716.psychology in basketball officiating handbook for basketball referees

MOSCOW 2015 P P s s y y c c h h o o l l o o g g y y i i n n b b a a s s k k e e t t b b a a l l l l o o f f f f i i c c i i a a t t i i n n g g Copyright ОАО «ЦКБ «БИБКОМ» & ООО «Aгентство Kнига-Cервис»

Transcript of 716.psychology in basketball officiating handbook for basketball referees

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Д53Psychology in basketball officiating:

Handbook for basketball referees/ FedorDmitriev – Moscow: 2015. – 53 р.

Edited by:

FedorDmitriev International referee

This book is recommended for young and experienced referees. During the

game it is very important to understand principles of the rules, their interpretations,

spirit and feeling of the game. Psychology aspects are ones of the main parts of

referees’ preparation. We hope that this book will help you to understand and feel

the basketball game much better.

© FedorDmitriev, 2015

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1. Communication.

2. Technical foul.

3. Psychoemotional professional burning out in the basketball. Stresses.

4. Body language (language of gesticulation and mimicry). Game language.

5. First victories over yourself. Your first success.

6. Learn how to thank.

7. Out of bounds violation.

8. Emotions.

9. False self-rating.

10. Attitude to the officiating

11. Not the third in trio

12. General thoughts about basketball officiating

13. Line of the game

14. Competition

15. Teamwork

16. Professionals

17. Believe in yourself

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People at present time cannot communicate, even simply, easily, usually

communicate, as this was 20-30 years ago. This concerns especially young people.

In 21 century, era of many modern technologies, cell phones, internet, computers,

young people have difficulties in personal contacts, i.e. in direct contacts face to


There are reasons of many conflicts, problematic situations and others.

Young man cannot express his thoughts, and sometimes to explain something, to

decide dispute, even to apologize for something he finds extremely difficult.

The skill to communicate - this is one of the basic qualities of

communication, communicative person. Sometimes young people, they know

computer very well, are actively in contact with all things technical, but once it

comes to usual, normal contact (communications), many problems and complexes

appear. First of all, there is a problem with their selves. Psychologists always pay

much attention to the skill of communications. One who knows how to speak,

knows how to express his/her thoughts, to answer opponents, knows how to listen

to opponents, without interrupting them, how to explain, to solve problem, such

person is always useful, as specialist and as professional.

Nowadays without the skill to communicate it is impossible to reach one’s

goal, to move forward, to make results. Sometimes you ask yourself: “How earlier

people did communicate, kept connected, they did discuss their work, built plans,

without modern devices of communication?” The answer is simple. Then people

were more open, ready for contact, communicable and went on to have a dialogue,

to contact more freely, more easily. They talked, if not on the phone, but during

meetings, looking to each other and into the eyes, attentively listening to. Now this

is rarity. Young people “sit” in the Internet, internet cafes, Skype, Face-book,

twitter, etc. Sometimes we can see that even sitting in a hall (lobby) of some hotel

people send massages to each other, sitting practically in front of each other, and

no one of them interferes to speak. Habit, so it is more convenient for them.

But to live only with these new modes of communication - this is clearly not

a solution. There is no sincerity in feelings, truth in the eyes, honesty. You cannot

transmit your feelings and thoughts through devises to express them by words, by

views, by signals, by imitating a direct look into each other’s eyes. In this situation

you cannot be fully fair or, at least, it will be quite evident that you are closed, in a

way. They themselves feel it. It can be visible for everybody.

The skill to communicate “face to face, person to person” is a very important

quality, which young generation either loses or does not give proper value to, or

thinks about as unnecessary. Young people lose a feeling of sincerity, reality.

Many are afraid to tell about it. They can accept their errors, but in no way

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recognize that they do not know how to communicate or that they are much afraid

of social contacts as themselves. Sometimes because no one they have to tell about

this (they don’t have a teacher).

We have a lot of examples of such a closed nature, of feeling fear, having no desire

to communicate with people. It is not only young persons’ fault, but also of

educational system itself, teachers and instructors including, who do not teach

young people how to develop simple skills to talk.

We always can hear that one should be harder in his/her solutions, to defend

his/her point of view, not to listen to, but to make tough decisions, like on the

court, because “the referee is always right”. But in this situation, simple advice,

short phrases, apology, sign of attention, and kind look could solve all problems.

To young referee sometimes it is difficult to find same one to acknowledge that he

has problem in contacts and in behavior, even in simple situations. Such situations

happen not only at games, our entire life consists of them.

Young man/woman may know all computer programs perfectly, use all

devises of information, know foreign languages, but simple communication

remains mystery for her/him, because he/she fears to communicate or sometimes

has no ability or desire to, and ultimately finds it shameful for himself/herself.

In these situations, if we speak about the basketball referees, it is necessary

to help young person, to show him ways of how to contact correctly, to teach him

at the very beginning how to tell simple things, how to easily communicate. We

must try to support them during their initial games, not to break them

psychologically. It is one of the basic purposes and tasks of all instructors,

moderators, commissioners. Thus, indeed they prepare not only referees, but

normal, usual, adapted young people, ready for real life, in the first place, and for

the basketball, in particular.

Basketball and usual life are tightly connected. If you cannot normally

communicate, you constantly will have problems in real life, at your workplace,

and then you will have them also in basketball. It is necessary therefore to know

how to communicate efficiently, how to speak directly, “eyes to eyes”.

Then you will not have large problems not only in your life, but also in

basketball. In this computer or other devices can help you, but they will not protect

you or solve all of the life’s problems of communication. Good luck!


At present technical foul is considered usual, normal, “light” violation. We

do not speak about cases, when aggression, amoral behaviors and provocation are

obvious. We try examining the reactions of players, disagreements with the

decisions made by referees, the disturbances of coaches and other participants.

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The task, which is put before us - not to reject a technical foul as such but try

to look widely, that is, to find possibilities besides technical foul - short and clear

conversation, warning, conversation (discussion) with the coaches, players, with

the captain, sometimes strict look on the player.

Each referee who gave technical foul is right in his solution, as he tried to

save your decision by the rules. But if we have in our arsenal some other,

nonstandard psychological methods and approaches to find a solution, then we

must try, bearing in mind what we know about players, their characters, how they

behaved earlier in such situations etc.

Technical foul is always a conflict. But inside any conflict there is never a

one side only. Put yourself on the place of players; you can imagine how you

would react to technical foul. Would you agree with this solution? Would you

respect referee for a strict solution - technical foul? Hatred, spite, anger, fears -

only negative qualities are present on the court in these times.

Role of the referee is not to give to these negative emotions a channel to go

further out. It is necessary to use all possible positive methods and only use

technical and disqualifying fouls as last chance. The main thing is referee must

give chance to all participants to correct their behavior.

Game is always a dialogue. There are contacts between all participants. The

referee has more rights and authority in the game than others. There is a force of

referee - to use responsibilities and rights. But sometimes it is useful just to ask:

“Are you always correct giving a technical foul?”

Analyzing many game situations with technical fouls, sometimes it is

possible to say that many fouls could be not fixed or could be avoided. Neither

coaches nor players usually seem to be aggressive or nervous or telling something

against referees before the game, so they do not want to receive a technical foul.

They friendly meet each other before the games, and wish to referees a good job.

However, what does occur, when referees give to player a strong punishment? Is

such foul always correctly fixed? Are really only players and coaches guilty?

American specialists of officiating calculated that about 70% of

disagreements with decisions of referees go back to the erroneous solutions

(decisions) made by referees. This is our main problem during the games.

For example: ball goes out of bounds from the given player and referee

erroneously gives the ball to the same player who last touched it and even didn’t

look for partners to assist. Opposite team would always disagree with referee’s

decision, but due to the disturbance, referee punishes nervous, emotional player by

technical foul. When some player disagrees with the decision and expresses his

disagreement, usually technical foul follows and all accept this. This is the

referee’s right by the Rulebook. Everyone knows the Rules.

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Yes, this is an action, which cannot be disregarded, but still it is possible to

find different versions of any decision. To call technical foul is the simplest

solution (decision). But here we also have warning, short and strict conversation

with the coach or the player etc. – all may be seen as means of solving the problem

in our games.

It is very important for the referee to control actions and correctly use

authority and rights (duties). This gives chance for the dialogue, understanding of

game situations, feeling of game, respect of players, coaches. You therefore can

obtain not anger and hate, but respect regarding you and your decisions. Give a

chance to any player or coach to correct their behavior by themselves during the

games. This will always be appreciated by coaches also players. We have a lot of

examples. The reaction of player, team or coach is always emotional and often

aggressive. Everything, of course, is subjective, and each participant has a right to

make an error. All people, everyone makes mistakes.

Each violation, serious conflict must be analyzed by referee.

At present the following recommendation is given to all referees - for each

unquotable statement (bad words) to punish without the warning by technical foul.

This must be taken into consideration, but let us attempt to analyze our today's life,

living conditions, situations, in which live all players, coaches, referees. Bad

words, unmoral behaviors - became the standard of life. It is present everywhere: at

home, during the training, in the street, in the school, in Universities, etc. It cannot

be avoided. To be insulated only at games from the entire world - this is clearly

impossible. To punish by technical foul - this is within the rules. But will such

resolution also resolve the very problem we face? Will the punishment as itself be

sufficient or not?

This question we must put before any referee. Tactically, for the short time

interval the answer is yes. You may intimidate player or coach by sanctions, but

strategically the answer is no! And hardly will any player understand something

deeply and honestly thanks only to punishment or penalties. It is necessary to bring

up, to teach, to explain, and not only to judge, for you do not judge one time only.

In many such game situations there must be deep approach to the problem. It is

easier just to give a foul, for it is always possible to cover yourself by the Rulebook

and by its articles.

But to be a participant in the game, to be intelligible and objective, by

creating positive atmosphere, too – it is a mission of referee! To use all methods:

conversational monologues, official and friendly warnings and finally, if only

needed, to give a FOUL! Clever player will understand that he was not right, that

you gave him a chance to correct himself, which he did not use. This will be

obvious for everybody. Referee must understand why at all he gives a technical

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foul – it is not a way to earn authority, experience, class status, professionalism.

“Do not judge - and you won’t be judged, too”!

After giving a chance to player and coach to correct their behavior, without

giving penalties, you can receive more than respect as referee and personality.

Tough remark, thrown behind your back, but left without your attention and

punishment, does tell much, yet not about your weakness, but about your


Find more range (kinds) of solutions (decisions) – it will give you more

(ways) versions of dealing with difficult situations. You must be diplomats.

Diplomat, during the conflict, never works by emotions. He regulates

everything by his mind, intellect and knowledge. There are many examples in the

history, when large conflicts were solved by diplomatic channel, without the

excess of emotions and aggression. This way must be used by referees. Do not

wait, do not search for violations - just officiate the game! Experience and

confidence come with years! Good luck!



Basketball is a game, the part of our life, packed in time and space! There

are created special conditions for all participants in the process during the games.

In the professional activity many people live the new experience of relations with

themselves and others. During the game we receive a lot of theoretical knowledge,

practical skills and habits, which will be used by others, too, and used in their own

practice. In the process of systematic work professionally and personally grow all

participants, and those, who learn, and those, who teach.

In our case, we examine professional job of basketball referee, study his

career growth, his progress and problematic moments in the process of preparation,

how he improves his performance to succeed further.

What aims we must set before ourselves? To create conditions, under which any

referee can understand his job from within, working with players, coaches and

other people during the games, i.e. under stressful conditions, in conflict situations,

at problematic moments, and also learn skills, methods of psychological relaxation,

once game is over.

It is important to note that, without advance thinking about stresses and as

years go by, any referee may face so-called psychoemotional burning out, i.e., the

exhaustion of nervous system may occur, the loss of forces, poor sleep or its

disturbances, injuries, headaches, fears before future work, and even small mental


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For normal control of emotions and in order to avoid such boundary states and

situations it is necessary:

- to manage the signs of psychoemotional professional burning out;

- to know a reason of these signs;

- to know how to use methods and approaches of aid for himself and for colleagues

in such situations;

- to know what to do, when this process of burning out has already developed;

- to know how to help young colleagues in the situations of professional stress,


For the productive work and good result it is necessary to know

psychological states and difficulties, which appear when referees do their job. One

of the basic problems concerns the fact that the young or inexperienced referee

usually absorbs more stressful and negative information from participants of the

game, uses it, and passes it further and assumes it very closely to himself.

Finally we collect negative moments in the memory and this leads to fears,

wrong decisions, feeling of guilt – and referee begins to push himself down.

Occurs “the phenomenon of psychological infection”, i.e., our referee absorbs

negative emotions in the game, and thus, he infects himself “by [emotional]

infection”. So the relevant “pills” for unblocking it are in need.

The aid of colleagues and commissioners is extremely necessary.

But aid does not mean just analyzing facts and moments over and over again, but it

primarily means to show that we together will do with it! It is necessary to push

referee from such situations and to prepare him for further work, but only by

means of positive thinking, to help him solve stressful problems.

Analyzing the work of psychologists in sport, we can say that conflicts and

stress situations are not something to fear, and it is only necessary to know how to

handle them constantly. Early psychoemotional burning out during referees’ work,

professional activity, is a price for the nonprofessional preparations. Referees

mustn’t be given chances to spend emotions for nothing. This leads referees to

stress, and to negative emotions and even to the loss of job, of all positive

emotions, of connection with his self and with others. Referee mustn’t overload

himself by overworking, by absorbing stresses and conflicts and incorrectly

analyzing them after game. In order for him to save himself and to reduce negative

factors to minimum it is necessary to constantly analyze officiating with

experienced referees and commissioners and psychologists.

Some aspects of this psychological work:

1) To learn how to remove stress, to use relaxations procedures, to learn how to

enjoy your job. 2) Constant exchange of experiences with commissioners and instructors.

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3) Creation of strategic purposes and tasks for reaching the result through the

positive approach.

4) Professional contact with the partners, exchange of experiences.

5) To increase confidence in the professional activity, to learn how to believe in

himself. To be confident!

6) To study the style of the work of all participants in the game, their behavior.

7) To know how to recognize the first signs of psychological burning out in his

activity. These are: stress, nervousness and uncertainty in the actions. The desire

not to be separated, to be behind the back of partners in difficult moments of game,

the difficulty in acknowledging his own errors, the closed nature, the desire to be

alone –such features are also undoubtedly telling.

8) To confirm correctness in the selection of profession (job).

9) Feedback from participants in the process of education and improvements.

One must clearly understand just how important not to stress oneself or highlight

conflict situations in the game, but to study its consequences afterwards instead!

Stress situations in the game cannot be avoided, but to learn how to correctly

handle them is in our hands! Stress certainly includes all whistles, each solution of

referee! Someone always finds it wrong! Stress is a reaction of man to the

emotional, excessive, and aggressive actions. Doctors say that stress is a reason

almost for all illnesses.

There are three stages of stresses, conflict situations: the beginning of

conflict, conflict as itself and its decoupling - effect on the total solution. For the

referee perhaps the most important is the third stage - decision making and reaction

to it. If referee is confident in his solution, albeit under pressure it has been made,

then everything goes within normalcy, and referee manages (handles) the stress.

But sometimes it may happen that even experienced referee could not manage the

conflict. And, due to many reasons, in the last phase of conflict situation… stress

does occur. But still it is important here not to collect stress effects!

It is very important to understand that the problem here not with the work,

but with you! It is necessary to return, and as fast as possible, satisfaction from

your own job, actions and behavior on the court, feeling of confidence, and desire

to work!

And try to move further in the right professional way, clearly realizing

strong points as well as errors, and only through positive thinking! Good luck!



Body language is language of movements, voice, signals and the language of

gesticulation and mimicry. Human contact (communication) occurs at different

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levels. Words compose only 7% of the communications, and the remaining 93%

body language composes. People don’t pay to this any special attention.

In the sport body language is also very important. Players between

themselves, coaches with the players, and also with referees always communicate

using body language.

Referees, in the view of their profession, cannot communicate verbally, but

knowing the language of mimicry and gestures it gives you chances to transmit,

send messages, express thoughts, and send information to partners, players and

coaches. This is a necessary mean of communication, especially at present time,

which should be learnt.

Experienced referee can express his thoughts, transmit reaction to what

proceeds, take decisions or make remarks about actions of players and partners

without saying a word. It is possible to say one phrase and express your thoughts

by mimicry, gestures and the way you look. This is the professional language of

contact, communication. It is built on the base of general knowledge of

communications and transmission of information.

Speaking about body language, we imply: the height of voice, the rate of

speech, the way we walk, the methods, by which we present ourselves to others, as

we establish visual contact, position of eyes, our motions (hands, legs, etc),

position of back, arms, of chest, position of hands, brushes, our signals, etc.

BODY LANGUAGE - method of your communication with other people

Imagine you are in one room, and you feel very nervous. Each, who is also

there, will understand that you are nervous just by looking at you, your actions,

speed of movements, gestures, and by hearing your voice. You yourself can feel it.

For example, remember your actions, when you passed examinations and you were

not completely ready to answer. You survived, but you were disturbed, looked lost,

your hands moist, your motions fussy, nervous, your eyes running, etc.

You can understand and feel when someone is sad, happy, stressed. We can

obtain (receive) many information about people just by studying their body

language. Approximately the same occurs with us during the games. If we are not

ready or lost “game language”, we begin to be nervous, to be disturbed, our

motions, our mimicry and gestures reveal what we feel. When we are assured in

ourselves, prepared to work, we control the situation and we cooperate with the

partners, use body language, and it confirms our confidence and professionalism

on the court and outside the court.

In practice we can speak with anyone by means of our eyes, by mimicry, by

using our body, torso, arms, by looking at people differently, and all can

understand us, all our “body words” are expressive, clear and accessible. When we

use this language, we can show for everybody our fairness in the game, strictness,

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apologies, doubts, humor and happiness - and many other feelings/emotions.

Player and coaches will understand you without verbal communication.

One of the men’s games of FIBA Cup in Athens was indeed much stressful.

In Greece there is no such thing as simple game, though. Professionalism is earned

at such games. The head coach of Greek team during a second-half of the game

psychologically attacked the referees. He made remarks about referees’ behavior,

told what he wished from referees and so on, albeit in the correct form. Game

approached the end, and coach understood that he could really lose the important

game. So he went into a conflict with the referees in order to receive attention and

to try to break the game’s course. Surely referees did not give him a chance to

succeed in doing this.

After one foul, coach began to attempt to provoke referees. Crew referee

went directly to the coach. He looked quite militant, his shoulders and hands were

rigid, his torso advanced forward, with eyes penetrating the coach and eyebrows

moving. When only some meters remained between the coach and the referee,

Greek coach grasped the situation quickly and went back, and he left the team

bench area. Referee’s body language said what he thought about the coach’s

behavior. Referee didn’t say even one word. Only gestures, mimicry, movement

were telling. Body language as itself!

Then coach himself apologized for his behavior. But it was possible for

referee to say much more verbally. And, for sure, verbal way of explanation will

not be the best one in this situation. This is an example; how it is possible to handle

the game, knowing how to manage it using body language correctly.

We can learn much more about people by observing how they walk, sit,

speak, and we can notice something really interesting in their motions and in

everything that makes people who they are, even without saying anything.

Most repeated errors in the conversation:

- We say too rapidly;

- We say too much;

- Sometimes we do not know, about what to speak further;

- We ask too many questions;

- Incorrect body language: hands are crossed, and feet are located too closely to

each other, etc;

- In the conversation with the stranger we feel ourselves not comfortably;

- We forget what we wanted to say.

This must be done in the correct version:

- To take hands out of pockets;

- To stand firmly;

- During walking hands must not freely dangle;

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- Not to look onto the floor (downward view must be avoided) during walking;

- To occupy as much space as possible;

- Not to wear too much dark clothing;

- Always, when you sit, be slanted back. When you are slanted, people around you

begin to be inclined toward you, so that it is better to hear you;

- Touch the people, when you communicate with them, because you are obligated

to create contacts at all levels, not only on the verbal one. You first must

understand why and how people make decisions. Why you have an effect of

attracting attention to yourself, why and how it works, and the whole body

language - eyes, eyebrows, eyelashes, the position of arms, torso, the position of

legs and arms, head, the turning of neck.

The value of body language is very important, especially for referees. It

helps us to use different methods of the transmission and exchange of information,

and to widen the possibilities of communication. It is extremely necessary to learn

body language, if we want to be the best. We must understand that we can

successfully use that knowledge, obtained according to the methods of

communication, in our daily normal life. This is big advantage in solving many

vital, life questions and problems.


Referee use a lot of kinds of communications during the game. But young

referees sometimes use only words and only articles from the Rulebook. They

communicate during the game only by whistles. But officiating is not only about

whistles. There are gestures, mimicry, signals, conversations, discussions, dialogs,

monologs, communications and cooperation. Young referees must know and

especially understand that officiating is wider, more complex perception of game,

which cannot be reduced to whistling alone. There are contacts, communication

and control, thanks to which participants can obtain objective information from the

game. This is “game language”. It is necessary to know how to speak in “game

language”. Many referees know several foreign languages, but they cannot select

necessary words during the game, they are lost, are disturbed. They do not know

how to express their thoughts and desires.

One experienced referee spoke: “I don’t know foreign languages, but I know

one language - this “GAME LANGUAGE”! When I use it, I can explain, express

my thoughts and desires, I can stop and calm down players, stop the unnecessary

emotions, etc. This is my language of communication. I learned and learn it

constantly every time and everywhere. All participants respect me for this


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The knowledge of foreign languages is very necessary nowadays, it helps

referee during the game, in contacts, in private life, during trips, in studies and

businesses but it does not give you complete confidence, that you will find the

language of communication with all players before, during and after the game. It is

of vital importance to know and understand “game language”. Yet it is difficult

language. It is impossible to learn it according only to the Rulebook or by looking

videos, for it is necessary to live with it, to sleep and to arise with it, constantly

practicing it.

“Game language” must be constantly improved, with every change. Your

partners would understand you. For all must learn how to exchange the knowledge

of “game language” with others in the process of practicing it. Knowing it, you

will have a chance during the game to speak with partners in one language, in one

way, in one tone.

The greater advantages will come for those referees, who talk and

communicate by means of and professionally use “game language”. They can

adapt it for the game. If you do everything in the same way, your team will be

stronger on the court, more easily you will understand each other, communicate

and improve step by step. You will know what you should correct in the future,

how to work to improve your “basic lexical game language”. Only when referee

understands “game language”, then it is possible to indicate that the referee can

communicate and be communicable not only for the game, but also outside the


Basketball does not begin only in the sport hall. People, who work in

basketball, live with thoughts about the game everywhere and, therefore, they try

to learn to communicate in “basketball language”. Referees also must study it,

know it and –most important –understand it.

Many problems leave us, when during the game all participants understand

each other, right after hearing a half word, speaking the same “game language”. It

is equally significant when understanding other persons comes naturally, not under

pressure of authority or some outer force. Any solution must be understandable for

and accepted by all.

We don’t have ideal games, but we must select the standard of high quality.

Language, which is obligatory to referees, must also be understandable for

everybody. It must be approved and accepted by all participants during the game

on the court. You must constantly search for a good style, for some way to improve

“game language” for all.

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There are more than 200 countries in the world, where people know “game

language”. Not all basketball players can communicate in foreign language, but

they all understand “game language”. Rules everywhere are the same, only

standards of knowledge and performance are different. Therefore in order to

increase the level of game and to be more understandable, everybody should be

taught and should improve this “game language”, “language of basketball”! Good



Even a puny inconsiderable progress in your work of controlling feelings

and ability to be glad of inconsiderable success can be regarded as small victory. It

means that your abilities, wishes, plans, projects are coming into real actions.

Therefore you are on the right road to your goal. It is necessary to continue moving

in that direction.

Ability to control your fears, feelings, weaknesses, laziness, incertitude and

self-distrust is a prior problem in psychological preparatory process on the phase of

personality conformation of young referee. The faster referee sets himself on

correct, positive, assertive guidelines of his work, the earlier he gets a result. It is

important to head young referee to the right direction from square one. It is

necessary not to tick over, to study with a cut-and-try method, but to concorporate

tutor’s practical knowledge with young referee’s wish.

With the help of analysis, video materials, self-work, self-perfection of

different preparation aspects: theoretical, practical, psychological, physical, and

lettered help of leading, experienced colleagues it is possible to set up high goals

and reach them. Supposing that small result doesn’t fix your goals and is not

observed by anyone, you can be misdirected. Those who care will be glad at your

victories and success even insignificant ones. Great result and success is built of

them. Learn to rejoice at every positive result.

Not so long ago you can remember your affection, jittering in the beginning

of the game and your bother about forthcoming game situations. Now you start the

game patiently, control game process and everything else, and representatively talk

to coaches, team managers, players. You have stretched well, have had a full

pregame discussion and come into the game more sedately. You see all the fouls

and violations, you stay patiently and tranquilly, you have good gestures, signals;

cooperation gives you more confidence in game management, you’re in control of

all the playing patterns and behavior of players and coaches. Maybe those

moments are inconsiderable but a lot of arguable moments are coming up in the

game because of referees’ unpreparedness and carelessness. In the beginning of the

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game they are: wrong playing direction, wrong amount of players, absence of time

controller’s signal, wrong ball possession etc.

Tutor’s task is to show in theory and then practically significance and price

of every moment of the ballgame from arrival to the court and carrying out of

pregame discussion with colleagues and commissioner. Every act has its

significance and price. If it works for good result and benefit, for making game’s

tasks resolved, and for the team spirit, then it will be positively reflected on the

game itself and on the climate inside the referees’ team. Settled connections,

stereotypes, motive coherences, theoretical and practical acquirements will be

formed in young referee’s mind, which, in turn, is going to be shaped in game

practice. It is very important for referee to feel the correctness of chosen method,

which surely fetches him to the future victories and success.

Success in referee’s work comes very peacefully in comparison with

players’ and coaches’ one. It is so because supreme mark of referee’s job is

composure in the game and absence of protests on game result. This is a success, a

supreme mark of quality, objectivity and professional level of officiating. This is a

victory of referee. Not referee, but team of referees. If one of them officiated badly

then the whole team did not manage the game, and if he officiated well then the

whole team has done everything for a success and their own victory and


Every victory and success comes only with realization that a colossal labor,

patience, self- and teamwork were exerted. Victories come to those who believe in

their strength. It’s like a catalyst of our inner activities. You can reach a lot if you

realize that you can do that. Believe in yourself. Your first victories and success

only confirm the correctness of a chosen way. You have got to simply work and

believe then everything will come off!


Very often we don’t pay enough attention to the potty details. Sometimes we

don’t even think about that, even though there are no trifles in our life. Sometimes

we forget even to say some thank words for the things that were made for us.

Words like “thanks”, “sorry” are elementary on the first sight, but we hear them

very seldom today. Often we don’t pay attention to trifles, which are made for us

by our colleagues, teachers, and parents. But often it’s enough to say “thanks” and

they would be pleased because something that they made for us has come


“Thanks” is a sign of attention, our gratitude for help. We don’t have to

specially wait or look for a motive to thank. Try to say that word more often. Don’t

forget about that. We have to thank our tutors only because they bring us into

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basketball or officiating. They, more or less, have spotted our future profession,

our life.

Talking about thanks we have to remember one ecclesial proverb, where

Jesus Christ has met ten eyeless. He came to them and asked about their life desire.

Eyeless asked to bring back their eyesight. Jesus has put their prayer through and

they went off. And only one of them came back to say “thanks”. Jesus asked:

-There were ten to cure. Where are other nine? Vade in peace. Your belief

saves you.

It is a simple and demonstrative example of people rejoicing at help but

forgetting to thank. They accept it as a tribute. It mostly depends on self-culture,

education, nurture and intellect level.

Nothing will happen with you if you thank for a little things made for you. It

will show that you are not apathetic to the actions which are made to you.

Say “thanks” and you will have an opportunity to be thanked for your

actions by other people. Say “thanks” with great emotions, joy, self-positive and



Throwing the ball out of bounds is a simple violation at first sight, while

everything simple should be simple at identification. Ball comes out of bounds;

official fixes the violation and brings the ball to the other team. Kind of a simple

thing. But very often a lot of difficulties are hidden in this moment of the game. A

lot of difficult and necessary decisions should be carried out so that referee can

fairly spot the violation and continue the game positively, being understood by


Just remember how often ball comes out of bounds during the fighting for

the ball at the restricted line of the field. Referee has got to see there: who was the

last to touch the ball; if player stepped on the line or he was pushed before that and

referee didn’t see the illegal contact because of wrong position. Maybe while a

jump ball procedure two players came down and touched the line both or one of

them first touched it. Maybe a player got the ball in the air out of bounds and threw

it into an opposite team player who was out of bounds either. There are a lot of

situations which we can call “ball came out of bounds”. Every decision and

situation there has huge significance and price and, of course, brings much

confidence for referee. Very often referee’s authority and experience help in right

decision-making. But experience comes with years, skilled practice, self-work and


Out of bounds violation is the simplest decision for an outside spectator. It

gives no huge emotions. It’s not like a made three-pointer or a dunk, not the

situation which leads to a fight, not a buzzer beater, turnover or blocked shot, that’s

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just a ball out of bounds. But it can be the most important moment for a referee: to

spot fairly that violation.

Official has to outplay every moment of the ballgame and get some positive

and respect from teams, earn some authority when he fairly spots the violation.

On the other hand out of bounds violation is pause which referee needs

sometimes. Just to catch a breath, switch over the attention after a nervous

situation, fix the connection with a secretary’s table, commissioner and colleagues

on the floor. To cool off, stop the game with a minute pause, sometimes raise the

tempo of the game, silence players and warn them friendly, not applying the

official public warnings of a technical foul. And all of that is done just in order to

prevent chaos and nervousness in the game.

Just remember how many times our experienced colleagues told us to “show

everybody a good-looking, correct, official out of bounds gesture and ‘sell’ your

gesture to the game!” Of course there is a deep meaning in this phrase. We have to

catch all the positive emotions in this moment because we fairly made a decision

there. That’s an ideal situation.

Choice of the right position pertaining to a player throwing the ball in is

referee’s work and attention, which he should pay in the moment of the game.

Referee has to control everything during the throw in because he starts the game.

He has to see secretary’s table, commissioner, colleagues in their right positions,

and all the players on the field and the player who throws the ball in. We give the

ball to that player only when we see a gesture of readiness. It’s a very important

procedure. “The way you start the game is the way it goes”. The way you give the

ball is the way you start your work in our case.

How should referee give the ball to a player? It’s an individual procedure.

We can give the ball from hands to hands, off the floor or by pass. Everything

depends on definite situation. Another important moment is referee’s position

during the throw-in pertaining to the game and players. We have to stay behind or

at the side of inbounder, but never in front of him, because we close the throw-in

process and don’t see it, we lose control of the game. Maybe it’s a trifle, but there

are no trifles in the game. Even some little mistakes accrue and then create a big

problem. It’s like a snow lump coming down the mountain. Another situation

happens after a difficult, arguable out of bounds violation. A lot of ardency,

relationship ascertainment, emotions, anger starts to come up, because one team is

not glad at referee’s decision. Referee has to quickly and fairly make his decision

without talks and inappropriate discussions, after looking at his partners if he needs

some help, then quickly continue the game. Conflicts and arguing often come up

during inappropriate pauses, but during the game time everybody do their best to

win and there is no time for arguing. That’s why quantity of pauses should be

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minimal. If arguable violation happens and your partners can’t help you with your

confusion, you always have a couple of milliseconds to make a decision. Jump ball

is the last but sometimes fair decision in such situations. But you have some time

yet, you control the game and everything is under your control. Referee has to

define who is going to have the possession by behavior, psychology, actions of

players on the floor. Some of those are: behavior eye-movement, byplay, gestures,

reaction to referee’s decision, cues.

Very often referee, who knows players psychology and who learns who

players are and their behavior and temper before the game, he can fix and even feel

who’s been the last to touch the ball. Referee is right in a lot of situations, but it’s a

huge risk. Only experience, authority, everyday analysis of the game, referee’s

concentration and referees’ teamwork give a chance to risk in the game. A lot of

moments of out-of-bounds violation are to be demounted. It’s a simple violation at

first sight, but often it’s a very difficult, crucial moment which requires some

overconcentration and certainty in your actions. But there is nothing more

important than a trifle! The whole life consists of them. We can say it about the

game either. Lost trifle gives start to the “snow lump” of mistakes. We have to try

to feel and pre-see all game moments but never forget that even a trifle can affect

your reaching huge strategic goal. “If you can see little things then you can see

huge either”. But to see, to control and to call, to fix are not the same things! It’s

better to control and to help each other than to call every time, to stop the game

and to argue.

Ball out of bounds is a simple, ordinary violation, trifle as we can say. But

it’s so important to spot that violation in referee’s work!


Accurate pass is one of the most basic tricks in basketball. Offensive

efficiency and even victory depends on right and lettered pass execution. Pass is a

basis and painstaking labor in the process of its digestion. Training, development

and perfection of this element require a lot of effort by coach and players. Perfect

ability to pass gives player chance to build team play and bring self or team co-

operation to the efficient conclusion.

Pass is a labor, shot is emotions. Everybody wants to take a shot; everyone

looks at finishing phase of offense, at the rim, which attracts everyone. But not

many people understand that perfect pass is a guarantee of made shot. Player, who

takes a shot, doesn’t have to work the perfect pass up. If passer does his job ideally

then shooter has to just catch the ball in ideal position and take the shot from his

standard spot. There is no need to fade away, change control feet and loose balance

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for the shooter. The more actions player carries out to prepare a shot, the less

opportunities he has to make it.

Pass is just like a transfer of information or information exchange thereby

the ball. Good coaches make admonitions for the missed shots very seldom, but

after an incorrect pass they are trying to show that bad pass is one of the reasons of

misses and of narrowing down the necessary teamwork productivity. “Guilty

player is not the one who couldn’t receive a pass, but who has made that pass”,

that’s what coaches often say.

We can transfer it into officiating. There are a lot of actions which referee

has to take in order to make the right decision, like moving, watching, controlling,

etc. If preparing for the final decision is ideal then result of this decision will be

conformable. A lot of people think that there is nothing difficult in making

decision for referee, he only has to blow a whistle in time. Maybe they don’t know

how much preparative job referee has to make in order to make the only right

decision. How much labor and analysis have to be done, and how many affections

and nervous energy have to be spent for a qualified work. Sometimes it’s enough

just not to interrupt players with your decisions and redundant stops. Not to disturb

players, coaches, teams, spectators in showing their best result is a huge work

either. That’s why there is some draft-quality work in every profession, which is

very important and leads out to the maximal result. This work is often not observed

by everyone. But you can’t get a better result and required emotions without it.

Emotions run our life. Result can be earned, having emotions by your side besides

intension, abilities. Accumulating those things together and adding emotional

background with appropriate atmosphere we can make our goals come true. We

can save an inside desire for the future work, recognizing some perspective and

necessity in it.

Emotions are drive, rush, satisfaction, flight, euphoria, enjoyment, tremble in

your body, happiness and love. Each and every one of us remembers some

moments, which we want to repeat and feel one more time. Emotions generate our

movement, they are like a drug, which we always need and can’t forget, having

once tried it. It’s very important to spend your emotions in the right way, not

burning and devastating yourself. We have to give our emotions the right direction

and frugally spend them in order to feel ourselves comfortably in life.

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A lot of people think that they are better, more deserving, educated,

intelligent and stronger. Why are we giving to ourselves and our abilities a higher

rate? The answer lies rather on surface. But actually everything is more

complicated. Answers and reasons are deep inside us. They are in our brain,

consciousness, behavior, etc.

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We have unlearned to correctly rate our abilities and strengths, that’s where

our misfortune and failure come from. Our abilities are inflated mostly by us

ourselves. Sometimes young person is not easy to come to real self because he

consists of pathos and omniscience aureole. He knows everything and asks not to

interrupt him, while completely consisting of complexes. He can’t behave himself

naturally, ordinarily because the chosen behavior style doesn’t let him do this. He

opens up and converses only with those who can give him additional bonus, rate,

which he depends on. Others are just looked down on. Not much sincerity is there,

so person can’t give himself a real rate. People who can objectively rate, give an

advice, teach but don’t have some strength and power are not considered there.

People from above know and understand more, they have higher appointment, so

they are more intelligent – that’s today’s philosophy.

But very often reality is not the same. People who work hard and don’t

advertise themselves can give and prompt you a lot more. They see some things in

profile, deeply. They see the insincerity and work with those who really need their

advice. The price of their advice is high. They don’t just tell the truth but prompt

some weapons and methods to make your work perfect and, of course, give more

attention to your positive moments. The most important thing is that it would be

truly and selflessly. The way to thank them is up to you. Surprisingly, sometimes

it’s enough to just thank them and show some respect.

Sometimes young people corner themselves just by reprobating themselves

for their mistakes. They think they have no dignity, abilities, etc. Some idea-work

should be done with that group of people. Firstly, you need to inculcate strength

and certainty in them. But to do that, young guy has to believe in you and in his

own self. Not once, making some mistakes in the career and life, they come up

with a total aloofness. Pedagogic abilities, tutor’s desire and everyday training are

needed to bring the young guy back and give him self-certainty. Only constant,

system work can open up the “passive reserve of certainty” in young guy with a

low self-rating. They can reach high results then, but the right help and backing are


It is very important to understand that up-to-the-minute result, which

youngsters are looking for, is often temporal. For sure, that would be hard to repeat

it. But result, born in labor, collective work, trainings with tutor, gives assuredness

and self-accomplishment feeling for the rightly chosen way and profession. It

brings the honor and estimation to your teachers because they are privy to your

success. Of course it means the tolerance, labor, sorrow and work. Up-to-the-

minute result is like a scoop in casino. You take it and lose then. It comes off

quickly. Then they can only say, that you WERE perspective some time ago.

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The biggest talent human has is a hard-working talent! Perspectiveness never

beats work, exertion and labor. It was proved a lot of times. That’s why only labor

gives you the way to success and result. Labor-rate will come itself.


Professionals are appreciated in every activity, that’s not a secret. They are

interesting to work with, to talk with or to get some help or advice. But very often

we meet the inverse, which is an unprofessional attitude to person’s own job.

Negative emotions are part of our life. We have to treat everything philosophically,

because we can’t cope with all the problems in the world. We just should be

regardful in those situations and not narrow everything down to conflicts,

aggression. Be wiser. Everything goes to one thing - attitude to your occupation.

You should regard your job in such way, so that everyone else is happy to

communicate, to co-operate with you, to trust you and not to resent others. We

have to do everything well because in the bad way everything happens itself. If we

look at professional attitude to basketball job, we have to spot the participants of

the game in toto. Definitely: coaches, referees, players, team staff and competition

managers. Only professional execution of your job can give you a chance to

receive back a good mark.

We are interested in referees’ work, so professional attitude is a guaranty of

perfectly officiated game. There is no need in every one of loving you at every

moment of game, but it is necessary to be comprehensible in your decisions. Just

realize that one game, seminar or clinic won’t make you a professional. You

become a professional from the beginning of job choice, from the first steps.

Basketball Federation won’t make you a professional either. It can offer you

some standards that you have to rely on in your occupation, studying and

perfection. Nobody will do anything for you. Everything depends on you. You

choose the destiny and career. Everything you have reached in preparation will be

shown during official games. That’s why you have to work today better than

yesterday. This statement fairly reflects the core and attitude to activity of any

person, who wants to reach the objective.


Game assignment brings to you either joy, satisfaction, positive emotions or

malice, envy, perplex and frustration. So just think about it philosophically,

understanding the situation that you are in.

The easiest thing is to resent everybody. When umbrage and anger go before

professionalism that’s a sign that you won’t be able to reach your objective.

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Problem is in you, your behavior, activity, progress, personality, interest and

attitude to your work.

Of course, there are some subjective moments that we can’t get along. Your

life is not finished after a certain tournament, competition or season. Everything is

ahead and you are going to get your games, victories and finals if your work is

consistent. The most important thing is not to let down, not to break down

internally. It is necessary to move forward and believe in yourself.

After getting the assignment don’t be fixated on your certain position, which

is crew chief or “just a referee”. A lot of times official lets down, starts to criticize

himself or the scheme, looking at his surname going third in the assignment.

Regardless the assignation you have to be in a team and not alone from everybody.

You have to be in trio, not being the third. Three of you have the same rights and

only crew chief has more charges. There is no place for envy. If you officiated

badly then the team worked bad and if it was well then referees were a good team.

That’s what’s really important.

Be a member of team, active participant of referee’s work and not an outside

spectator. Work hard and prove your qualification by the attitude to job. There is

no need showing your activity by blowing all the whistles yourself, just remember

that your violation and foul will come to you itself. If you haven’t made a call

through the first minutes of the game, that doesn’t mean you are not working –

game just goes in that direction. Your help is required only when the game needs


You have to be able to help at any time, even by insignificant gesture, face

mime, eye, signal, body etc. You have the whole game for work. You have to be

concentrated, motivated, positively angled and then your team will be successful.

And nobody will know who was a crew chief. A team was on the floor. You have

to just believe in that.


Talking to experienced specialists and coaches you come to conclusion that

you can’t be a good referee only by learning rules. You have to be educated and

erudite person and to understand everybody in the game: coaches, players,

secretaries, spectators, doctors etc. Here comes your character in the forefront.

Conversation psychology and your behavior on and out of the floor are at

first place in basketball officiating. You can know game situations and learn rules

by heart, but to apply them from the strength position is not a solution in difficult

game situations. Try to understand thoughts of every participant and do anything

you can to help them show their skills. That’s a referee’s role.

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“The one who understands human’s psychology won’t be afraid of a

quarrel” – this statement legibly discloses referee’s role. “We have to do

everything well because in the bad way everything happens itself”- this one is

related to everybody. Our life consists of trifles and if we let things happen

themselves, it would be unreal to reach good result. There are no trifles.

I remember my talk with one of the eldest Soviet referees. Pointing out

referee’s role, he always told that referee’s mission on the floor is very huge and

valuable. If official doesn’t understand that, then he has nothing to do on the floor.

These words are very rough on one side, but very fair on the other.

Coach and players come to practice twice or thrice a day. They improve their

skills, work technics and tactics out. How often does referee do that? Singular

cases can stay there as example. Referee always has to work on himself and stay

ready for everything in the game, because it’s his charge and bottom of his job.

Majority thinks that referee has a lot of tenures and rights. But often that’s not true:

referee has more charges than rights. The most important thing is lettered and fair

game prosecution. But fair- does not mean to constantly punish and make painful

decisions. Referee’s part is also educating. Sometimes it’s enough to give the right

advice, to guide a player into the right game, make a friendly remark or prompt.

Referee is a game participant. We have to understand that. You cannot arise

or downgrade his game role. It is necessary to make one global job. If everyone

makes everything well - we can reach good result. “We have to do everything well

because in the bad way everything happens itself”.


Today physical education and sport are regarded as one of the life goals, on

the one hand, and, on the other hand, as a way to keep healthy, relax, "release"

excess energy and adrenaline, feel the "drive", extreme sensations.

Due to the popularity of extreme sports starting from the mid-90s of the last

century, many team sports found themselves on the verge of development crisis.

Basketball in general and especially European basketball also fell victim of the


Basketball hit its peak of popularity in 1992 with Summer Olympics in

Barcelona, the arrival of the so-called «Dream Team» from the United States and

the beginning of regular NBA broadcasts. It was widely publicized, talked, and

written about, broadcasted all around. However, gradually by the end of the 90s

basketball lost a great deal of its fans and spectators.

It therefore became necessary to introduce some changes in strategy and

rules to make the game more fascinating and spectacular. Volleyball, for instance,

being in the similar situation, saw its rules changed dramatically with time being

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limited, and hitting and receiving the ball becoming less restricted. Moreover,

beach volleyball was added to the Olympic program in 1996, thus quickly coming

out of the crisis.

Basketball also responded to the situation. First of all, some of the rules were

changed, some were introduced, which brought more dynamism, speed, and

struggle; rules against provocations were developed; the shot clock time was

reduced from 30 to 24 seconds, and then to 14 seconds in some cases. Street

basketball became an official tournament; veteran basketball and basketball for

disabled people were actively developed and it paid off.

Today, what we can observe is a vivid interest to the game: children actively

coming to basketball sections, adult amateur leagues developing, street-ball

popularity growing rapidly, veteran leagues and leagues for mentally and

physically challenged people appearing.

People are eager to play and get pleasure from the game. This, however,

requires qualified referees and their professional knowledge and understanding of

the game, including a well-timed glance, sign, right decision, succinct reply, advice

or tip. It is quite frequent though that after the game review one can say that on the

whole there were no mistakes, but there were some inaccuracies.

Watching the game play-by-play, it is not always possible to determine the

game situation and see the “LINE” of the game, what it lacks in this or that very

moment, when the heat of the struggle is at its highest and a critical decision has to

be taken, sometimes an extraordinary decision. Even if everything seems to have

been done correctly, there may rest some aggression, unsportsmanlike emotions,

anger, and feeling of offence on the part of one or both teams. It is often

commissioners who have to deal with it. No doubt, they will approve of referee’s

and umpires’ actions. But video analysis of the game, and mostly one’s inner

sense, often allow to conclude that something in the game was off, missed, some

things were not attended to or maybe the officiating was not consistent, the same

situations were evaluated differently and all that resulted in indignation and

disagreement of players and coaches.

What is it, “Line of the Game”? “Line of the Game” – is a very subtle

feeling, almost on the molecular level, just as when a conductor of a large

orchestra hears one false note and all his or her being is "twisted" in discontent.

The reaction of the coaches, players, and fans to permanent errors in officiating is

the same. How can one seize the “line of the game” in order to maintain control?

This question is often left without answer. The main thing is to never stop trying to

detect it, constantly search for it, strive to feel it, from game to game try to

perceive the connection and interconnection between technique, movements,

combinations, and, having found it, try to keep it till the end of the match in your

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This is often done at the instinct level, which is the pinnacle of officiating

professionalism. Of course, this is the paragon to strive for, but understanding of

the “line of the game”, the fair judging, and total game control should be present

from the very first moment and throughout the game till its very last second. Every

match has its own different “line”. One has to perceive it and hold on to it. That

will bring success, luck and respect.

During game analysis one often hears from the commissioner or reviewing

commission that a foul was called for a rude action, but not the initial rudeness that

caused this foul. A referee lets the first rude contact pass without a call, which

leads in response to roughness, even unsportsmanlike conduct and a

disqualification or fight. Referees agree on this, accept the remark, review the

playing moment trying to identify the origin of a conflict situation and its reason:

why it was missed, ignored or tolerated.

So why do we not consider a whole game as a playing episode and perceive

it rather like an undivided act, that cannot be broken into separate pieces, fragment

from the very beginning till the final whistle? That is the question of quality,

officiating mastery and authority, referee’s competence and experience. “Action,

not reaction!” is often proclaimed at international seminars. Where does a narrow,

episode perception of the game come from? Referees often fall into mistake of

looking only at game moments, fragments, instead of having a deeper and wider

view, seeing the whole process. This is most probably caused by lack of experience

and professional assistance, basketball education, zeal, motivation and self-belief.

One might remember a commissioner say to a referee who has missed a foul

play that they were too close and should have taken a step back or sideways in

order to have a better view of the episode, see the “whole picture” from a different

side or angle. That would allow to see how the game episodes arise and develop,

reaching their climax – a good shot, a miss or a foul.

Such an approach should be adapted to the whole game: look from a

different angle, move closer to or farther back from the ball, players and coaches.

Feel its “breath” from the beginning to the end. If necessary, immediately

intervene in the game, help and prompt, but not to interfere. This can be done not

only by whistling but by referee’s presence, facial expressions, gestures, a smile, a

phrase, or a look. The crucial thing is to detect the initial wrong action. It can be

left without attention but you have to be sure that you have seen it and that the

game is still under control. “I am here, I see everything, I am on the spot!” Then

you will be ready to react in time to the response actions and maintain control of

the game.

It is wrong to think that it is a trifle and one should only fixate rude and

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rough contacts that obviously influence the course of the game and there is no need

to pay attention to small, insignificant contacts and fouls. Such small inaccuracies,

contacts, errors, and concessions bring about more aggressive behavior and

violations, because players and coaches become tired during the game, emotional

levels wind up, and the audience also invites provocation. All this is reflected in

players’ and coaches’ rough actions done in response.

Good officiating and game control do not necessarily mean a whistle; even a

referee’s glance can sometimes give confidence that they are in the right place and

are handling the game well, are ready to take measures and will not allow

rudeness, etc. This is exactly what is referred to as the “line of the game”, its

understanding. A missed conflict, foul, violation, flagrant, unsportsmanlike fouls –

these are all consequences of small game episodes that referees chose not to ignore

at the beginning, regarding them as insignificant contacts. But high is the price!

Often, it is not possible to resolve the conflict quickly and fairly. That is

why, despite what is written in the rules, for referees games start long before their

actual time: “bridges have to be built”. Only then one can count on scant words of

gratitude regarding the officiating quality, objectiveness and fairness. And those

words, being the highest appraisal of work, mastery and competence, are what

every referee strives for.


It is no secret that only healthy competition can bear result, increase skills of

opponents, thus yielding new techniques and solutions to various problems,

situations and tasks. The brain is constantly at work, in movement, searching and

improving. Such an environment of constant completion can produce a good

professional player, a great specialist in their field, and a good referee as well.

Competition should always be present and it should be natural. Everything

artificial is tinsel and trumpery, but one can only achieve results in healthy

competitive environment, otherwise one arrests their progress and professional

development, and looks for outer enemies, following illusions, being not able to

achieve the goal.

Of course, you can get immediate results using other ways, but in most cases

it will be temporary. It is not worth spending so much effort, energy and time to go

back to where you have started from. You have to adopt a strategy, be positive and

move forward without stepping on one’s toes, because otherwise you might be

treated the same one day. If you are a competent and sensible person, you will

surely be able to remember many honored, experienced people say the same thing.

Even if the road to success is longer and more difficult, no one will be able to

reproach you for not having gone it yourself. The most important thing is to prove

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yourself. You have to prove the correctness of your choices. In competition the

teacher's guidance, senior fellows’ and colleagues’ advice is a must and it will

always be of great help on the way to the goal.

This is also confirmed by a biological experiment carried out in one of the

nature reserves where a small territory was fenced so that it was inaccessible for

wild animals and favorable conditions for plants were created. The outcome of this

experiment was surprisingly negative! Weeds destroyed many cultivated plants

that grew in the area. Why? The answer is simple: wild animals and insects feed on

cultivated plants as well as on weeds and thus created natural conditions for their

growing together. This example vividly illustrates that, creating artificial

environment, we drive ourselves into a corner by our own decisions and deeds and

limit our development prospects. Then we have to start it all over, “reinvent a

bicycle”, and remember the things that we neglected. That is why it is

impermissible for us to lose, disvalue and misuse the experience accumulated by

our teachers.

Competition is useful and necessary for all. Even if you do not win in this

game, make the right conclusions: you have a chance to win next time. Do the right

analysis. The life is not over. The goal has to be achieved, even if it happens later

than you expect. If you systematically and continuously work for it, you will

finally reach your goal. You have to aspire to it. Believe in yourself and you will



Commissioners, when discussing games often evaluate referees’ work from

the point of view of committed mistakes and way to correct them. Nonetheless, this

can be done in a more positive way by praising the good aspects of the game and

then turning to negative situations by comparing and drawing parallels.

A commissioner has to know whom he is working with at a particular game,

referees’ psychology, because some referees might just need some words of praise

and support as the they are motivated and eager to work and improve and those

words would be enough, while others have to be controlled, pushed forward,

guided. Some might need a psychological shake-up, while others, on the contrary,

have to be calmed down, for example, beginning or inexperienced referees who

can be close to the state of pre-game fever and nervous trembling, and it is better to

distract them, switch attention to something different. A commissioner has to try

and find a key, a suitable approach to every person. Otherwise there will be

problems, tension and conflicts will arise. Quality officiating implies a game with a

HAPPY ENDING when everybody accepts the game result.

That is the goal to strive for. Of course, there are officiating mechanics and

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rules interpretation, but the most important thing is the game itself! Everything has

to be adapted to it and for it. And if your gut feeling of a well-conducted game

coincides with commissioner’s evaluation and that of your colleagues, you can say

that you have managed to handle the game and really were a part of the game; you

will be in demand. You took an active part in the game, even when you did not

make any calls; you had control over it and governed the whole process. Your

presence on the court was not visible, but you rather were an integral part of the

game. You were in the right place at the right moment. That is an indicator of skill,

professionalism, quality officiating, referee’s experience and authority.

Sometimes it happens so that nothing goes right. Untimely calls, silent

referees when there should be a call. It may happen to anyone. In this case one has

to calm down, catch their breath, switch attention to a different thing, try and find

their game, style, manner of officiating, find the "line of the game." This is done

through positive approach, creating a mental image of successful officiating, self-

analysis, video reviews, discussions with senior colleagues and commissioners.

The result is sure to come, maybe not right away, but perseverance and hard work

take over everything. Of course, this requires time. The main thing is not to wait

for success, but to work, act, and create it yourself. You will be able to see your

progress and professional growth which are integral parts of success.


Professionals and experts are of great value no matter what field they work

in. They are always in demand and greatly needed. They thoroughly know their job

and do it perfectly. Professionals are well-educated people. Such people are

required in sport as well. It is a delight to watch professional players, coaches and

referees. To see players perform, coaches direct their actions and referees control

the course of the game. One gets real pleasure from the very process of the game,

uncompromising struggle, high speed on the court, players’ high class technique

and stunts.

In a conversation with a friend of mine, who is a businessman and an ardent

fan of basketball, I noted that sport and other spheres have a lot in common in

respect of the professional approach to work. Principles, methods, approaches and

means are roughly the same and transparent. If you observe, listen and stick to

them and have desire and disposition to your profession, you can become a

professional in your field. The main thing is hard work and zeal.

The businessman noticed that many are talking of professionals, but they

cannot become professionals themselves, because their entire career and life are

permeated by jealousy, inflated self-esteem, laziness, conflicts, while a person

lacks inner content and has no desire to work. There is a shell, some average

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knowledge of work, but not more than that. Such instances are present both in

sports and in basketball.

He told me how hard it was to start a business, about competition and

present difficulties, but with a true desire and goal one can work and achieve

results. He also shared that his friendly nickname was "Reshaka" (“the one who

solves” – author’s remark). It fits him and he likes it. Everything is expressed in

one word. He can do everything in his business, EVERYTHING! He is a


I asked for clarification. He explained: “I know everything that relates to my

work. I began my career as a simple worker but I had a furious desire to make my

way in the world, to get an education, earn money, prestige and respect in the

workplace. Now I can do everything and I have everything. Such words as “I don’t

want”, “I can’t”, “I won’t manage” do not exist for me. Tasks that I set for my

employees are quite feasible and I require accurate execution. I always encourage

and reward motivated employees who exhibit more desire to work. They are

valuable for me as head of a business because they keep it going. I'm sure, that, to

achieve a goal and grow in any business, you need to set a goal on the verge of

impossible because only then, in order to solve the problem and achieve the goal,

your internal resources and reserves of the body open up.”

We then narrowed down our conversation to the subject of basketball and

discussed the current state of teams and players. And referees, of course. The

businessman was surprised at how difficult and demanding was the work of

referees, and, as we concluded, how similar in some respects it was to doing


- How can you act calmly, keep yourself in hands, when spectators,

overfilled with emotions, literally roar? I, myself, often cry out loud, and

sometimes even at referees! - said my companion.

- Just as you, we prepare for every game, for everything that might happen

on the court. This is the specificity of our job to manage emotions of players and

coaches, control the playing process. Only in our case the time and the place are

limited, and the speed and emotions are maximized. In that short period of time we

have to show all our skill and most importantly not spoil the game that you have

come to watch. Sometimes it really is difficult. But this is what the skill and

professionalism of referees consist of!

It is oftentimes that we work on the verge of our emotional capabilities when

we stop rudeness, fighting, foul plays and aggression on the court. We have to

confront psychological pressure of players, coaches and spectators. On the outside,

we need to be absolutely calm, everybody has to be sure that everything is under


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It requires a lot of practice and experience, as in any sphere, to become a

demanded professional. We also set goals and tasks for every playing season. Our

performance on the court only lasts 1,5–2 hours, but getting ready for a game takes

much more time, that is why the profession of referee is quite specific and

subjective. Even a great desire to be a referee, having no inclinations to such work

and necessary qualities, does not always give the chance to become one.

At the end of our conversation we agreed that people who have too high self-

esteem, jealousy and unwillingness to work never achieve great results. They

blame anybody but themselves, find a lot of problems without seeing the main

problem that is THEMSELVES. Only constant work, education and willingness to

work make us PROFESSIONAL.


Each and every one of us expects positive result, starting something. That’s

very important. Only flabby and uninterested person won’t think about victory,

success and results, everything is indifferent for him. But this type of people is not

interesting to work and live with because living without hunger for success is

small- minded people’s portion. Not much of us can admit living without a goal,

because everyone has it. We regard purpose as important if it leads to positive,

progress, success, development, quintessence of ourselves and our work. Hopefully

this goal will be strategic.

Our strategic goals consist of many small tactic goals. It’s like a house of

bricks: if some of bricks are bad then the whole building is going to be unstable.

The same exists in our everyday life. Without small but very important goals we

can’t reach something huge, forcing everything. We can’t solve any big problem in

that way, otherwise we are going to break down under problems’ and stresses’

pressure. Probably you took the wrong height. You haven’t considered previous

mistakes, you have forced some steps, had an overconfidence, you haven’t listened

to your colleagues, have paid not enough attention to trifles, and have forgotten all

good things that others had done to you. Nothing comes in a trackless way. There

are no trifles in professional activity. Even insignificant action or phrase, like

everything else, has its price.

Fixing up our tasks, we can’t successfully move on without believing in

ourselves. It is very important to divide believing in yourself and self-confidence.

Self-confidence has never given positive strategic and tactic results. “Moment of

truth” is always going to come, and any person is going to get what he deserves.

How can we leave those negative moments behind and not be

overconfident? The answer is inside of each of us. We have to always look

critically at ourselves and our work, to analyze, why failures come and when we

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reach success. Belief in yourself, yet systematic step-by-step work, your activity

analysis, positive perception of constructive criticism from everywhere are the

things that give everyone of us a chance to reach perfection as individuality or


Belief in yourself – it opens to us a wide range of ways to reach our goals, to

answer professional and everyday life questions, and lets us courageously take

risks in making decisions. We say: “Risk is always justifiable”. So do something,

right after your brains let you do that.

Belief in yourself will stay behind your success at that moment. But you

can’t have belief at once. It comes after a colossal labor, experience. You have to

get through a lot of assays to succeed. That’s why by going into work routine step-

by-step we insert into ourselves a belief that we can be smarter, more powerful,

settled and better…

You can’t have belief on-the-cuff! It will be rather self-confidence to build

up! That’s not the same. Painstaking labor, education, respect for everyone beside

us, and your work analysis are going to bring to you that same BELIEF! There is

nothing that’s stronger. You can do everything with the belief. Just believe in that

and work hard.


*All your solutions must be understandable by all!

*All positions of conversation must be selected for concrete game!


1. Duties referee before the game (table, scoresheet, game ball, equipment, court,


2. Change the Rules. Interpretations.

3. Video equipment (arrangements, responsible person, the quality of video).

4. Jump ball. Arrow of alternative possession. Game clock.

5. Level of the teams (motivation, players, position).

6. Hall, fans, table officials, signals, basketball court, equipment.

7. End of the game. Sign scoresheet. Leave the basketball court.

8. After game discussions. Comments. Analysis.


(be open for the contact with participants in the game)

1. Criteria of violations and fouls (1 and 2 halves of the game; the double games).

2. First roughness (game by hand checking, holding, pushing).

3. Game without the ball - basic of the work of referees.

4. Travelling, palming, double dribble (criteria).

5. Technical, unsportsmanlike, disqualified fouls (procedure). Criteria TF; UF


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6. If you have doubts: YES or NOT in the game, then with the situations: 3; 5; 8 seconds or travel - THERE ARE NO violations; if you have doubts - player in the

process of shoot, interference or goal tending, count or not - to make decision - YES.


1. Gestures – official language of game (to use official gesticulation).

2. Area of responsibility (back and front court for TRAIL, CENTER, LEAD).

3. Rotations (systems, visual cooperation during foul, who indicate rotation and when).

4. Interference and goal tending.

5. Double and triple whistles.

6. Substitutions (procedure).Control of substitutions and time out (quantity of


7. Cooperation with the commissioner and the table officials (gestures, verbal and visual signals).

8. Time – out (during the game and last).

9. Three points attempt shoot (responsibility, CONTROL and ASSIST).

10. After foul during the shoot - the control of the flight of ball. Mostly responsible

center and trail referees.

11. Free throws: early output from 3 seconds area and from 3 points area - leading

and central; three points line - central and trail referee; five seconds to the shoot,

control of the feet (contact with the line) – central referee.

12. Bench of followers of the team (players, personnel, coach, assistant, doctor and others accompanying persons).

13. Principle of verticality.

14. Post play (rebound situations).

15. Last five minutes of the game or overtimes.

16. Last shoot (responsibility: responsible referees, aid to partner). The technology of decision-making - partners inform referee about their solutions.

17. Difficult, questionable out of bounds violations (AID). Visual contact.

18. During the throw – in of ball from out of bounds - control game time and 24

seconds - team control (trail referee).

19. Control of the signals: 24 seconds, time, horn, “the framework”.

20. Control of 24 seconds devices in the frontcourt (reset for 14 seconds).

21. Count to the eighth second to control the ball in the backcourt (time - the end of counting).

22. Must know after pauses or time out, who and from where throw-in the ball or number of shooting player.

23. Time out request and substitution (latest possibility).

24. During time outs: purpose - the positive dynamics of officiating. To know in what place and how the game will be continued; gesture and time control; last

shoot and the end of the game or 24 seconds.

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1. Game without the ball - basic job of referees. Off the ball coverage.

2. Press defense (responsibility of TRAIL and CENTER).

3. Hand checking.

4. Screens, holding without ball.

5. Flopping (figure drop, imitation) (official procedure).

6. Game of center players (rebounds, pushes, screens). Active CENTRAL referee!


1. Out of bounds situations and throwing situations (eyes contact, cooperation:

referee with the ball – referee, referee with the ball – table officials/ commissioner, counting of 5 seconds, control of any contact of the rebounders).

2. Back court violations.


1. Violations: 3, 5, 8, 24 seconds.


Be authorized to approve before the game and use, if available, an

Instant Replay System (IRS) to decide before he signs the score-sheet

at the end of the period or extra period:

- Whether a shot for a successful field goal was released before the game clock

signal sounded for the end of the period.

- Whether and how much time shall be displayed on the game clock, if:

- An out-of-bounds violation of the shooter occurred.

- A shot clock violation occurred.

- An 8-second violation occurred.

- A foul was called before the end of playing time.

When the game clock shows 2:00 minutes or less in the fourth period and in

each of extra periods:

- Whether a shot for a successful field goal was released before the shot clock

signal sounded.

- Whether a shot for a field goal was released before any foul was called.

- To identify the player who has caused the ball to go out-of-bounds.

During any time of the game:

- Whether the successful field goal shall count for 2 or 3 points.

- After a malfunction of the game clock or the shot clock occurs, by how much

time the clock(s) shall be corrected.

- To identify the correct free-throw shooter.

- To identify the involvement of team members and team followers during a


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Below we show some often-happen mistakes of referees and the practical

advices which will help to create the professional habits for the referees. It is

necessary these requirements be used in the practical officiating.

1. The lead referee - do not show a quantity of free throws whilst staying on the

base line.

2. The lead referee - do not meet offence, whilst running forward by your back.

3. For the good feeling of the sizes of court and sport hall, floor (sizes, benches ,

table of officials, scoreboard) just walk around it, around boundary lines, looking

at the court at different angles.

4. Always - control the throwing - in of ball to the game from out of bounds,

standing a little behind and by the side of the thrower - his feet, ball, and also the

players, who may obtain ball or prevent obtaining ball.

5. For the gestures – during calling a foul it is necessary to make it clear to which

player it is given, by using a palm but not finger.

6. The areas of your responsibility - this is the boundary post which to you is fixed

by mechanics of officiating. At the same time when it is necessary to protect

justice of the game and you are assured in this by 100%, your solution must be

sound without the dogmatic standards of mechanics. You will help game and


7. The lead referee does not stand right under the basket. The motions of feet must

help eyes to improve the viewing angles of the changing game situations.

8. When the ball goes out of bounds, especially for the base line, do not turn your

head from the game and after the whistle continue to control the situation on the


9. Good (right) position for the referee who is responsible for the throwing – in, if

ball is thrown in from out of bounds and if attack is carried out in the front court;

or if game goes on from back court to front court.

10. With fast break or the rapid (fast) offense you must try to occupy position on

the base line early, try not to assess the game from the side and from behind.

11. The gestures of communication with table officials must not be shown whilst

you are moving – the following scheme is acceptable: rapid (quick) exit for the

connection with the secretary - stoppage – demonstration procedure - the rapid

change of position with partners (if necessary).

12. Control of substitutions procedure (by whistle, by gesture) until the players

become substitutions and substitutions become players.

13. Referees must remember (time limit periods): substitution - as fast as possible;

injury - 15 seconds; 5th foul - 30 seconds.

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14. There is no need - when the successful three points shot is made – to show it

directly to the scorer and turn your body away from the game.

15. Checking of bracelets, rings, long nails, large pins during warm up of the


16. Algorithm of decision with fouls: FOUL - NUMBER of PLAYER (“WHO?”) -



17. The lead referee does not show the basket counted to the scorer.

18. It is very important to fix by whistle the first incorrect action of player but not

reaction to this action. (ACTION, NOT REACTION!)

19. The force of whistle varies, and depends on the behavior of player, violation,

fouls, substitution, etc.

20. Requirement for the gestures – must be clear, with the large amplitude, visual,

official, usually in the static position.

21. Algorithm during the fixation of travelling – BALL - THE FEET OF


22. Three seconds violation is not fixed with gestures – fingers counting each


23. Game finished with the signing of score-sheet.

24. Lead referee does not look at the flight of ball during the shot.

25. Lead referee does not locate close to the base line.

26. Nervous motions and gestures.

27. Control the team bench areas.

28. Fear to fix technical or unsportsmanlike fouls if it is necessary.

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1. Hartyani Zsolt. Basketball for Everyone. – FIBAEUROPE, 2004.–231 p.

2. Jungebrant С. Profile of the referee 2000. – Finland, 2000. – 45 p.

3. Official basketball rules 2012 including two- person mechanics, three

person mechanics, basketball equipment.–printed by FIBAEUROPE 2012.

4. Richardson A. Basketball referee camp. In conjunction with Millfield

Enterprises, 2002. – 85 p.

Sites for the referees:

FIBA site


FIBA Europe site


Russian Basketball Federation site


Moscow city basketball Federation site


Russian Basketball Federation referee committee official site


Moscow city basketball site


Russian basketball referee’s site


Moscow region basketball Federation site


Basketball referee’s information site


Basketball referee’s uniform and equipment store


Moscow region referee’s site


VTB United League site


Student Basketball Association (ASB) site


Moscow basketball league site


Republic of Belarus Amateur basketball league site


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Page 53: 716.psychology in basketball officiating handbook for basketball referees


Fedor Dmitriev (born on June 16, 1971, in

Minsk, Belarus). Began to be occupied in

basketball in 1980 in Minsk city, Belarus,

candidate to Master of sport, played for

junior national team of Belarus. Finished the

Belorussian State Academy of Physical

Culture and Sport (Minsk, Belarus). Referee

career began in 1984. In 1989 became the

referee of national category, since 1997

referee of FIBA. Officiated the

championships of Europe 2003 (Sweden),

2007 (Italy), 2009 (Latvia), a lot of FIBA

tournaments, was Euroleague ULEB referee

during 2001 – 2004.

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