Articles

Play Situations: Interpreting Contacts

All officials must be prepared to call the obvious and clear violations and illegal contacts. Officiating could be viewed as anticipating that something illegal is going to happen that will affect the play. There have been many training videos produced regularly to assist officials in fulfilling this responsibility.

The play that everyone watching the game can see, MUST be called. It does not matter if it happens in your primary area of responsibility or not. If you KNOW and SAW what happened, call it! If you THINK YOU KNOW what happened then you are GUESSING. There is a great difference between the two situations.

It is UNACCEPTABLE for an official to tell a coach or player that he did not call an illegal contact or violation, which he clearly saw, because it happened outside his primary area of responsibility. Abdicating responsibility to another official shows a lack of courage to make a tough or “unpopular” call.

Instructions to officials and points of emphasis should remain constantly in the mind and be recalled instantly when illegal situations happen during games. The ability to recall information, in the form of documents, videos or personal experience and the ability to apply it to the present situation, is what determines your level of officiating. RECALL determines PERFORMANCE.

Officials do NOT have the authority to change interpretations or rules, especially because of the intensity or time remaining in the game. The game should be decided by the legal actions of the players, NOT by illegal actions that officials choose to ignore.

There are many potential situations that could happen at the end of a period, end of a game and also during the game, that need to be viewed within the context of that particular game, between those two particular teams on that particular day. Some people call it FEEL FOR THE GAME, others COMMON SENSE, but whatever you call it, officials must be prepared for and UNDERSTAND all the possible situations that could arise and how they will be dealt with.

CALL WHAT YOU SEE and do not be influenced by GAMESMANSHIP. Players and coaches will try to influence your calls by flopping, grunting and other such sounds when contact occurs, verbal and physical demonstrations and players raising their hands to take a foul committed by a team-mate.

 

Alan Richardson
ULEB

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