Pre-game topics with your partner(s)

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.