Posted by Billy Martin,

Like a pilot leading a pre-flight check … the referee should take control of the pregame crew discussion. Here are some tools to help with a comprehensive two and three person crew pregame talk.


It doesn’t matter how many years of experience an airplane pilot might have … before EACH and EVERY flight the “pilot in charge” reviews a comprehensive checklist  before even firing up the engines or taxiing out onto the runway.  Even if they have flown thousands of times before in the same aircraft, with the same co-pilot … they still take the time to do their “pre-flight checks” to increase the likelihood of a smooth and uneventful journey.


While a basketball game might not require the same meticulous and rigid checks and balances it does merit a methodical approach to preparing the crew for any eventual situations and problems on the court.


Here’s my take on a solid pregame discussion.

  • The “R” Takes the Lead: If you are assigned as the Referee (or crew chief) it’s YOUR responsibility to lead the pregame discussion.  Take this as responsibility above and beyond the normal game assignment.  Just as the referee (typically) will toss the ball to start the game – you should initiate the pregame / locker room talk as well.  If the “R” fails to initiate that conversation — you (as a crew member) prompt them – gently and appropriately.  “Hey Mr. R, what types of things should we discuss before going out there tonight,” might be a good way to start that dialogue.
  • Five Minutes is Better than None:  While I truly believe a good pregame takes about ten minutes to be covered properly – if you only have a few minutes, take advantage of them and use it wisely.  It’s better to prioritize a few key items than walk onto the court without any discussion.  If only five minutes, make sure to talk about the big items – like PCA’s, line coverages, last second shots, etc.


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