Basketball can be very frustrating. You do not get to experience success all the time. The game wherein you are struggling to play in is the most annoying part, especially when you get calls. Believe it or not, I have gone through this one. I guess any player or coach who has undergone this situation can relate to this. You get so tired of getting your rhythm back in the game, and you feel that you are not doing anything right at all. When you try to exert the effort, you get a call. That is really upsetting for any player and coach. Situations like this can drive the player to be unkind to referees. They get mad at referees to the point of talking inappropriate words to them.
However, you must consider that referees are people too. They make mistakes just like anybody else. Or perhaps, they just do not like you enough that you feel that they are terribly and poorly officiating the game. However, referees can also be a factor for you to drop your chance of winning ball games. But it should not be enough to yell and embarrass them in front of the public. If you take a look at it to a closer analysis, you are making a fool out of yourself. You are the one who is trying to embarrass yourself by talking harsh words to the referees.
1. Remain to be calm
Sometimes, we can’t deny the fact that the officiating might be biased so, once you have recognized that the officiating is not correct, call a time out. The time out serves a dual purpose. Get your team together and listen to their concerns, and then let them relax and cool down. Refresh the minds of the players, and help them focus back on the game.
This is very important to remain calm until the game is over. Strong mental setting helps players think well enough. Being calm can direct the team effectively regardless of the terrible officiating of the game. A word of encouragement promotes calmness and boosts team motivation and deters frustrations.
2. Recognize the problem
Players are very keen, attentive and probably even recognize the problem. It makes them more vulnerable in bad situations and has the tendency to break, if let miss guided. Youths are compulsive, and have the tendency to get frustrated when cornered. Make sure you do not allow them to blame the officiating for problems on the court. This can lead to a negative mind state for the whole team. Use this as a teachable moment about adversity, and not find excuses for mishappenings. Let your players know that you are there to help them. Not to mention, it is very important to teach today’s young people on how to respect authority. It also teaches players not to blame others and to be held accountable to their actions.
3. Treat referees with Respect
They are called officials in the game because they have the authority to maintain a nice and clean playing environment. Do not blame them for your shortcomings. If you have questions on certain calls, approach them with respect. You cannot win an argument if you treat them harshly.
Players see the way coaches treat the referees, and coaches should be the one to teach their players to respect others, and learn to communicate without arguing and yelling uncontrollably. Referees are humans also and they like to be treated fairly with respect. Talk to them and ask your questions in a non-aggressive tone in order convey your concerns in a most responsible and mature way.
Referees will also respect you by the way you are dealing with them. In addition, it is also a good idea to learn their first names, so you can effectively address them during the games. The chances of them responding or listening increases if they see that they get recognized.
Abusing and shouting at the referees may harm your team a number of ways: First, it reflects your coaching bad. When you focus on justices of appeal, meaning you do not focus on your team, that also means that you are missing moments for your players. Second, you cannot have answers on calls. Once you need to question a call there is a tendency that they will not listen to your appeal. This can cost you the game. Third, some calls might be done against you if you constantly harass referees. Some referees will start making calls against you deliberately. Fourth, terrible team play: players often imitate their coach’s ways. If you shout bad words to referees, your players will almost certainly do the same thing. This will result in your players to come on the wrong side of the judges. Even when they accuse officials rather than take responsibility for poor play, this can lead to negative mental state for the whole team.
4. Question a call in an assertive, but non-aggressive manner.
If you can still talk to the referee during breaks, take the opportunity to discreetly give him your concerns. If you have any questions to certain calls, referees are more likely to listen to criticism. Observe the referees’ body language and mode. If he does not care about what you are saying, stop the communication. If you shout and scream all the time, you might find yourself get kicked out off the game.
5. Serve as a role model
With influence and power comes great responsibility. Coaches have to accept and take this into consideration. I invite you to think very seriously about the example they give their players. Remember that players are a reflection of their coaches. Effectively treat a difficult situation as it sends a message of self-control and discipline to the team. Players, especially young ones, can often mimic the action of the head of the team. Players will tend to follow your ways, therefore you must serve as a good role model to your players.
Even if referees are poorly officiating the game, it is still the coach’s task to ensure that his players are always on top of their game. A strong coach can be able to express respect and patience as guiding principles towards success.
“Act immediately.” Better to live with a decision than linger with indecision. And for all we know, the Cowboys might already have made their decision. Just haven’t said. – Parcells
[info_box]Picture credit: JMRosenfeld • Creative Commons Attribution[/info_box]
the techniques you discussed are appreciative and works for the players. They must try to follow these as it will ultimately result in enhancing their performance. And yes one must avoid using abusive language as it works negatively.
thanks for your comment!
As a coach it is very important to be a role model in so many different ways … especially when talking to other players, coaches, parents and referees.
Players at young age adopt so many of our behaviours without us even realising.
Nice article. Do you ever think it’s appropriate for a coach to “take a technical.” I know many coaches at the college and pro levels use this strategy to help get their players fired up. Do you think it’s something a high school or youth coach should ever try? My personal opinion is no… but interested in what you think?
thanks for commenting!
In most cases I try to refocus my players to play their game, no matter which calls the ref makes, and I try to avoid technicals as I’d like to set a positive example for all players of mine. As coaches, we are role models.
In one particular game last season, though, I did take a technical! The ref was terrible. To not enforce the rules properly is one thing, and I can understand that there are many young referees, who are starting out and can’t cope with some situations due to their age. They do not have an easy job and I coaches should support them by handlin their players accordingly. But to let injury happen by letting the game slip is something I can’t tolerate. The opposing team was playing really hard and the ref didn’t make any calls at all. Both teams had like 4 fouls in total in the first have of the game, which is rediculous in an 18U league. The situation escalated when one of the other team’s player tripped my pointguard on purpose. It was so obvious that a flagrant foul had to be called, but nothing happened, no call, no stopping the game … nothing. I was shocked and screamed at the first referree. He gave me a ‘T’. Fortunately my pointguard wasn’t hurt, but I told the ref, that if he couldn’t continue to officiate and enforce according to the rules, my team and I would leave immediately and I would file a complaint.
Afterwards, in the locker room, I explained to my players what had happened to me, when got the technical. It was awesome! They said, that it was ok and they understand why I had reacted the way I did.
So, to answer your question: I’d rather not get a technical. The players, the coaching staff and the coach represent their club when playing games and my opinion is, that bad behaviour hurt the reputation of the whole basketball program. Getting a ‘T’ is a nono for all teams I supervise, but at times, the rule has to be broken.
Have you had a similar situation, when you got a technical? I’d like hear about your thoughts.
I support all you say, and while I haven;t been t’d up ( or even close to it) I had a recent experience that is making me change my approach a little. I generally try ot let the ef’s cal their game. If something looks opbvious I will remind them of the rule. Usually loud enough for them to hgear obvioiusly, and not angry. I want to eb sure they get it right the next time.
Last week started bad and got worse. I teach my kids to hold their ground and play defense witht heir hands up. They won;lt get called for fouls if they do. The other team has a dominant big man and we have been working hard to gameplan to stop him. First two time down he gets blocked so he goes in dtronger the next 2 and both time my player is a statue with his hands up., and both times gets called for a hack. Frustrated because my player did exactly as he shoudl and the ref called it wrong. I go from clapping for my player to what did you call? Anyway my reaction there sent the 2 young refs on a whistle fest. Balls four feet in bounds getting called out, My best point guard fouling out as he races for a lose ball, guys getting knocked down goign for lay-ups with no calls (looking at your comment about guys getting hurt hits home). Anyway I get told I am questioning every call, whiuch is true. I apologize after the game saying I wasn’t arguing, but had diustinct questions on every call ( i know it sounds like arguing but there is a different in approach and how said). Anyway I just caution that when the officiating is particuylarly bad, even the point things out and not argue approach can get you in trouble just because of shear volume. As you said in your comment below incredible impressed with my 7/8 graders for coming from 18 down to 6 down even after best player fouled out and understanding the situation on what I wa doing and playing positive and not blaming refs just because I was defending them. i also made sure they knew I tyalked to the ref’s after the game to discuss my approach and that while I questioned a lot of calls I was sure to not be argumentative or beligerent ad I apologized if they felt I was.
Good comment, thanks!
I think it is good to be a positive role model and showing your players to respect authority. Although you’ve put calls in question, you’ve explained to your players reasonably why. Good aproach!!
Thanks for the tips man, I play U15 and U16 in Scotland and theirs this Spanish ref in our league and he:
1) Calls travels when there is none (He called me for travels when other players did the same thing)
2) Calls fouls when a player doesn’t even touch the player
3) Doesn’t call obvious charges
3) He didn’t eject a player on the other team when he punched my on the face for blocking him.(The ref gave me a technical because he though I started the fight, I backed off)
4)The last game we had him I received a technical because I was complaining to my coach about it and the ref overheard.