Next week, we are going to offer some suggestions about setting goals for the 2019-2020 basketball season. Anytime you are going to set goals, you must evaluate where you are, and where you have been. Take a look back, so you can look forward. So, let’s take a minute to evaluate last season.

I would recommend watching a game tape from last year to evaluate where you are. Sit down with a mentor or another official and take a honest look at yourself. Watching ourselves on video is an invaluable way to evaluate!  We are going to look at 4 categories to help guide our evaluation;  Knowledge, Application, Communication, Potential.

Let’s Start with Rules Knowledge

How well do you know the rules?   When you are with a group of officials discussing plays, do you know the proper way to administer each scenario before the group does?  Or are you second guessing yourself?  The great thing about discussing plays with others is that typically, we throw out scenarios that “could” happen, but aren’t very likely.  These discussions force us to layer multiple rules and really think about how rules relate to each other.  When we dig down into the rules this way, it helps us to understand them in such a way that there is no hesitation in making a ruling during a game.

How well do you know your floor mechanics? It’s not just about how you communicate your calls. It is also about being in the right place at the right time to see a play. The basic floor mechanics and movements will get you pretty close. Honing in on the skill of making small adjustments to see plays takes practice.

Basic understanding of floor mechanics is going to put you in a good position most of the time to make rulings. However, understanding the basic strategies of the game (and how it changes almost yearly) is going to help you make adjustments to ensure you are in position to see the play. Learning the tendencies of players as the game progresses is also going to help you be in the right spot to see the play.

Knowledge Leads to Application

You can’t apply what you don’t know. Looking at your game tape, what did you see that looked a little off? Whatever it was, there was a crack in your ability to apply one of the concepts above; rules knowledge, floor mechanics, and basic strategies of the game. Did you give appropriate signals? Were you in the proper positions? Did you demonstrate accurate judgment? How did you handle unusual situations? Did you demonstrate decisiveness?

Chances are, if there was a time in your game where it felt a little off, there is a reason why it didn’t feel quite right. Try to determine what it is and let that lead you to an honest evaluation of the play.


Good communication begins when you arrive at the game site. We have all heard that we start our officiating job the moment we step foot on campus. Every interaction communicates something to someone at the school. Are you well dressed? Physically fit? Do you look good in your uniform? Do you hustle? These are intangibles that will all add up to either a positive or negative impression and this will have an effect on how you are perceived during the contest. Will your communication make it easier or harder for you to do your job on the court?

During the contest, communicating appropriately and effectively with players, coaches, and partners is paramount. This all starts when you arrive on campus, and ends when you are off.


Finally, as you evaluate yourself, determine what you think your potential is. If you have honestly evaluated yourself, next week, it will be even easier to set goals for yourself as you move forward. Determine now what you think your potential is. Keep in mind, whatever level you aspire to gain, your potential on the court isn’t defined by that level. There is a great article in the October issue of Referee Magazine that every official should read – “Two Ways to Move Up.” It highlights the importance of always getting better no matter what level you are working, or aspire to work – “If you aren’t ripening, you’re rotting!”

Reference:  NASO Model Evaluation Form - Download at NASO