not what you thought occurred in your game and take it for what it’s worth if you are ball watching plays outside your primary you will not have the call accuracy that you want as a basketball official


Play 4 – Screening action on Elevator play. Legal? – Basketball referee play review

when you know that a team has elevator play right very common play structure with a guard moving up the lane two players at the elbow providing screening action allowing the player to get an open shot  on this throw in the center its officiating this and we have screening action on a moving opponent we need to know the rules regarding screening action when we screen a moving opponent we must give time and distance this screener clearly does not give time for the defender to avoid the contact that is an illegal screen by rule so very common for teams to run this with players moving up the lane it’s also common for players from to run it sideways early in your game if we can detect the team uses elevator plays that helps us in anticipation of calls


Play 5 – Correctable Error Scenario – Basketball referee play review


National Federation of high school point of emphasis for 2018 one of them is guarding and verticality plays we’re judging the verticality the legality of the defender on this play what we’re trying to determine is whether they go from point A to point B or whether they go straight up we’ve got an airborne shooter defensive player jumps from here contacts the airborne player certainly has his hands up in the air and we need to judge the validity this play obviously belongs to the lead that’s their primary coverage area for watching the play here we’re seeing where everybody’s looking in good position as a crew centers in great spot trails in a great spot we had a lot of action between the lead and the trail then we have a sudden drive down the lane contact tough for the trail to help on this play Center has a great look at a secondary coverage play but we’ve got no call on the clearly comes into an offensive player that’s a defensive foul so again that’s a foul one of the points of emphasis last year was illegal contact with the lower body defenders learning to play with their hands up but using other tactics right this is a play where the defender yeah he’s got his arms straight up but the body contact is the foul.


before we go just a quick fun play made my day the other day just a fun play to end this episode and a reminder of the fact that we get to see fun exciting things on a nightly basis as basketball officials hey everybody thanks for sticking around I’m getting to the end of the video much appreciated we do have additional videos available check those out but if you do me a favor right now and just like this video if you felt it provided value to you if you want to share it to your association your group that’s much appreciated so we can all get better together here at abetterofficial.com take care

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

- Basketball referee play review

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.

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… Click To Tweet


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.

jump off of one foot land on two feet simultaneously is a legal play. Click To Tweet


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.

One of our fundamental principles on a transition plays is to be always ball, but also what's going on with our crew! Click To Tweet


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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