Rules Corner

Coach Conduct and End-of-Game Management

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

The following information was presented at IAABO 31’s board meeting on Feb 4, 2018.


Dealing with Coach Conduct

  • I have seen a lot of unacceptable coach conduct this season in High School and Suburban games, but I have not seen a lot of officials who deal with that behavior effectively.
  • REMEMBER:  Coaches may NOT coach while completely out of the coaching box.
    • Too often, officials say “As long as he’s not bothering me, I don’t care where the coach is”.
  • Coaches may NOT voice disagreement across the court.
    • Too often, officials say, “I don’t want to insert myself into the game at that point. He’s just making himself look bad”
  • These are not appropriate responses to poor coach behavior. The behavior MUST be addressed.
  • How can we EFFECTIVELY address poor coach conduct?
  • What’s in your “toolbox”?
    • Your voice. You can try to talk to the coach.
      • “Coach, I need you to help me out and find your box.”
      • “Coach, by rule. . . “
      • “Coach, my partner had a great look. He’ll tell you what he saw if you ask.”
    • Unofficial warning
      • “Coach, I’ve heard enough.”
      • “I’ve given my answer, coach. We’re done talking”
      • “Coach, your assistant is about to lose your box for you.”
    • Official warning
      • New this year. USE IT. It’s a great tool.  It gets the coach to realize the situation without a T.
      • Tell the coach, tell the table, have it recorded in the book.
    • Technical foul
      • No one enjoys giving technical fouls, but it’s just a call.
      • You’re not inserting yourself into the game. You’re simply assessing the penalty that the rules require.
      • If you’ve gone through the other tools, no one will be surprised by the T.
      • Call it and get away.
      • Be professional, not emotional.
  • Effective management of coaches is what sets great officials apart from great play-callers. Don’t ignore this part of your game.


End of Game Management



  • Last 2 minutes: “Let’s be perfect”. FOCUS
    • See the WHOLE play: start, middle, and finish.
    • Get a shooter, every time.
    • If time-out is called, let’s be sure there’s possession before blowing the whistle.
  • Be strong in your primary, including off-ball and rebounding responsibilities.
    • Help if needed outside your primary: be LATE, be RIGHT, be NEEDED.
  • Game awareness. We must know:
    • Bonus situation
    • Arrow
    • Time-outs remaining
  • Move to improve.
    • Don’t get stuck in one spot
    • Always try to find a position to see “through” the play, regardless of whether you’re Lead, Trail or Center.
  • Communicate during time-outs!
    • With table:
    • double-check time-outs remaining
    • team fouls
    • running score (check with visitor’s book)
  • With partner(s):
    • Do we have a problem player?
    • Last shot responsibilities
    • How is ball being put back in play?
    • Do we need to adjust anything at this point?


  • Last minute:
    • Keep officiating. Don’t put away the whistles.
    • Strategic Fouling – POE
    • Have a count, in case of timing error.
    • NCAA officials: remember timing rules.
  • Last shot:
    • Primary responsibility is
      • Trail official in a 2-whistle game
      • Official opposite the table (could be C or T) in a 3-whistle game.
    • Let’s ALL have an opinion.
    • If it’s so close that we can’t decide, we can consult the timer. If we disagree, the Referee will make the final decision.
  • Whistle or no whistle?
    • IAABO does not require a whistle at the end of the period.
    • The only time I would recommend a whistle at the end of the period is if the last-second try is very close to the horn and you want to wave it off.
    • Any other use of the whistle could cause participants to think you are making a call.
  • Post-Game Handshake Reminders
    • You are required to observe the teams. You are not required to participate.
    • If you have an unsporting technical foul, you are excused from the protocol.

Pre-game topics with your partner(s)

Monday, December 18th, 2017

The following information was presented at Board 31’s December 10, 2017 meeting.


Before each game, we should arrive at the site early enough to have a discussion with our partner(s) about the upcoming game.

The things that we talk about will be different at each game and with each partner.

  • If you and partner have worked together 10 times already this season, you might not need to talk about very basic things, but it still helps to get into a basketball frame of mind.
  • Late in the season, you won’t need to discuss new rules anymore, but there will be other things to talk about.
  • But we always want to have some pre-game.  If we don’t, the chances that something will go wrong in our game go way up.

Some general topics for discussion:

  • Who are the potential problems in our game?  (Players? Coach? Table?)
  • What style of play can we expect?
  • Is there any history between the two teams or head coaches that we need to be aware of?

Then move to how we’ll handle specific situations.

How will we handle double-whistles?

  • Make sure the Trail (and/or Center) has a fist, but does NOT signal an infraction.
  • Make eye-contact.
  • Let the primary official take the call.

How will we handle pass/crash situations?

  • In a 2-whistle game, whoever the pass goes toward stays with the ball. The other official must stay with the crash.
  • In a 3-whistle game, the Lead will stay with the crash and the outside official will follow the ball.
  • If we have any type of crash with two bodies on the floor, we MUST have a whistle.  Whether it’s a block, charge, or travel, as a crew, we MUST have a call.

How will we handle post play?

  • Let’s make it a priority. That’s where rough play starts.
  • No arm bars.  No legs used to move an opponent.
  • Offensive player can’t use a straight arm to hold off defender.
  • Get the FIRST one.
  • Remember the RIDDs: Redirect, Impede, Displace, Dislodge

Let’s remember to protect the ball-handler.

  • Two hands on the dribbler is a FOUL
  • Body bump in transition is a FOUL
  • “Riding” the dribbler by leaving hand on hip is a FOUL
  • SBQ (If the Speed, Balance, or Quickness of the ballhandler is affected, it’s a foul.

Make sure screens are legal, especially in the first half.

Let’s try to be consistent with each other.  If possible, similar plays should result in similar calls.

Let’s have great game awareness.

  • Somebody has to check the clock and shot clock after EVERY whistle and EVERY time the ball is put back in play.
  • Make sure we know when we get into the bonus.
  • Make sure if we warn a player or coach, the whole crew is aware of it.

Last 2 minutes of the game:

  • If we haven’t called it, we’re not calling it now, unless it’s blatant and HAS to be called.
  • We don’t want our first 3-seconds or illegal screen to come with 30 seconds left in the game.  But if that screen puts somebody in the front row of the stands, we have to grab it.
  • Be aware of strategic fouling.  Remember that there has to be a play on the ball.  Pulling the jersey or bear-hugging the dribbler are not common fouls.
  • Don’t put the whistle away! That wouldn’t be consistent with how we’ve called the rest of the game.  Call the game to the end, and let the players win the game at the line, if that’s how the game is being played.

You might not have time to discuss ALL these things.  You might have other things that you like to talk about, as well.  You might want to talk about a specific play or situation that happened to you recently. I think these things are worth talking about.

Bottom line is that a good game starts with a good pre-game.