9 Tips to Improve Your Mechanics

As basketball officials, making a correct call is always our number one priority. However, another piece of officiating is the ability to ‘look the part.’ In other words, how believable are you as an official?

It goes without saying that you should be hustling up and down the court to get in the best possible position/angle to make the correct call. This only portrays your professionalism to not only coaches and players – but also other officials who may spread the good word about how excellent of a ref you are and assigners who may be responsible for assigning you games and helping you move up in the industry.

While the above may be common sense, there is one other piece of ‘looking the part.’ I call it your ‘believability’ as an official.

In a game where players are trying ‘sell’ a foul call to you as an official, whether it be flopping or pleading their case for a foul to be called, there is also this same concept at play on the reffing side of the game.

You may have heard officials say, “You need to sell the call to make sure coaches believe you.” While that may be true at some length, if you are making correct calls and communicating with all parties, you shouldn’t have to ‘sell’ a call.

Just like the rulebook has specific rules, we, as officials, need to do our due diligence to practice proper and approved mechanics. If we display confidence, knowledge of the rules, encourage player safety, and use proper mechanics in a sharp manner, we are doing our job as officials to serve the game.

Let’s walk through 9 mechanics that we had on a previous Individual Performance Report (IPR).

1. Hit

    • Pop out off-arm
    • Fist strikes the forearm
    • Use high & low hits depending on where the contact was

2. Hold

    • Grip forearm or wrist at shoulder level
    • Extend arms outward to add pop and the finishing touch

3. Charge

    • Stop the clock
    • Use behind the head signal, punch or simply just point in the new direction
    • Be versatile and switch up your options depending on the moment

4. Score it!

    • Use the two finger flush or score it with a fist
    • Vary your options by switching hands

5. Numbers

    • Stop – then pop out your numbers
    • Hold numbers up an extra second to avoid bookkeeper errors 
    • Present them at eye level

6. Pointing

    • Use 1, 2 or 5 fingers (depending on your organization)
    • Discard loose fingers
    • Extend arm out with a snap

7. Travel

    • Present at chest level
    • Three ½ revolutions
    • Same motion as hitting a speed bag

8. Three Pointer

    • Use three fingers or the whole hand
    • Be big and tall
    • Similar to NFL field goal

9. Stopping the Clock

    • Keep it simple and slow it down
    • Exploding up fast looks like you’re in a rush

To see the entire video of us taking you through each mechanic, click BELOW!