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Be sure to check out Training that is available. Instruction for those who are just beginning thru those experienced officials who want to go to varsity or college level.

So, you want to become a basketball official, are you CRAZY?…

You may have played basketball, developed an interest in the game, watched from the stands and “voiced an opinion about the refereeing”, or decided to be involved with a game that you love. Hopefully, these are the reasons that you are contemplating becoming a referee, and it’s not just to make money. Officiating basketball can be a fun and rewarding journey, but to be good at it takes some time and “continued” learning. Think about it, how many “sticky” situations happen during a game and how does an officiating crew manage them. When a whistle is blown, all eyes are on the official and what comes next will form how that official is perceived throughout the contest. Here are some suggested areas to focus on as you begin this trade.

Seek out some training. No matter how much you think you know, training is always very important. All successful officials, from youth leagues thru the professional levels go through some type of training during off season to stay sharp and up-to-date. Find some training that will introduce you to the basics of basketball officiating. That would include learning rules and terms, court coverage’s, appearance and communication. Getting the basics down will help build that foundation from which to grow from.

Devote the time to be successful. Practice at home what you learn so that when you get on the court it comes naturally. Read rules book and find those situations that could happen, and then you know with certainty what to do. Know that only a very few are good enough to advance at a quick rate from youth leagues to high school varsity or even college ball. It takes some time to learn and sharpen skills, and advancement happens at a different rate for different individuals.

Be aware that costs are involved. Purchasing of a uniform (shirt, black pants, black socks, black shoes and whistle) is a must. There may be cost associated with training, and dues if joining an association in your area. But, if you’re willing and available to work games those costs can be quickly recouped.


Begin to network with officials and assigners. Find other officials to talk with and gain knowledge from. Ask about situations and how to handle them. Reaffirm decisions by looking in rules book or open discussions with other officials. Get to know assigners of games and let them know your availability and experience.


Start to learn to ignore fans. The sooner you can do this, the easier your job will be. A basketball official has enough to manage on the court that they should not have to worry about fans. Realize that fans may not know rules, changes in rules, and may be bias. They will yell at you, they will act crazy and say mean things. Learn to ignore fans statements and not take it personally. Consider that they are yelling at the “stripes” that you are wearing, and not at you as a person.

Most important… make sure that it is FUN!!

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