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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New Basketball Backcourt Rule for High School 2018! Not so fast!

new backcourt rules for high school

New Basketball Backcourt Rule for High School

The National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) published new basketball backcourt rule exception. A shiny looking, ‘rules exception’ about backcourt violations, but in doing so they have confused many officials.

Let’s get this ‘clarification’ about backcourt rules right. The language provided by NFHS:

9-9-1: A player shall not be the first to touch the ball after it has been in team control in the frontcourt, if he/she or a teammate last touched or was touched by the ball in the frontcourt before it went to the backcourt. EXCEPTION: Any player located in the backcourt may recover a ball deflected from the frontcourt by the defense.

9-9-1: A player shall not be the first to touch the ball after it has been in team control in the frontcourt, if he/she or a teammate last touched or was touched by the ball in the frontcourt before it went to the backcourt.… Click To Tweet

Our video explaination:

Our rules clarification for this year 2018 is about backcourt violations. It involves one single play that was improperly interpreted by the committee in 2007 as being a violation. We are going to look at that play. This play is now, by rule, LEGAL. So, the NFHS said, “You know what? We had this interpretation. It was wrong. We’re going to fix it by including an exception into the rule. Recognize that the backcourt RULES. HAVE. NOT. CHANGED! Here is our play… This is a legal play.

Misguided Rules Interpretation from 2007 about basketball backcourt violation

In 2007, NFHS said this play is illegal and this is a backcourt violation on red. When we look at backcourt plays, let’s go through our process — our checklist. We have Team Control by Red. They are holding or dribbling the ball in the backcourt. The ball is passed and is contacted by a player with frontcourt status — White. This means that the ball now has Frontcourt status by rule. Again, these are the basics. The Red player (with backcourt status) jumps and catches the ball in the air now giving the ball backcourt status. In 2007 NFHS had an interpretation that this play is illegal. NFHS: we are going to rule that this player was: both the last to touch in the frontcourt and the first to touch in the backcourt *simultaneously* by catching the ball. It was convoluted logic and has now been corrected.

NFHS sees the light about their erroneous interpretation!

This play is now legal. A critical component to understand is even though there’s language being expressed by NFHS about backcourt rules and restrictions, that this is the ONLY play that is being addressed!! This one play! This play is legal. There are no rules changes regarding backcourt violations.

Let’s get better together

Keep working hard to get better as a basketball official. Come on back for more video content so that we can get better together here at abetterofficial.com.

NFHS Basketball Officiating Principles – NFHS Officials Manual [2018]

NFHS basketball referees

NFHS Basketball Officiating Principles are an often overlooked by basketball referees. Having a quick review can only reinforce the positive messages therein!




1.0.1: Officials shall master both the rules of the game and the mechanics necessary to enforce the rules, and shall exercise authority in an impartial, firm and controlled manner.

1.0.2: Officials shall work with each other and their state associations in a constructive and cooperative manner.

1.0.3: Officials shall uphold the honor and dignity of the profession in all interaction with student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors, school administrators, colleagues and the public.

1.0.4: Officials shall prepare themselves both physically and mentally, shall dress neatly and appropriately, and shall comport themselves in a manner consistent with the high standards of the profession.

1.0.5: Officials shall be punctual and professional in the fulfillment of all contractual obligations.

1.0.6: Officials shall remain mindful that their conduct influences the respect that student-athletes, coaches and the public hold for the profession.

1.0.7: Officials shall, while enforcing the rules of play, remain aware of the inherent risk of injury that competition poses to student-athletes. Where appropriate, they shall inform event management of conditions or situations that appear unreasonably hazardous.

1.0.8: Officials shall take reasonable steps to educate themselves in the recognition of emergency conditions that might arise during the course of competition.


1.1.1 Purpose of Rules: The philosophy of the basketball rules is to allow two teams to play so that neither team has an unfair advantage. The role of officials is to enforce the rules. Mechanics are the necessary tool that place officials in the proper position to enforce the rules. This manual is written with those purposes in mind. The philosophy that should be followed is that the rules book and manual are the constant to which everyone has access. The official should enforce the rules as written and follow the manual as written.

Purpose of Rules: The philosophy of the basketball rules is to allow two teams to play so that neither team has an unfair advantage. The role of officials is to enforce the rules. Click To Tweet

1.1.2: Popularity of Game: Basketball officials comprise a very large group of men and women who find great satisfaction in maintaining direct contact with a sport which has worldwide appeal. Basketball is the most popular sport sponsored by state associations who are members of the NFHS. Well over 17,600 state association member schools have boys and girls varsity basketball teams. Also, most schools have a junior varsity team for both boys and girls, and in addition, many have separate teams for sophomores and freshmen. Nearly 1,000,000 boys and girls compete on inter-school basketball teams.


1.1.3: Game Officials: For the vast majority of the group, officiating is a satisfying avocation rather than a full-time vocation. Professional, responsible and energetic men and women, who enjoy the activity and the relationships established and maintained, make up this group. The ability of the schools to make the work attractive enough to continue to command the interest of such people with the personality, sincerity and good judgment, is a very important factor in the administration of a school athletic program. To be of maximum service, these individuals must be fully informed of the purposes and policies of the schools as exemplified in the work of the conference, league and statewide organizations. This is facilitated through the registration, promotion and training programs practiced in the majority of states.


1.1.4 Rules Knowledge: Good officiating is partially dependent on a thorough knowledge of the basketball rules and of all related materials that are published each year. Most of the decisions on the floor must be made so quickly that they come by reflex. The only way the proper reflexes can be perfected is through continual study of all possible situations so that fundamentals and correct interpretations are always clearly in mind. For such study, the following aids are helpful rules book, case book, simplified and illustrated rules, handbook, preseason guides, Part I and ll examinations, officiating mechanics exam, interpretations, Powerpoints, video, discussion at state-sponsored and local meetings, and periodic releases by the state association office.

Rules Knowledge: Good officiating is partially dependent on a thorough knowledge of the basketball rules and of all related materials that are published each year. Most of the decisions on the floor must be made so quickly that… Click To Tweet

1.1.5 Language: The language of basketball must be fully understood. Such as: bonus free throw, common foul, double foul, fumble, multiple throw and many other terms as found in the definitions. The technical meaning of “team in control” and understanding of technicalities such as when “continuous-motion” provisions apply are essential. The same thing applies to a clear and definite understanding of exactly when the ball becomes dead and when an act such as a dribble or a free throw ends. Otherwise, many of the statements concerning rules provisions are meaningless. All of the technical terms are a part of the basketball language. No one will have success in mastering the rules without learning to “speak and understand the language. “The definitions portion (Rule 4) of the NFHS Basketball Rules Book should be thoroughly studied.


1.1.6 Signals: Proper NFHS signals, as outlined in this manual and the rules book, are to be used exclusively. Signaling is an essential aspect of officiating and, through its use, decisions and information are relayed to players, coaches and spectators. These official signals are dignified, informative and meaningful. Poorly executed and unorthodox signals only tend to confuse. The manner in which a signal is given determines, to some degree, its acceptance by those associated with the game. Precisely executed clear signals establish the understanding that the officials are in complete charge with the game properly under their control.


1.1.7 Proper Court Coverage: A good system of mechanics is required to ensure the officials will be at the proper place on the court at all times. The movements must be such that the official is constantly in position to observe any action which falls under his/her jurisdiction. An official not in the proper position on the court has committed the “unpardonable sin” of officiating. The official must be proficient in good officiating mechanics.


1.1.8 Officiating Fees: Game fees should be agreed upon through friendly negotiations between officials in a given area and those who administer the school program. Attempts to dictate specified fees for any wide area or wide variety of schools or organizations have met with little success and have created problems in some cases. Fortunately for officials and for those who are responsible for administering the school athletic program, there is a healthy overlap of men and women who are interested in both groups. This makes it possible to arrive jointly at a fair fee for a particular area and for a given level of play or size of school. As independent contractors, officials are responsible for reporting and paying all appropriate taxes. Questions should be directed to your tax consultant.


1.1.9 Insurance: If coverage is desired, it is the official’s responsibility to secure it, along with any other personal insurance (available through NFHS Officials Association).

1.1.10 Players’ Welfare: Officials should be alert constantly to the possibility of player injury. Injured players should be attended to as outlined in the rules. In all situations, the welfare of an injured player has the highest priority.

NFHS Basketball Officiating Principles


1.2.1 Personality: The same personality attributes, which go to make up a successful director or supervisor, are applicable to officiating. Conscientious attention to detail, alertness, firmness and quick reactions are items which must be cultivated. An apologetic attitude while making decisions creates lack of confidence.


1.2.2 Cooperation: Each official must give full cooperation to coworkers and to the assistant officials. Officials are not limited to calling fouls or violations in their own area of the court. Each official should call obvious fouls wherever they occur and be prepared to help the other official at all times.


1.2.3 Conditioning: Basketball requires a well-conditioned body and an alert mind. A physical examination should be taken at the start of each season and after any illness which might occur during a season. Unless an official is in good Physical condition, reaction time and the ability to concentrate in making decisions will be less than satisfactory. Hustle and energy have no substitutes. An official must cultivate the habit of moving quickly and being in position to observe all of the action in any doubtful situation. One extreme is wild, purposeless running. The other is “standing on a dime” and making decisions at long range.


1.2.4 Tact: Tactfulness is a talent that will pay dividends in officiating. A diplomatic manner will often prevent ill will and resentment. Tactfulness encourages a cooperative attitude on the part of players, coaches and spectators. Use of it goes a long way in creating a willingness to accept decisions.


1.2.5 Courteousness: Politeness is the lubricant for good human relations. Sometimes officials are afraid that politeness implies softness or “politicking.” This is far from the truth. A polite person can be very strict and exacting. Cheerfulness and optimism tend to bring out the same qualities in players.


1.2.6 Fair and Impartial: A good official will be courteous, but will avoid “visiting” with players during the game. Carelessly placing an arm on a player’s shoulder or around his/her waist tends to destroy respect. Loafing in the coach’s office or carrying on long conversations with the coach before, during or after the game may give the appearance of favoritism. If conditions warrant a conference, both coaches should be involved. A player should be addressed by number rather than by name. In addressing the captain of a team, do so by title. The quickest way to lose respect of coaches and players is to get the reputation of being a “homer.” All actions should reflect strict and total impartiality.


1.2.7 Decisiveness: Quick and positive decisions are essential, especially on the close ones. Timidity or hesitation causes a lack of confidence. Self-confidence can be developed. Many decisions can be questioned no matter how they are called. Hesitation in making a decision tends to make everyone waver. The practice of making speedy decisions must be habitual. However, officials should not be hasty when there is a question at the table regarding scoring, timing, disqualification, fouls, the alternating-possession arrow, etc. Take time to try and prevent any mistake or error from being made.


1.2.8 Teamwork: Allegiance to fellow officials implies an active, intelligent desire to carry out the intent of the rules by a well-coordinated team. Each official must be willing to share the responsibility and must avoid attempts to shift the blame. Do not negatively comment about a game worked by another official and never criticize a fellow official when you are a “fan.”


1.2.9 Thick-Skinned: An official cannot be overly sensitive about criticism. If the official has a chip on the shoulder, a surly attitude or a short temper, officiating will be difficult. Most spectator comments during a heated contest should not be taken seriously. It is often a rebellion against authority in general, rather than against an individual in particular. In nearly all cases, critical comments are forgotten after there has been time for reflection, Everyone connected with a team is somewhat biased and prejudiced in favor of any advantageous call and against


1.2.10 Go Unnoticed: It is not desirable to “show-off” in making a call. The official should remain in the background. It is not the officiating, but the game that is the attraction. An official should not be overbearing, but should not tolerate disrespect from any player. The official should not attempt to “coach” players.


1.2.11 Calmness: Arguments with a player, coach or team representative do not settle anything. After a game, if a coach asks what happened on a certain play, to convince the coach he/she is wrong. An easy way to end the conversation is to your explanation should be the extent of the conversation. It is unprofitable to try, say, “well coach, if it happened the way you say it did, I just missed it. “Never argue with a player or coach and never lose your temper.


1.2.12 Prevention: An official must anticipate when trouble is brewing. The presence of an official in whom the players have confidence will prevent most of these situations. Being in a position to observe any questionable contact will go a long way toward preventing such contact. When a player attempts to bait an opponent, it is a circumstance that requires immediate attention before it gets out of hand. In some borderline cases, the official can get best results by calling the matter to the attention of the team captain so that the captain can handle the unnatural conduct. The captain should be made to understand that he/she can stop the problem without penalty. The only way the official can stop it is to penalize.


1.2.13 Maintain Control: Clean, fast play is a credit to any team. However, attempts to draw fouls or to go the limit on crowding and disconcerting an opponent have no place in the game. The officials must not tolerate it. Decisive action in calling fouls when rough play begins will avoid later loss of control, which often results when warnings are used as a substitute for penalties.


1.2.14 Integrity: An official’s word is his/her bond. If you accept a game, be there-on time. If there is some good reason for cancellation, confer with the contest manager and present the facts honestly. Let the manager make the offer to release you if he/she desires to do so.


1.2.15 Courage: A courageous official will be quick to call violations and/or fouls when they occur. Do this consistently without regard to the score, position on the floor, whom it may hurt or how it may affect future relations with the school or coach. Regardless of pressure from fans, coaches or players, the official must go “straight down the middle” and have the courage to call them as they occur. Your honesty must be above reproach or you would not be an official in the first place. It takes real courage to resist pressure and intimidation. To a large extent, the personal reputation of an official will be built on this.


1.2.16 Cardinal Principles: The following items are specific goals and personal attributes that every good official will strive to attain and accepted procedures which should be followed

  1. Have an understanding of the rules and approved mechanics.
  2. Be on time. Do not cause the contest manager to worry.
  3. Be prepared physically and mentally.
  4. Wear the prescribed uniform in good condition.
  5. Carefully check scoring and timing facilities before each half and at intervals during each half.
  6. Maintain good posture while on the floor and administer your duties in a businesslike manner.
  7. Be professional with fellow officials.
  8. Know the official signals and give them promptly and decisively. Never use unauthorized signals.
  9. Be pleasant but firm and alert.
  10. Do not fraternize with coaches or fans before, during or after the game.
  11. Attempt to maintain poise and calmness at all times.
  12. Do not smoke or use tobacco on or in the vicinity of the court.
  13. Do not consume alcoholic beverages at any time on the day of and prior to a contest.
  14. Do not make any report that might be used by a future opponent as a scouting report.
  15. Do not wear jewelry during the game.

NFHS Basketball Officiating Principles


1.3.1 Licensing/Registering: The first step for an official who desires to work high school games is to become licensed with his/her own state high school association. No interschool game should be scheduled until this has been done.

Licensing assures that the official will receive all needed supplies and full information as to interpretations and policies in the given state.


1.3.2 Rules Study: Complete knowledge of the rules is essential. There is no substitute for rules study. The rules should be reviewed well before the opening of the season, and this study should be continued up to the final game. Knowing all phases of the rules at the end of the season is no guarantee that it will carry over to the next season. Discussion of situations in small groups is effective.

Writing the comprehensive tests in the material provided by each state association is excellent training in analysis and in the building of confidence. Even the most complicated situations can be separated into basic rules statements to eliminate argument and doubt.


1.3.3 Proper Mechanics: Good officiating mechanics and techniques will be promoted by frequent study of this official’s manual. Knowing and maintaining correct positions on the court is important in administering the rules.


1.3.4 Attend Meetings: Rules interpretation meetings and officials’ clinics sponsored by a state association or by local officials’ groups should be attended regularly. Much can also be gained from informal meetings of small groups of officials living in a given area. Rulings for controversial situations that may arise should be requested from the state association office. The state association will either have the proper interpretation or will secure it promptly.


1.3.5 Experience: A beginning official must gain officiating experience. For this purpose, the official should not hesitate to accept intramural level games or recreation league games without too much concern about the fee.


1.3.6 Advancement: Most officials strive to advance. Either the official improves and advances or he/she goes backward. If the state association has a promotion plan, efforts should be made to move constantly toward the highest rating.


1.3.7 Obtaining a schedule: An officiating schedule is to an official as patients are to a physician. Much like a doctor, an official does not “drum up” business. Under no conditions should an official ever “solicit” games. However, unless the state association’s policies are to the contrary, a beginning official or one new in a community might properly send to coaches, athletic directors or league offices a postal card or form letter stating in brief the official’s name, address, telephone number, experience and qualifications. Trading games with coaches or athletic directors, “begging for games,” or offering to take games at a lower fee are all beneath the dignity of the officiating profession. Working up a schedule is one of those situations where the “job seeks the individual.”


1.3.8 Contracts: Contracts for games should be in writing to avoid any misunderstanding as to terms or dates. Many state and local associations provide printed contract forms. Use of these assures orderliness and avoids misunderstandings as to dates, fees and conditions. Every attempt should be made to have something in writing. Be prompt and businesslike in answering requests and in making reports. Confirm a date in writing. About a week before the contest, send a card or note to the contest manager so he/she will know you will be there.

Mention the time of the game. If a driver or companion is to accompany you, give this information.


1.3.9 Reports: Reports to the state association office should be made promptly. If rating reports are used, send them. If there is any irregularity or unsporting act in connection with the game, your testimony is needed by those who are responsible for maintaining athletic competition as a respected part of a good school program. Deviation from the time schedule, in proper policing of the court, in sanitation or in treatment of guests are evidence of poor administration.

Remedial action is possible only when the proper authorities have all the necessary information.



1.4.1: Rules fundamentals are clearly outlined in descriptive material. When these are thoroughly understood, the chance of making an error in decision on some infrequent and uncommon situation is greatly reduced. All of the rules are based on these few fundamentals. Mastery of them enables the official to base the ruling on logic rather than on memory of the proper ruling for each of the hundreds of situations that may arise. The basketball fundamentals are:

  1. While the ball remains live, a loose ball always remains in control of the team whose player last had control, unless it is a try or tap for goal.
  2. Neither a team nor any player is ever in control during a dead ball or jump ball, or when the ball is in flight during a try or tap for goal.
  3. A goal is made when a live ball enters the basket from above and remains in or passes through unless canceled by a throw-in violation or a player control foul.
  4. The jump ball, the throw-in and the free throw are the only methods of getting a deal ball live.
  5. Neither the dribble nor traveling rule operates during the jump ball, throw in or free throw.
  6. It is not possible for a player to travel during a dribble.
  7. The only infractions for which points are awarded are goaltending by the defense or basket interference at the opponent’s basket.
  8. There are three types of violations, and each has its own penalty.
  9. A ball in flight has the same relationship to frontcourt or backcourt, or inbounds or out of bounds, as when it last touched a person or the floor.
  10. Personal fouls always involve illegal contact and occur during a live ball, except a common foul by or on an airborne shooter.
  11. The penalty for a single flagrant personal or flagrant technical foul is two free throws and disqualification plus awarding the ball to the opponents for a throw-in,
  12. Penalties for fouls are administered in the order in which the fouls occurred.
  13. A live-ball foul by the offense (team in control or last in control if the ball is loose) or the expiration of time for a quarter or extra period, causes the ball to become dead immediately, unless the ball is in flight during a try or tap for goal. The ball also becomes dead when a player-control foul occurs.
  14. The first or only free-throw violation by the offense causes the ball to become dead immediately.
  15. A double personal foul involves only personal fouls and only two opponents; no free throws are awarded and the ball is put in play at the point of interruption. A double technical foul involves only technical fouls and only two opponents; no free throws are awarded, and the ball is put in play at the point of interruption.
  16. The official’s whistle seldom causes the ball to become dead (it is already dead).
  17. “Continuous motion” applies both to tries and taps for field goals and free throws, but it has no significance unless there is a foul by the defense during the interval which begins when the habitual trying or tapping movement starts and ends when the ball is clearly in flight.
  18. Whether the clock is running or is stopped has no influence on the counting of a goal,
  19. A ball that touches the front face or edges of the backboard is treated the same as touching the floor inbounds, except that, when the ball touches the thrower’s backboard, it does not constitute a part of a dribble.
  20. If the ball goes through the basket before or after a player-control foul, the goal shall not be counted.

NFHS Basketball Officiating Principles


1.5.1: The uniform shall be clean and well kept. State association patches or emblems shall be worn as specified. The official uniform consists of the following

  1. Belt: If worn, it shall be black.
  2. Jacket: Navy blue or black, all crew the same, if worn. Recommended for wear prior to game.
  3. Shirt: Standard black/white vertically striped
  4. Short sleeves-approximately 8 inches in length; with black cuffs
  5. “V” neck shirt shall be worn and an undershirt should not be visible
  6. Worn inside pants
  7. Entire crew shall wear same design and style
  8. Shoes: Primarily black with black laces.
  9. Socks: Entirely black.
  10. Pants: Entirely black, with no flares.
  11. Whistle: Black lanyard-recommend black plastic whistle; if metal, it shall have rubber cap-carry a spare.



1.6.1: The following pregame conference is designed for a crew of three but can be adjusted accordingly for a crew of two

  1. Review New Rules
  2. Review New Points of Emphasis
  3. Review New Mechanics Changes
  4. Review Previous Year’s Rules Changes
  5. Conference with Bench officials: Equipment; special court considerations new rules.
    1. Scorer: Reporting; good eye contact; substitution for disqualified/injured player; give disqualification information immediate confirmation that game is over and there are no problems
    2. Timer: Time-outs, interval for disqualification or injury

Game Management

    1. Review all dead-ball management situations.
    2. The guidelines regarding hand-checking, post play, illegally bumping off-the-ball coverage must be emphasized in the pregame meeting before every game
    3. Stay consistent as a crew throughout the game
    4. Stay with the play after you have called a foul or a violation
    5. Know game situations

Clock Management: Check game clock; stalling and stopping; be aware of mistakes/malfunctions.

Basic Rotation/Floor Coverage

    1. On-/off-ball coverage/areas of intersection
    2. Referee your new area of responsibility immediately
    3. Exception: If the Center has started the five-second closely guarded count and the Lead has rotated to the Center side, the Lead needs to continue to referee in the lane until the Center stops the five-second count. Be patient in starting the five-second count.
    4. Lead may use accelerated pace in rotation-doesn’t have to finish
    5. All officials in front court before Lead rotates
    6. Free Throw Coverage

Lead Position

    1. In transition-wide-angle (2-3 steps inside arc) or close-down (1 step outside lane) position
    2. May step into paint-area extended one or two steps on drives from Center’s side or down middle; primary coverage for Center; secondary coverage for Lead
    3. Primary focus is post play

Center Position

    1. Drive to basket, referee play all the way to the basket
    2. Includes primary, secondary and all defenders
    3. Move to improve angles of coverage: don’t get too low (close to end line); don’t get too high (two trails)

Trail Position

    1. Look into the lane when Lead picks up ball at the free-throw line extended and below
    2. Referee where Lead cannot. Stay wide. Move to improve angles of coverage
    3. FT-At 28-foot mark unless players in backcourt

Double Whistles: Double whistles belong to primary. Release.


    1. Competitive or potential match-up concerns
    2. Help calls: out of bounds, 2-VS. 3-point shot, tipped ball, CUulluLiailuot score
    3. Signals
    4. Shooters
    5. Warnings to coaches
    6. Time-outs: get together, especially late in the game-quarter-ending situations
    7. Last-second shot

Challenging Calls/Situations

    1. Jump ball and held balls
    2. Illegal Screens
    3. Traveling
    4. Out-of-bounds
    5. Tripping
    6. Illegal or excessive contact
    7. Secondary defenders
    8. Double personal/technical fouls; intentional; flagrant; fights
    9. Consider intentional fouls on fast-break situations
    10. Always know the status of the ball

Crew Discussion

    1. Rules questions/clarifications
    2. Previous game situations
    3. Referee your primary coverage area when ball goes away from you
    4. Patient whistle: blocked shots, rebound situations, calls out of your primary
    5. Concentrate and focus throughout the entire game

Conference/State Requirements

    1. Uniform
    2. Reports

NFHS Basketball Officiating Principles


1.7.1 Guidelines for Two Conferences

  1. 0:15:00 Officials enter court area and go directly to positions
  2. 0:12:00 At Center Court area
  3. Referee will introduce or cause introductions
  4. U1 and U2 will get respective team captains
  5. Discuss sporting behavior expectations
  6. To Team captains: team color, proper basket, other appropriate items.
  7. 0:10:00
  8. Referee will go to scorer’s table and check scorebook(s), talk with scorer & timer, and check game balls
  9. U1 and U2 return opposite side
  10. 0:01:30 Officials will go to area of scorer’s table and
  11. Greet head coaches, address sporting behavior expectations, and check on legality of player equipment.
  12. Stand at attention for National Anthem
  13. Remove jacket during introductions of players
  14. Prepare to begin game
  15. If both teams return to dressing room and re-enter court area in time for National Anthem and/or introduction of players, officials may relocate to the scorer’s table area and wait or, retire to dressing room area and return as teams return.


1.7.2 Guidelines for a Single Conference

  1. 0:15:00 Officials enter court and go directly to positions
  2. 0:12:00 Referee goes to the table and checks scorebook(s), brief scorer and timer, check game ball
  3. 0:10:00 Remaining official(s) go across the floor join referee, greet the visiting coach, then greet the home coach.
  4. Referee goes to area in front of scorer’s table
  5. U1 and U2 get respective coaches and captains
  6. Referee does introductions of officials, coaches and captain(s)
  7. Referee conducts pregame briefing to include discussing legal equipment and sporting behavior with coaches and captain(s). Also discuss team color, proper basket, other appropriate items.
  8. Return to original positions
  9. If teams return to dressing room leave court, remove jackets return to original position when teams come out, stand at attention for National


1.8.1 When an alternate official is used, his/her duties shall include, but are not limited to the following

  1. Be present for pregame conference. Wear game uniform and jacket and be prepared mentally and physically to officiate in case of an injury, illness or other emergencies.
  2. Be seated at the scorer’s table as close to the scorer and timer as possible. Serve as an aid to both the scorer and timer.
  3. Keep a written record of all fouls called, the number of the player fouling, the number of the shooter, the number of free throws and the time that the foul occurred.
  4. Serve as an aid to game officials in case there is a scoring or timing error, a substitution error, a correctable error, etc.
  5. Your role is as a “working observer.” Use a data sheet to make appropriate notes and monitor any irregularities in order to report to the referee — do not make any rulings.

NFHS Basketball Rules Interpretations – 2018-19

The interps are out and we have some gripes! Not about the content, but of the language used to communicate them. This become ‘law’ in their nature. Why doesn’t NFHS take more care in the creation and communication? Too much to ask?

Example #1

nfhs rules interpretations 2018

This is such sloppy language! Yes, the official shall start a 10-second count, but that count doesn’t necessarily relate to only the player holding the ball. A1 (and therefore the ball) has backcourt status. What if they dribble maintaining backcourt status? What if they pass to a teammate in the backcourt? Shall the official continue their 10-second count? Yes. Yes they shall.

NFHS rules interpretations 2018

Throws the ball ‘from the sideline?’ Well, then clearly it is a throw-in correct? It appears no. Why include that language? Does that make things clearer? No! Does anything about the language ‘A1 throws the ball from the sideline, near the division line communicate they are inbounds in the back court? No.

It is just disappointing that this official communication that will be used by officials is prepared so poorly. We all have to be better.

NFHS Basketball Rules Interpretations – 2018-19


A1 is dribbling the ball in frontcourt near the division line when B1 taps the ball away. The ball rolls into the backcourt where A2 is standing. A2 picks up the ball while in backcourt and starts a dribble.

RULING: Legal play. The ball rolling on the floor when it crosses the division line has backcourt status; therefore, either the offense or the defense can recover the ball. (9-9-1 EXCEPTION)


A1 is straddling the division line when the ball is deflected by B1 into the backcourt. A1 is able to reach out and take possession of the ball while still straddling the division line.

RULING: Legal. A1 is in the backcourt and maintains that status when she takes possession of the deflected ball. Because A1 is in the backcourt, the official must start a 10-second count and maintain the count as long as the player is in the backcourt and in possession of the ball. (9-9-1)


A1 throws a ball from the sideline, near the division line. A2 catches the ball while straddling the division line, fumbles the ball into the frontcourt and recovers the ball with one foot still in the backcourt.

RULING: Violation by A2. While in player and team control in backcourt, a player shall not cause the ball to go from backcourt to frontcourt and return to backcourt, without the ball touching a player in the frontcourt, such that he or a teammate is the first to touch it in the backcourt. (4-21, 9-9-2)


Players scramble for the ball with A1 touching the ball and the boundary line.

RULING: A1 has created a violation by touching the boundary line and the ball at the same time, causing the ball to be out-of-bounds. Team B shall be given the ball at the spot nearest to the violation. (7-1- 1, 7-1-2, 7-2-2, 9-3-1)


The ball is thrown from Team A’s own end line on a throw-in towards the division line. Offensive player A1 deflects the ball into the backcourt.

RULING: The ball may be recovered in backcourt by the offensive team without creating a violation. (9-9-1)


A1 has tucked the bottom of his/her shorts into the tights being worn.

RULING: Illegal. The referee shall not allow the player to enter the game or direct the player to leave the game until the shorts are removed from inside the tights. After making the correction, the player may re-enter the game at the appropriate time for a substitution. The uniform should be worn as the manufacturer intended it to be. (3-5-5)


Substitute A6 reports to enter the game to replace A1. A5, already in the game, is wearing a beige compression sleeve on her/his arm and leg. A6 is wearing a black headband and wristbands.

RULING: A6 is not allowed to enter because the rule requires all teammates to wear the same allowable color sleeves, headbands and wristbands. No penalty is involved. A6 simply cannot participate until the color restrictions are corrected. (3-5-3)


A loose ball is on the floor and A1 dives onto the floor and secures the ball while on her/his stomach. A1 then (a) rolls over, sits up and passes the ball; (b) while on her/his stomach passes the ball to a teammate.

RULING: Illegal in (a) to roll over from the stomach; (b) legal action for the ball to be passed from that position. (4-44-5b)


During warm-ups, the officials notice that some players have rolled the waistband on their shorts. What actions should be taken by the officials, if any, at this time?

RULING: During the warm-up period, the referee should notify the coach of the infractions and ask that they be corrected immediately. If the corrections are not made and players attempt to enter the game with rolled waistbands, those players should not be allowed to enter the game prior to correcting the issue. If player(s) in the game have rolled waistband(s), they shall be directed to leave the game and may not re-enter until the next opportunity to substitute. No penalty is involved. The game should not be held-up to allow for the correction. (3-3-5, 3-5-5)


The ball supplied by the home team does not meet the description of a ball with a deeply-pebbled, granulated surface and does not have the NFHS Authenticating Mark applied.

RULING: The referee shall make the decision on whether the ball meets the specifications to be used for the contest. The referee may select a ball that meets the specifications, even if it is one from the visiting team. (1- 12-1c)

NFHS Basketball new rules and points of emphasis 2018-19.

NFHS Points of Emphasis 2018

NFHS Basketball new rules and points of emphasis 2018-19.

When new points of emphasis are released we need to embrace what the NFHS is trying to accomplish. We also need to incorporate what’s appropriate into our game and improve our officiating along the way. when we’re looking at points of emphasis from the National Federation of high school it’s important to remember these points of emphasis are communication to all the stakeholders in the game: school administrators athletic department administrators coaches players officials officials associations etc. They are for all stakeholders. Some of them are focused on non-officials.


Here is our video (long) on new rules and Points of Emphasis 2018-19.

Play examples and breakdown start at about the 18:00 mark.

Concussion recognition and risk minimization

this year there’s a focus on concussion recognition and risk minimization. This is focused on coaches and ADs in handling, properly, the safety of their players. it’s not a reflection necessarily on officials. We have a responsibility to alert coaches when we feel it’s possible that a player has suffered a possible concussion. hitting their head hard on the floor. hitting their head on another player’s knee or elbow. etc. We need to alert the coaches so that their training can come into play if we a see any exhibition of concussion-like symptoms from any players on the court again we need to alert coaches if we have concussion-like symptoms. we are to direct the player to leave the game, passing the responsibility for properly handling the player’s safety from there. we need those coaches to properly handle the players. that’s a point of emphasis for coaches and administrators proper handling of their players with possible concussions.

Skin infections and communicable diseases

Obviously this belongs in the purview of administrators, athletic directors, coaches. the way their players handle their hygiene etc again it’s not a factor for us officials.

Point of emphasis (coaches) responsibility for proper uniform and apparel

Coaches are now responsible to know and enforce proper uniform and equipment. this is directed not at us as basketball officials. we already know the rules. we’re already handling them. this is an emphasis to shift responsibility for understanding proper uniform and equipment rules on to the coach and have them embrace their role in the process. let’s be clear the existing rule code adequately addresses the requirements but must be understood by coaches and players and properly applied by contest officials. We need to do our job consistently but coaches and players are responsible now for understanding those rules and restrictions on their uniform and equipment.

“It is the coach’s role to know the rules allowances and restrictions.” This POE shifts it onto them and not necessarily just on to us to be the Fashion Police. it is the officials role to monitor the players and the uniform. this would obviously begins in pregame warmups. we want to take care of as much as we can pre-game. warmup shirts come off and now there’s new evidence that we have to explore. substitutes are coming into the game — we need to evaluate prior to their entry into the game whether they are legal etc. we do that already.

Let’s understand that there are no new rules regarding uniforms and equipment. “if that isn’t possible then proper penalties must be levied whether it be against the player or the coach dependent upon the rule.” If it is an illegal uniform, and a uniform is clearly defined by rule, that’s a direct technical foul on the head coach. there is no penalty on anybody for illegal equipment. if a player is illegally equipped with mis-colored arm sleeve, mis-colored headband, improper t-shirt, wearing jewelry, etc, that player shall be directed to leave the game. They can repair their situation and then they are eligible to play. there is no penalty by rule that we can enforce on those players or that coach for equipment violations. 

New rules for 2018

congratulations! there are no new rules for 2018.

it’s important to keep that in mind what do we have: new ball regulations for 2019. deeply pebbled, channels etc. that take effect in 2019, so are there are no new regulations on the for 2018.

there is a clarification about an erroneous backcourt rules interpretation from 2007. we get documentation that looks like a new backcourt rule! there’s rules book language about backcourt plays. understand that it is specifically addressing one erroneous rules to interpretation from 2007 there are no new rules regarding backcourt violations. everything’s the same. Don’t get caught up and rethink and your understanding of backcourt.

We will cover this play specifically so we understand what this verbiage is about one single play. there are no new rules regarding backcourt violations.

Clarification about screeners needing to be in order to be legal must be established their screen on the court. if they have a foot on the line out-of-bounds they are by rule not in a legal screening position. This is a simple clarification. There are no new rules regarding screening.

POE for Officials: Traveling, Loose Ball Rough Play, Guarding/Verticality, & Professionalism

Points of emphasis for officials 2018. traveling is a point of emphasis. rough play during loose ball. understanding loose ball scenarios  and enforcing penalties for illegal contact. guarding principles and verticality. this is an essential part of what we do as basketball officials. we have to understand guarding principles and verticality. that’s step one in the whole process. NFHS says let’s review let’s get better. Finally, professionalism. the language that we use. the way that we communicate with all the stakeholders in the game.

POE: Traveling

The problem is there are too many inaccurate rulings. more emphasis is needed in finding the pivot foot. officials need to know understand fully the rules and restrictions about traveling. here’s the heart of the matter. “with the advent of popular moves such as the Euro step officials at times appear to call infractions that are not violations because they look funny but at the same time we miss violations that should be called they the player did travel” 

The accuracy of callis is the problem. Too often travelling is called when it’s legal and is not called when it’s illegal. After coming to a stop and establishing a pivot foot, a pivot foot may be lifted but not returned to the floor before the ball is released on the pass or try for goal. if the player jumps neither foot may be returned to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal. here’s a quick tidbit knowing the rules were better allow officials to administer the rules related to traveling. that is a true statement!

POE: Guarding and Verticality

Understanding what legal guarding position is absolutely essential and understanding the principle of verticality. This is the bread and butter of what we do as basketball officials: officiate whether a player is legal when they guard or not.

POE: rough play on loose balls

Concussions are a focus for NFHS they want to reduce injuries in the game of basketball. they want to reduce injuries by reducing rough play that leads to injuries. addressing rough play involves properly penalizing illegal contact in loose ball situations. that’s our point of emphasis. the committee feels that with these reminders excessive physical contact while recovering a loose ball can be properly administered and prevent situations from escalating into more egregious acts. The rules about recovery of the ball require constant review to ensure that acts are not deemed as violations that are in fact legal such as sliding with the ball. we’re concentrating on possession of the ball players being hindered or obstructed from a legal path to the ball. if a loose ball is possessed simultaneously by opponents blow the whistle immediately.  if a player is impeded by an opponent rule a foul immediately.

POE: Professionalism

We want to examine, individually, all of our interaction with game stakeholders. we arrive at a venue. the athletic director lets us into the coach’s room or our changing area. our interactions with that person professionalism at all times. game administration. we come out onto the floor. we identify our game administrator. we’re gonna ask them where they’ll be during the game so that we can come to them with any issues with the crowd. we don’t want to interact directly with the crowd or any issues around the court that can be handled by the game administrator. that’s their role. We’ll introduce ourselves to them. we’ll alert our partners to who they are where they’ll be etc.  our interactions with them are professional. table personnel are part of our crew. we need to be professional with them. there can be frustrations related to their competence sometimes but again we remain professional. we elevate the game.

With coaches, we just want to take the high road and be professional. we’re professional with our language.  an emphasis on rules book language with our communications, so that again, we can achieve a level of consistency as a group of officials. how we present information to the stakeholders in the game. we want to have a rules book emphasis on our language scoring the goal as opposed to counting the basket end line is that a baseline division line instead of midcourt line etc,  just basics.

Player equipment review.

Understand the different sets (classifications) of equipment. Undershirt. the player is wearing an undershirt. undershirt is an extension of the jersey. I’m wearing a red jersey I must wear a red undershirt. that’s the color restriction. red undershirt red jersey. I’m wearing a white jersey, undershirt must be white. black jersey, undershirt must be black. simple. predominant color of the Jersey, undershirt the same.

Headbands, Wristbands, Sleeves & Tights

This equipment is all in the same ‘package’ . National Federation of high school: all must be the same color. Consider all of this equipment to be in a ‘package’. everything in that package must be the same color. those colors may be: black, white or beige plus the predominant color of the jersey. very straightforward. we need to be consistent about this. headband wristband sleeves sleeves on the leg tights. that’s all part of the package. all has to be the same color for both the player and all the team members who participate in the game. everybody’s got to be the same color.


in addition we have braces. I’m wearing a knee brace a knee support brace if it’s a brace by rule there’s no color restriction. it’s not part of the package. Braces by rule — not part of the package; no color restriction.


what’s left headgear. I’m wearing one of those soft padded things on my head. I’m wearing some sort of protective thing. I’m wearing a religious headgear or cultural headgear. a turban or a head wrap of some sort. these are not part of the package. they do not have color restriction depending on your local regulatory body they have been approved not approved etc. but they are not part of the package!

what’s in the package? let’s review: headband, wrist band, arm sleeve, leg sleeve, tights. all part of the package. same color for each player same color for each team member who participates. simple. we need to be consistent on that.

The take away again for proper uniform and apparel: this is now the coach’s responsibility. they need to embrace that role. “the committee’s left to him couldn’t conclude that the existing rule code adequately addresses the requirements.” there are no rules changes.  “but must be understood by coaches and players and properly applied by contest officials.” now that we’re shifting the responsibility for understanding onto the coach, we need to as in our role help both coaches understand the rules and restrictions. Be accurate, but also by being very consistent. this crew comes in. next night there’s another crew. next night there’s another crew and they were all consistent in their interpretation of the rules about uniform and equipment.

Play Breakdown

Rules clarification: one solitary backcourt play.

The rules clarification for this year about backcourt involves involves one single play that was improperly interpreted by the committee in 2007 as being a violation we’re gonna look at that play this play is now by rule legal so the NFHS said you know what we have this interpretation it was wrong we’re gonna fix it by including an exception into the rule but recognize that the rules have not changed here’s our play this is a legal play in 2007 NFHS said this play is illegal and this is a backcourt violation on red let’s look at the play. When we look at backcourt plays let’s go through our process our checklist we have team control by red they are holding or dribbling the ball in the backcourt the ball is passed and contacted by a player with frontcourt status white this means the ball now has frontcourt status by rule again these are the basics the red player with backcourt status jumps and catches the ball in the air now giving it backward status in 2007 NFHS had an interpretation this play is now illegal we’re gonna rule that this player was both the last to touch in the frontcourt and the first to touch in the backcourt simultaneously by catching the ball it was convoluted logic and has been corrected. this play is now legal critical component to understand is even though there’s language being expressed by NFHS about back court rules and restrictions this is the only play that is being addressed this one play this play is legal there are no rules changes regarding backcourt violations don’t get hung up and thinking that there are.

Loose Ball Situations — Rough Play

ball is loose black player lands on top of the white player that’s a play we need to address. players are allowed to equally pursue the ball but if they’re with their body they are playing the other player and have rough play and sue that needs to be addressed that plays pretty subtle this one’s more obvious so loose ball team control white the white player plays the red player going after the red player with illegal contact that’s what we needs to be addressed. so in this situation we have white with team control this would be a treat team control foul on white.

Verticality plays — 5 example plays

Play 1

White 24 has a spot on the floor jumps straight up is actually yielding just a little bit contact occurs this is a legal play now white turned her body allowed by rule this is a legal play.

Play 2

the principle of verticality applies. legal. white defending watch the feet has a spot on the floor 34 goes up legal. white is strong. red runs into a brick wall watch the feet that’s his spot legal.

Play 3

straight up. yielding. the displacement is ruled as incidental legal.

Play 4

We’ve had three legal plays now we have a foul. what’s the difference? note the defensive player goes from a single spot on the floor from A to B causing contact. moving towards the opponent. illegal contact. foul.

Play 5

we’ve all seen this play. you got the illegal Chuck and then reflexively the hands up coach I was legal I was legal

Guarding: Block/Charge — 6 plays

Evaluating the legality of guarding is our bread-and-butter. when we look at block charge plays or guarding plays obviously the first thing we need to do is establish whether a player had legal guarding position. legal guarding position is clearly defined by rule as a player with two feet on the floor torso facing their opponent. so we’re gonna look at that they’ve obtained legal guarding position they can maintain legal guarding position by moving laterally obliquely or back legal.

An opponent’s defensive position must be established prior to the player going airborne. Our basic framework for a legal guarding position

Play 1

step number one in the process is the player legal does he have two feet on the floor torso facing the opponent yes. this player has legal guarding position. “But his feet are wide!” Are feet part of the definition of legal guarding position? No! torso contact on this play. a block is ruled upon reflection looks like a charge.

Play 2

Before we see this play let’s just remember NFHS wants to reduce injuries reduce concussions reduce rough play. let’s see if this play needs a whistle yes it needs a whistle we’re looking at the defender on this passing crash before the player goes airborne does he establish a legal position does he have two feet on the floor facing the opponent prior to the player going airborne yes torso contact should be a charge needs a whistle in any event.

Play 3

note state-championship 18 seconds into the first period excellent is the player legal two feet on the floor facing his opponent yes what is he allowed to do on a dribbler he can his his objective is to move his torso into the path of the player that’s his objective that’s the objective of guarding moving your torso does he legally move his torso watch his feet Laterally, obliquely or back that’s our judgment on a play like this.

Play 4

secondary defender block charge play so what we want to do is evaluate is she legal does she have two feet on the floor facing her opponent is she there prior to the player going airborne two feet on the floor facing her opponent player yet to go airborne yes torso contact yes charge yes

Play 5

secondary defender play two feet on the floor facing his opponent arge you two feet on the floor facing her opponent prior to airborne close all signs point to calling correct yeah close.

Play 6

that’s that’s simply the formula we’re looking for is the player legal is their torso contact the player is not there legally we have a block if the player is there legally and we have torso contact we have a charge that’s our process for evaluation.


we’re going to look at many different traveling plays here again point of emphasis is accuracy is a problem legal plays are being called illegal illegal plays are not having a whistle. when we look at these travelling plays first thing we’re gonna do always is establish the pivot foot. that’s our step one in our process as officials for evaluating legality.

Play 1

in this case left foot pivot foot clip pretty obvious that’s a legal move that’s what we want in our game.

Play 2

left foot pivot. what do we have here layered dribbles picks up the ball her left foot is her pivot foot correct we can agree on that this ball is in the leads primary the lead is officiating this primary matchup player lifts their left foot legal and returns it to the floor illegal violation ruled call correct.

Play 3

Similar play. left foot pivot. lifts the left foot releases the ball this is a play that “looks funny” but what we need to do is understand the rule on the play and not just react to “looks funny” we want to choose to rule accurately. here’s a sequence of plays this player alights off of one foot and lands simultaneously with two feet this is a legal play that’s going to be the basis for the next couple of plays

Play 4

jumps off one lands on two simultaneously that’s legal.

Play 5

jumps off one lands on two but what’s different jumps off the left foot legal land simultaneously with two legal everything’s good but then lifts a foot and puts it back down illegal.

Play 6

Right foot pivot jumps off one lands with two simultaneously a legal play jumps to shoot is fouled but a erroneous traveling violation is ruled.

Play 7

Euro step plays. holding the ball left foot pivot jumps off the right foot. legal play.

Play 8

a more skilled example. important to remember with Euro step plays that our brain potentially gets tricked.  the player changes speed dramatically. That’s the point of the move. When we perceive them really slow down, our brain says “oh wait a minute something funny has happened.” we have to fight through that and just judge the footwork on it’s merits.

Play 9

Let’s remember that in loose ball plays a player can slide with the ball. they can slide any distance. once they have stopped sliding there are restrictions: they can sit up but they cannot roll over nor may they attempt to stand. they can  pass, shoot, dribble, call timeout. all those things are available to them.

Play 10

similar play. a little more deceptive on this play as the player has twisted her body but that’s a legal play she has not rolled over she basically just reached behind her collected the ball and brought it in front of her.

Play 11

simple can’t jump lift your pivot foot and then initiate a dribble one of the basics.

Play 12

a player holding the ball is not allowed to stand or attempt to get up. this player does. The official doesn’t react! one of the other important parts of the point of emphasis is recognizing how our position affects our ability to make proper rulings. in this case the official is too close to the play. We call this “looking in the well.” when you are looking down towards your feet it’s difficult to have accurate rulings.

Play 13

A look funny play let’s establish the pivot foot jumps off.

Play 14

A look funny play let’s establish the pivot foot holding the ball left foot pivot right foot slides legal puts a hand down legal we can put our we can that’s the one thing we can put on the floor legally.

Play 15

holding the ball legal play similar right foot pivot elbow touches the floor illegal again close proximity by the official may be a factor in terms of judging the play from here it’s obvious.

Play 16

post play let’s look for pivot looks like we have a right foot pivot legal little hop holds the ball hand under the ball returns the pivot foot to the floor that’s traveling before the foul.


New rules for 2018 the great news is there are no new rules for 2018. there’s simply two clarifications one about an erroneous back court call. there is no change in backcourt rules. Also,screeners must be on the court to be legal a simple clarification. coaches now have a point of emphasis that they are responsible for knowing the rules and regulations regarding uniforms and equipment. we’re gonna help them but they need to embrace that rule.

For officials we have four areas of concern.  The first is traveling. the second is illegal contact during loose ball situations potential rough play being eliminated. Also reviewing of guarding principles and verticality absolutely an essential of what we do as basketball officials. Finally, looking to examine our level of professionalism and upgrade it in any area that we can. Especially in our communication with stakeholders: school administrators, athletic directors, site administrators, coaches, table personnel, partners. having a more professional level of language that we use. We simply want to improve.

That completes our look at 2018 look at points of emphasis for NFHS basketball in 2018. looking at the points of emphasis understanding them incorporating them into our game as basketball officials. Have a great season.

How to Set Your Blocks in Arbiter – ArbiterOne [2018]

How to Set Your Blocks in Arbiter 2018 – ArbiterOne

How to set your blocks in Arbiter is essential to any basketball official’s professionalism and accountability. A key part of our responsibility as basketball officials is ensuring that our availability is fully up-to-date. Assignors need to be confident that they can assign games to officials without unneeded turnbacks. Today we will run through how to do a solid preseason setting of blocks in ArbiterOne, the leading assignment software in use today. There are four steps to our approach:

  1. Set blocks for normal working/school hours.
  2. Layer on any known dates when not available.
  3. Take back any dates where there is additional availability.
  4. Refine the blocks by setting a mileage maximum, blocking specific partners, specific teams (coaches), blocking certain zip codes, etc. then finally doing a report to ensure accuracy of our blocks.


The basketball season is just around the corner you can make this the best year of your officiating career by being prepared an on point a great indicator of our professionalism commitment is having our availability accurate and up to date most of us use arbiter so today we cover setting our availability for an entire season stick around hey everybody its Greg Austin with a better official calm or we craft video to help basketball officials get better and to take control of their officiating careers if you haven’t already done so take a moment hit below subscribe and notify so that you don’t miss anything when we produce new content which during the season is two times a week we continue today with another preseason video this one will discuss something that is completely under our control and that is keeping our signing software up to date here in the San Francisco Bay Area I think we use exclusively arbiter many officials rely on arbiter this video will cover arbiter all the all the essentials though can be applied to other assigning software we’re going to get down into three parts our video today the first part we’re going to talk about laying out for the entire season an overlay of our basic availability on a weekly basis so if you work or go to school you have a fundamental schedule that you can apply at the beginning of this season this applies to most people that covers you know Monday through Friday over the course of a season after we do that one layer across the entire season of our availability then we’re going to go back and start adding calendar items that we have we’re going out of town for a two week period I have an event planned I’m not available that night I have commitments every other Tuesday for Cub Scouts or what have you right so we start overlaying block dates on top of that and then finally we’re going to go back through and say okay I’ve given a basic overlay but there are some dates that I want back I want those available to me such as like Martin Luther King normally that would be blocked because I’m not available on Monday but during that holiday there are showcase games throughout the day I want to make myself available let’s say for a 10 or 12 o’clock game so I’m gonna release that date after those overlays of dates then we’ll cover some things that are available via some assign errs including mileage blocks I’ll only travel so far zip code blocks I will not work in that zip code etc etc and so we’ll cover some additional blocks that we could put on it’s our responsibility to keep everything up to date so that when assign errs assign us a game we can accept it as of course doesn’t mean that things don’t crap up life happens emergencies issues health issues I’m sick etc then the signers understand all that we’re gonna go to schedule but we’re gonna do is block dates I’m logged in to an account that only has playoff assignments at the end of the season so I have a blank slate here in terms of my schedule so the basics right obviously I can block a day by clicking block all day and then selecting that date on the calendar it turns red and down below there is now an entry that says this is block now I could say during the basketball season which here in the San Francisco Bay Area is going to run from September 29th I’m not available on any Monday during the season ok going to be blocking all day during this date range on Mondays I will apply that now if we look at the schedule for October it applies that block throughout that date range okay let’s go back now let’s say I want to undo that I’m going to clear all the blocks on Mondays during that day range and those disappear so now we have a clean slate for the season I work I’m not available between 8 a.m. and 4:15 I work Monday through Friday so during this period I’m gonna go Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday now if I apply this block it’ll block part of the day 8 a.m. to 4:15 Monday through Friday during this date range which I’ve set up as being the season let’s apply that each weekday I’ve created a block for when I’m working I’ve done that this is a basic setting that is gonna prevent my assignor from assigning me games when I’m working or until I’m off work now I can layer other blocks on top of this scenario my son’s birthday party is going to be on October 17th I can simply go block all day October 17 what we have on this is two two blocks one on top of the other but one obviously overrides the other from the 17th to the 28th I will be out of town I can go block all day I could set up the date range here and apply it to every day but for just a limited amount of days 14 days let’s say I’m just going to click click click etc on week ends I had don’t have a work schedule but I may have other schedules that are important first of all I could block all day during the season on Sundays maybe you’re a signer also assigns other games that are on Sundays three Sunday during this date range this is my season date range I’m going to block Sundays I will apply that so all Sundays during the season are now blocked just showing a way that we can do that let’s say I’m not available on Saturdays after 5:00 p.m. I want to block part of the day I’m going to set up the date the time range so I’m not available from 5 p.m. until midnight this is on Saturdays during the regular season so I’m blocking part of the day here’s a time range here’s a date range and within that date range only on Saturdays do I want to apply that block The Saturdays fill in if we view a set we want to view our schedule on a Saturday it shows now blocked from 5:00 to midnight that’s cinch there’s a couple of weekend’s where it doesn’t apply during January that Saturday obligation I have is not there I can just simply go to the dates and say okay I’m going to clear that block right I could have you know changed the date range here if it was more extensive just on Saturdays clear blocks these all these tools can be used together early October there’s going to be a weekend birthday party Oh to October I’m going to block all day on the 20th there’s a birthday party and again we’ve got blocks on top of blocks and that’s okay I don’t have to clear the previous block to say hey I’m now blocked out I’m blocked all day on the 27th I’m not available as well there’s a meeting scheduled I have in November on the 20 on the 19th I have a meeting I’m gonna block in December on a Monday I have a meeting on the 3rd etc let’s review we’ve gone in we’ve set up basic blocks of our work schedule on top of that we’ve layered some our weekend schedule let’s say our non-work availability we’ve blocked off dates that we know we’re not available we’ve just layered those on top and now we have a pretty robust basic block schedule showcase games are done around Martin Luther King’s birthday the holiday Monday January 21st okay we’ll go back and we’ll say on Monday January 21st those games occur from maybe 10:00 in the morning right so I know I’m not working that day I want to clear my blocks on the 21st so I can get that high-profile game without restriction okay that’s it for calendar blocks next we’ll be covering just how some assign errs allow you to block on many different levels including sites don’t want to do or I cannot do games at my daughter’s high school it’s a conflict of interest there I want to block that venue I want to block a particular team I have an issue with the coat an ethical issue about I went to school there or I just do not want to do games for that asked partners I can do a partner block there’s a guy I don’t get along with and you know that guy yeah we all know that guy and then there’s travel limits okay this is an important one I’m going to have travel limit during the week it will be based on my place of employment if I have one that’s fixed I can use this strategically only want to do games within a certain radius of that location here in the Bay Area I’ve chosen Alameda as a central location and I could do games within 31 miles of that and what that’s going to do is exclude some locations that traffic will just not allow me to get to without a great deal of stress and risk so I’ve blocked that can make that block really tight if you want or really big on the weekends I do it from my residence the distance is large includes the entire coverage area for this assignor I could set it at 250 and it wouldn’t matter as games are only assigned within this distance on top of that you can also block postal codes there’s a part of the Bay Area that’s super tough for me to get to and I’m just going to block it you’re a signer may allow you one they may allow you to they may allow you five they may allow you an unlimited number this is something that is set by the assignor and if you want to have an overall look at your blocks can view it I’ve blocked this team I don’t have any site blocks I’ve blocked a postal code I’ve blocked a partner I have travel limits during the day I have basic block between 12:00 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. all season long I have some all day blocks included some Mondays and Wednesdays during the regular season I’ve blocked for this assignor alright thanks for watching the video much appreciated videos over here you can check out as well and keep learning how to be a better official something we’re all striving to do and let’s do it together here at a beneficial calm

NFHS: Basketball Points of Emphasis – [2018-19]

NFHS 2018-19 Points of Emphasis

NFHS Basketball Points of Emphasis 2018

NFHS Basketball Points of Emphasis 2018

NFHS Basketball Points of Emphasis 2018


NFHS Basketball Points of Emphasis 2018 — The NFHS Basketball Rules Committee remains concerned with the number of reports of improper uniforms, uniform adornments, and non-compliant accessories being worn by players in games. State associations report that an inordinate amount of time is being spent with interpretations, clarifications, and reminders concerning items worn on both the arms and legs that contradict current rule language. At the same time, there is not unified support according to nationwide questionnaires for either more restrictive or less restrictive rule code changes.

The committee is left to conclude that the existing rule code adequately addresses the requirements, but must be understood by coaches and players, and properly applied by contest officials. The responsibilities in this area are clear:

  • It is the coach’s role to know the rules, allowances, and restrictions, and to ensure the players are properly informed. The head coach, by rule, shall not permit a team member to participate while wearing an illegal uniform. It is therefore incumbent on the coach to be sure the rules and restrictions have been reviewed by the team including and especially, allowable accessories.
  • It is the officials’ role to monitor the players and the uniform. This role begins in pre-game warmups, even when all of the uniform and accessories may not be visible. Vigilance, visual monitoring, and communication with both coaches and players during this time may prevent unfortunate situations and their subsequent penalties. Violations cannot be ignored. When preventative monitoring can prevent a player from entering the game with non-compliance items, those steps should be taken. If that isn’t possible, then proper penalties must be levied, whether it be against the player or the coach (dependent upon the rule).

While it is difficult to stay in front of these issues with an ever-changing marketplace, the rules in place are clear, and if properly applied by all parties, additional measures may not be necessary.


The NFHS Basketball Rules Committee has identified three areas where it feels the rules in place are appropriate for this level of play but need renewed emphasis as the skill level, and the ability of players continues to improve, and players attempt to duplicate actions performed on other levels.

NFHS Basketball Points of Emphasis 2018



At least eight times in the last thirty years, traveling has been a point of emphasis at the high school level. By definition, traveling is moving a foot or feet in any direction more than prescribed limits while holding the ball.

The strategies for properly enforcing the rules require officials to first and foremost, determine that player’s options for the use of a pivot foot. Officials must be in the proper position with a good, wide-angle view of the player’s feet and body.

With the advent of popular moves such as the “euro step,” officials at times appear to call infractions that are not violations because they “look funny” and at the same time, miss violations that should be called. A great deal of this can be solved by reminders concerning what is allowed by the player with his/her pivot foot.

After coming to a stop and establishing a pivot foot, a pivot foot may be lifted, but not returned to the floor, before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal. If the player jumps, neither foot may be returned to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal. The pivot foot may not be lifted before the ball is released to start a dribble.

Knowing the rules will better allow the officials to administer the rules related to traveling.


NFHS Basketball Points of Emphasis 2018


For 2018-19, the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee feels it imperative to remind coaches, officials and players about the restrictions in specific contact situations. Fundamental to each of these is the establishment of a legal guarding position with these reminders: Rule 4-23 defines guarding position.

  • Once established, the defense can adjust to absorb contact or react to play while maintaining that position.
  • Once established and maintained legally, block/charge must be ruled when occurring.
  • Many times, a no call is not appropriate as a determination must be made.
  • A defender does NOT have to remain stationary for a player control foul to occur. After obtaining a legal position, a defender may move laterally, even, diagonally to maintain position but may NOT move toward an opponent.
  • Blocking is illegal personal contact with impedes the progress of an opponent with or without the ball.
  • Charging is illegal personal contact caused by pushing or moving into an opponent’s torso.
  • There must be reasonable space between two defensive players or a defensive player and a boundary line to allow the dribbler to continue in her path.
  • If there is less than 3 feet of space, the dribbler has the greater responsibility for the conduct.
  • A player with the ball is to expect no leniency regarding space.
  • A player without the ball is to be given distance to find and avoid the defender (two strides by rule).
  • A player must be in-bounds to have a legal guarding position.
  • If an opponent is airborne (whether or not he/she has the ball), legal guarding position must be obtained before the opponent left the floor.

Diligence and constant review of game video and the rules code will help officials be consistent in the application of these rules.

NFHS Basketball Points of Emphasis 2018


The final rules reminder emphasis deals with contact recovering a loose ball and options for the person recovering the ball. The committee feels that with these reminders, excessive physical contact while recovering a loose ball can be properly administered and prevent situations from escalating into more egregious acts. Also, the rules about recovery of the ball require constant review to ensure that acts are not deemed as violations that are in fact legal.

  • Officials need to concentrate on possession of the ball and the players being hindered or obstructed from their legal path to the loose ball in determining infractions. If the loose ball is possessed by opponents, blow the whistle immediately. If a player is impeded by an opponent, rule a foul immediately.
  • A fumble is the accidental loss of player control when the ball unintentionally drops or slips from a player’s grasp. After losing control of the ball, distance is not a factor in going to recover the ball.
  • If a player dives for a loose ball, gets control of it and his or her momentum causes the player to slide with the ball, there is no violation. It does not matter how much distance the slide covered. Once the sliding player has stopped, the player may sit up, but the player cannot roll over or attempt to rise from the floor while holding the ball.
  • A defender trying to recover the ball from the player in possession has a responsibility to avoid illegal contact. If there is illegal contact, then the appropriate foul should be ruled.
  • If a player is going for a loose ball and an opponent dives or throws his or her body which changes the direction of the player going for the loose ball, this must be considered illegal contact and a foul ruled. If a player is in possession of a loose ball and an opponent dives on top of that player, a foul must be ruled.

Without question, incidental contact is part of the judgment in loose ball situations. However, much contact is not incidental to getting the ball, but rather is violent contact with no chance to get the ball. The loose ball situation with players diving or rolling on the floor is a situation where the potential for injury increases in proportion to the number of players involved and the amount of time the ball is loose. The player who gains possession while on the floor is often fouled two or three times before passing the ball or before a held ball is called.

A review of past situations shows that in some cases, officials have also erroneously called a “held ball” prematurely to stop action rather than calling the contact foul before a player gains possession. A player going after a loose ball should not expect to be pushed, grabbed, elbowed, blocked or tackled as a penalty for going after the ball.

The committee feels that the rules of the game in these three areas are in good shape, as evidenced by the very limited number of proposals for additional change. The constant review will allow for consistent understanding by players and coaches, and consistent application by contest officials.

NFHS Basketball Points of Emphasis 2018


The final point of emphasis by the committee deals with professionalism by officials. In an era where officials are more needed than ever, it is important that officials maintain professionalism that leaves no one questioning their motivations. Key in this professionalism is the use of proper terminology. In an era of round-the-clock commentators using today’s latest lingo to describe game situations to entertain, officials cannot be caught up in that shift to less than professional terminology. A few examples of using the proper terminology include:

• Backboard (NOT Glass)

• Division Line (NOT Center, Mid-Court, or Time Line)

• End Line (NOT Baseline)

• Fumble (NOT a Muff)

• Goal (NOT Basket)

• Grant Time-Out (NOT Call Time-Out)

• Held Ball (NOT Jump Ball)

• Obtain (NOT establish)

• Officiate Game (NOT Call, Control, Manage, Ref, Work; Officials Officiate the Game)

• Request Time-Out (NOT Call Time-Out)

• Ring (NOT Rim)

• Screen (NOT Pick)

• 60-Second Time-Out (NOT Full Time-Out)

• Traveling (NOT Walk)

The use of proper terminology is one of many steps to ensure that the perception of game officials and the reality of their actions, remains on a higher plane and a critical part of the game. Also, wearing the proper uniform is critical. A neatly groomed official instantly has more credibility with the coaches, game administration, and even the patrons at the game. This includes the proper uniform, properly maintained shoes, a neatly maintained pre-game jacket if worn, and the wearing of only approved items by all contest officials.

Lastly, this professionalism is always on display when the officials interact with others at the site. Professional interaction with the other contest officials while on the court, with the game management and table crew, and with the coaches involved in the game are a vital step in “selling” yourself as an official. As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Maintaining a level tone of voice in all conversations, professionally addressing and interacting with the table crew are very visible signs of your professionalism. Those individuals are key to your maintaining a good game atmosphere and will help ensure the accuracy of all of the necessary elements in managing the games.

All interactions with coaches must be professional, and the conduct of the officials during these situations must be above reproach. Game officials must ensure that no matter the situation, professional actions carry the day!

A good relationship with game management is also critical. Officials must identify their “go to” person in the event of a situation such as the need to address a conduct situation involving fans. Officials should not, as a rule, have any dealings with fans but must rely on the game administration to intercede in these cases. Therefore, the development and nurturing of that positive relationship with game management are essential to the conduct of a contest.


Concussions continue to be a focus of attention in contact and collision sports at all levels of athletic competition. The NFHS has been at the forefront of national sports organizations in emphasizing the importance of concussion education, recognition, and proper management. Widespread education on best practices in concussion management has led to the adoption of rules changes and concussion-specific policies by multiple athletic organizations, state associations and school districts.

Recent research has shown that early recognition of concussion symptoms and immediate removal from play result in a quicker recovery time. Coaches and game officials must be familiar with the signs and symptoms of a possible concussion so that appropriate steps can be taken to safeguard the health and safety of injured students.

There is no evidence that any type of soft headgear will prevent concussions in basketball. However, many concussions result from player to player collisions, or falls onto the court. Therefore, if coaches and officials strive to eliminate rough play through proper instruction and rigorous enforcement of the rules, the opportunity exists to greatly minimize concussion risk in practices and contests.

NFHS Basketball Points of Emphasis 2018


While the incidence is low, the close physical contact during basketball practices and contests pose a risk for transmission of skin and other infections. The transmission of skin infections such as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and herpes, blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and Hepatitis B, and general illnesses like influenza can be greatly reduced through proper hygiene and following Universal Precautions. The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) has outlined and listed below some general guidelines for the prevention of the spread of these diseases:

  • Do not share towels or personal hygiene products (razors) with others.
  • Students should clean hands with an alcohol-based gel or soap and water before and after every practice and contest to decrease bacterial load on the hands.
  • An athlete who is bleeding, has an open wound, has any amount of blood on his/her uniform, or has blood on his/her person, shall be directed to leave the activity (game or practice) until the bleeding is stopped, the wound is covered, the uniform and/or body is appropriately cleaned, and/or the uniform is changed before returning to activity.
  • Anyone cleaning a uniform or playing surface must wear gloves and use Universal Precautions to prevent blood or body fluid-splash from contaminating themselves or others.
  • Any blood exposure or bites to the skin that break the surface must be reported and immediately evaluated by an appropriate health-care professional.
  • Make certain that students, coaching staff, and medical staff are current on all required vaccinations (MMR, Hepatitis B, Chickenpox, etc.) and strongly encourage yearly influenza vaccinations.

NFHS Basketball Points of Emphasis 2018


Ankle sprains are the most common injury seen in boys and girls high school basketball, often forcing athletes to miss significant playing time. Upon returning to activity, if not properly treated, an ankle sprain may limit the athlete’s ability to play effectively for weeks, months, or even years following the initial injury. Fortunately, many of these injuries can be prevented.

The NFHS SMAC strongly advises that all basketball coaches take a proactive role in minimizing the risk of ankle sprains in their athletes. There is a great deal of research that shows a simple series of exercises and the regular use of ankle braces will eliminate 50-60% of all ankle sprains in high school basketball players.

An effective exercise program can be performed with minimal equipment in as few as 5-10 minutes a day, 3 days a week, prior to and throughout the season. The program should include a proper warm-up, lower leg stretches, ankle strengthening with elastic bands, and exercises focusing on jumping and balance. Lace up ankle braces should be worn over a single pair of socks and the braces must be used for all practices and games. Wearing ankle braces does not affect an athlete’s speed or agility, nor do they “weaken” the ankles or lead to other injuries.

NFHS Basketball Points of Emphasis 2018


Switching in 2-person basketball referee mechanics

Switching 2 Person Mechanics

Switching in 2-person mechanics

Today we’re continuing our series for new officials with the switching in 2-person mechanics that occurs between the two officials when a non-shooting foul is called. We are going to learn directly from the National Federation of High School (NFHS) Officials Manual (the mechanics manual) and discuss exactly what the NFHS says about handling of switching on a foul. We will include switching all non-shooting foul & long switch. We’re teaching directly from the officials manual and going from there.

What is switching?

What switching positions means: the basketball court from basket to basket has a North End and a South End. When a non-shooting foul is called (by either official), the officials will ‘switch’ their North/South orientation. Switching does not mean changing positions East and West. Officials move in that fashion constantly in a 2-person game, and it is NOT considered switching. Relative to the court the officials’ North/South positions on the court will switch. It may be in the front court it may be in the back court but the relative North/South orientation of the officials to the court will be reversed (switch.)


Let’s see what the officials manual has to say:


in slide one the lead calls a foul on black three the lead needs to take care of their basic officiating responsibilities at the spot of the foul:

  • identifying the color and number of the fouler
  • giving a preliminary signal and
  • indicating where the resulting throw-in will be

The non-ruling official needs to at a minimum freeze their vision and observe all ten players while the calling official goes to the reporting area to report the foul.

The route that the official takes to go to the table is very important here the mechanics manual explicitly states they are to go around the players

as the calling official approaches the reporting area they need to observe both benches and penalize for any inappropriate action at the table are calling official needs to take care of business they need to

  • come to a complete stop
  • verbally announced the color and number of the fouler
  • while giving the number with two hand mechanics (updated 2017-18)
  • give an indication of the type of foul

once the calling official has finished reporting the appropriate official can then administer the resulting throw in

Before we move on to examples let’s just go over the principle of boxing in. When working two-person mechanics it is essential in order to keep vision on players at all times to use the boxing in principle.

When foul reporting is occurring, obviously one official is no longer able to observe players and it becomes extremely critical that the non-ruling official takes over the full responsibility of the crew of keeping eyes on players

In the following examples let’s make sure that we notice when officials are achieving this and when they are not and identify in your own game situations where you have taken eyes off players. Identify those situations and constantly work to eliminate them. The ability to keep eyes on players during deadball periods is a characteristic of a great official. Eliminating situations where we don’t have eyes on players is a habit.

It’s a habit that you need to work on reinforce and make sure is a positive aspect of your game.


Trail calls a foul in this instance what are we going to do we’re going to switch! 

Trail is going to go to the table to report the non-ruling official is responsible for observing all the players and forcing the switch. In this instance the off-ball official moves to the new throw in spot note the movement of the officials how we get boxing in they move in tandem around the players. Is it perfect? no, but it’s habitual II a great thing to do the Trail calls a foul in this instance what are we going to do we’re going to switch on this play the Trail is pretty quick to turn away from the action the new lead is looking at the ball our observation of players is not ideal but once the calling official reports our boxing in action is very good on this play everybody knows what’s going on the players know where the throw in spot is the coaches know officials are moving to position themselves and we’re ready to play promptly foul is called with a sideline throw in. What time is it boys and girls? it’s time to switch!

Very important on this play to watch the lead he makes an attempt to grab the ball but realizing he can’t get it he ignores the ball and that’s a really critical thing to do as the off ball official you have to understand you what your your job is and that is to observe players. You have to observe players. Critical to that is not chasing the ball. What’s going to happen the ball is going to find you. The ball will find you as the official everything will work out if you can grab it and it makes your game move along a little quicker that’s great but number one priority is observing players at all times.