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.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Check last week’s episode here.

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

Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

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!


Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

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.

NFHS: Basketball Points of Emphasis 2017-18

NFHS Online Basketball Rules Book 2017


Equipment worn on head for medical or religious reasons

Specific procedures have been established for allowing a head covering to be worn for medical or religious reasons. A player who is required to wear a head covering for medical or religious reasons must provide a physician statement or appropriate documented evidence to the state association for approval. If approved, the state association shall provide written authorization to the school to be made available to officials. States are at liberty to determine the system for approval that works best in that state.

Team control, throw-in

The relevance of team control during a throw-in only applies when a member of the throw-in team fouls. Such fouls shall be ruled team-control fouls. Team control during a throw-in is NOT intended to be the same as player control/team control inbounds. Team control inbounds is established when a player from either team who has inbound status gains control of the ball. During the throw-in, 10-seconds, 3-seconds, frontcourt status, backcourt status, closely guarded, etc., are NOT factors as there has yet to be player control/ team control obtained inbounds. With specific regard to the backcourt violation, a team may not be the last to touch a live ball in the front court and then be the first to touch a live ball in the backcourt, provided that team has established player control/team control on the playing court (either in the backcourt or frontcourt). BY RULE EXCEPTION, during a throw-in a team may leave the front court, establish player control/team control while airborne and land in the backcourt. This is a legal play and ONLY applies to the first player of the offense who touches the ball PRIOR to the end of the throw in.

Intentional Fouls

The committee is concerned about the lack of enforcement for intentional fouls during any part of the game but especially at the end of a game. The intentional foul rule has evolved into misapplication and personal interpretations. An intentional foul is a personal or technical foul that may or may not be premeditated and is not based solely on the severity of the act, and it is contact that:

  • Neutralizes an opponent’s obvious advantageous position.
  • Is on an opponent who is clearly not in the play.
  • May be excessive.
  • Is not necessarily premeditated or based solely on the severity of the act.

This type of foul may be strategic to stop the clock or create a situation that may be tactically done for the team taking action. This foul may be innocent in severity, but without any playing of the ball, it becomes an intentional act such as a player wrapping his or her arms around an opponent. The act may be excessive in its intensity and force of the action. These actions are all intentional fouls and are to be called as such. Officials must be aware of the game situations as the probability of fouling late in the game is an accepted coaching strategy and is utilized by many coaches in some form. Officials must have the courage to enforce the intentional foul rule properly.


The addition of Rule 10-7-12 has been successful in its intent to clean up illegal contact on the ballhandler/dribbler and post players. Players are attempting to replace this illegal contact with contact observed as “body bumping.” Illegal contact with the body must be ruled a foul; however, officials must accurately identify if the defense or offense causes the contact and penalize the player causing the illegal contact. Once a defensive player obtains legal guarding position by facing an opponent with both feet of the floor inbounds, he/she may move to maintain that position in any direction except toward the offensive player being guarded when contact occurs. The defense is not required to keep both feet on the playing court and may jump vertically or laterally to maintain the legal position. If contact occurs prior to the offensive player getting head and shoulders passed the defender, the responsibility is on the offensive player.



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