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Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 11:01am
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Adjusting from 2-person to 3-person mechanics (2PO to 3PO)

Background: I am a junior veteran official (I have 3 years of experience with basketball, 3 with football, and 2 with baseball) who will be working a subvarsity basketball schedule next year. That said, I will be working camp and intramural games, and possibly a few varsity games as needed, so I would appreciate anything that would help me be comfortable officiating with 3-person mechanics.

What are the major adjustments you need to make when you move from working 2 person games to 3 person games? I have done much reading of the NFHS, IAABO, CCA Men's, CCA Women's and FIBA manuals, so I understand how 3 person mechanics should work (there are live-ball rotations in 3PO, in addition to transitions and dead-ball switches in 2PO; you have to switch on all fouls, unless you are already on the proper side of the court as the trail or center official; and the Illustrated High School Basketball Mechanics manual published by Referee also recommends that you stay near the sideline, unless you need to move to get a better angle), and have some practical experience with 3 person mechanics through camps and intramural basketball, so I do have some working knowledge of 3PO. However, I have yet to work a regular season scholastic game which uses 3PO, so I would appreciate any additional practical suggestions for adjusting to 3 person mechanics. If you are a newer varsity official, has there been anything specific that helped you adjust to working in 3-person crews? Experienced officials, what helped you out when you were a wide-eyed junior veteran looking to make the jump from all 2-person games to a mix of 2 and 3-person games?
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Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 11:36am
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The adjustment is knowing the differences. If you do not know the differences you will struggle. But 3 person has one more official and that shortens your coverage area. Not really hard in my book if you study the two systems for any amount of time and work both.

If you are not a good 2 person official, you will not be a good 3 person official IMO.

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Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 11:42am
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Here is a thread I made 5 years ago that might help you.

On top of that stuff, most important thing is to remember to call the game! Don't worry too much about what's your area, just call the game as you would normally. As you gain more experience you will understand your coverage area better and know where to look when. Definitely get video of yourself doing 3 person and analyze your game. Become your worst critic and ask for advice and fix the stuff you don't like.

If you're scared about missing a rotation as Trail when Lead goes over just remember if the ball is on the far side of the court (even above the FT line extended), then as Trail you need to look off ball. And most times when you look off ball you will see the Lead rotating across and will be able to pick it up!
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Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 11:49am
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The main differences that I found were working as the Center in general and when to rotate as the lead.

Center: The center position can be a change because this position is not available in a 2 man crew. The main things I notice from new Cs is that they do not get low enough and early on will tend to leave a good position because it is "time to rotate." Start free throw line extended (I usually start with my top foot at the free throw line extended because often there will be players lined up in front of you since they can start their offense there) and adjust to get angles. Curl plays are your responsibility as they are coming at you. Pick and roll plays are 2 referee plays, be in position to help the crew. I think the mechanics manual lists players 1234 or ABCD, you are generally going to have 3 and 4 (C and D) the screener and player guarding the screener. Don't leave a good position! If you have a great look at a primary match up in your area, don't move above the match-up just because the lead comes over. Referee the play in front of you and then adjust into position when the ball leaves your primary. On passes to your primary find the feet, then referee the defense and follow them to the point of contact.

Lead: I can't remember working with a lead new to 3 man that rotated too much. Probably an over generalization but thinking point. Rotate to put your crew in the best position, not just yourself. The lead will initiate the rotation of the crew about 95% of the time. Don't get stuck under the backboard as your crew will not know if they are T or C. Start your rotation, you can always kill it and back out if there is an immediate Shoot, Drive to the basket, or skip pass. Start to pay attention to what type of defense is being played (zone vs man) and what offense is being run as this will help you know what position to be in. If you know where the ball is going try to rotate to get in position while the ball is in the air, not once it is caught.

When you transition to the other end of the floor always look over your shoulder and find your partners in your peripheral vision. Everyone at some point has ended up with two leads or zero leads, try to prevent that. It is generally the job of the old lead new trail to "fix" busted rotations. Have fun, as 3 man is much easier on the legs, good for the games, and more enjoyable to work imo.
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Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 12:06pm
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I noticed that myself when I went to the annual camp for my second association. On the first day, I worked 3 2-man games and 2 3-man games. I was dead tired at the end of the day! However, when I worked 2 3-man games, I felt that I could work at least another 2 more games in the 3-man system, because it is a lot less tiring (not that I hustle less). For intramurals, I regularly did shifts of 3 3-man games, and I felt after each shift that I could have worked a fourth game with no ill effects.

I also enjoy 3-man more, because I can get better angles and focus more on the off-ball stuff (the illegal screens, impeding the cutters, 3 seconds, etc.) from the outside positions than in 2-man, because I don't have to cover the same gigantic primary area that I must with 2 officials. As the lead, I feel freer to help the outside official by rotating in 3-man than I do going ball-side in 2-man.

What I have noticed so far in my 3-man games is that I do make calls, but I sometimes feel that other people are beating me to the punch on calls in my primary area (either I am about to blow the whistle and they blow ahead of me, or I blow the whistle at the same time as them). However, the calls that I do manage to make without stepping on my partners or being stepped on tend to be correct, because I work to be in good position and focus on the actions of the defenders. Any tips to get quicker timing?

I also do not hesitate to rotate, but sometimes I see that the rotation situation has fallen apart as soon as I am on the other side. Is that something that often happens to you, and how do you deal with that?
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Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 12:20pm
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Hardest thing is when going between the two is remembering what year it is so you know which side of the table to go on free throws as it changes about every other years it seems like.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 12:21pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNIPERBBB View Post
Hardest thing is when going between the two is remembering what year it is so you know which side of the table to go on free throws as it changes about every other years it seems like.
Is that a state change? We have been going tableside for years at the high school level here. We have just as long as I can remember go opposite table in Men's college. I cannot even remember when was the last time either level used the other mechanic.

Peace
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Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 12:30pm
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I've lost track of Ohio's change here lately. Last year we started going opposite in three man and it wasn't a that long ago we were opposite in two man, but I think it switched back again.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 12:32pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilyazhito View Post
What I have noticed so far in my 3-man games is that I do make calls, but I sometimes feel that other people are beating me to the punch on calls in my primary area (either I am about to blow the whistle and they blow ahead of me, or I blow the whistle at the same time as them). However, the calls that I do manage to make without stepping on my partners or being stepped on tend to be correct, because I work to be in good position and focus on the actions of the defenders. Any tips to get quicker timing?

I also do not hesitate to rotate, but sometimes I see that the rotation situation has fallen apart as soon as I am on the other side. Is that something that often happens to you, and how do you deal with that?
You should not be looking to increase your whistle timing. Repetitive double whistles are a good sign that you or your partners are refereeing outside of their PCA. That discussion should be with your crew about primaries. Primary coverage should have a primary whistle, secondary coverage area secondary whistle if a whistle at all. Start, develop, finish, decision. If the whistle is coming at the exact point of contact/violation there are other issues.

The rotation situation did not "fall apart." Maybe one of the situations arose in which you should have backed out of the rotation: Drive, Shoot, Pass. The ball position and players could have changed since you rotated, this does not mean it was a bad rotation but another rotation might need to happen. There is no limit to the amount of times you can rotate in a possession.
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Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 12:34pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
Is that a state change? We have been going tableside for years at the high school level here. We have just as long as I can remember go opposite table in Men's college. I cannot even remember when was the last time either level used the other mechanic.

Peace
IAABO states rotate opposite table in high school in line with mens college mechanic and opposite of NFHS. If people move states or their state adopts IAABO it could warrant a change to the side of rotation.
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Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 12:40pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdoebler View Post
IAABO states rotate opposite table in high school in line with mens college mechanic and opposite of NFHS. If people move states or their state adopts IAABO it could warrant a change to the side of rotation.
I get that if you change a state that might be an issue for some. But I added a state and nothing changed. I guess what I was asking was how often is a place changing their switching mechanics? I asked because the NF or my original state has not changed that in well over 15 years. College Men's changed about the same time to the other side and nothing has happened since. My point unless you live in those states that changed all the time, there is not much adjustment to this one small area of the mechanics.

Peace
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Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 12:54pm
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OK. Now I know about what really needs to be hammered down in 3-person pre-game conferences: Primary areas and their intersections. That way neither I nor my partners will be making calls outside our primary areas without good reasons to do so.

RE: Rotations, thanks for the advice. I'll keep that in mind, and go back if the ball goes back to the other side, or if a pass, shot, drive causes me to abort the planned rotation.

About no limit to the amount of rotations, does that apply to shot clock games? AFAIK, CCA Men's and Women's manuals discourage rotations at 5 seconds on the shot clock or less. Is it the same for high school shot clock games, in the states that do use a shot clock at the high school level (MD,DC,CA,MA,RI,NY,WA,ND,SD)?
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Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 01:06pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilyazhito View Post
OK. Now I know about what really needs to be hammered down in 3-person pre-game conferences: Primary areas and their intersections. That way neither I nor my partners will be making calls outside our primary areas without good reasons to do so.
You work with veterans or the further you go in your career, this will never be a topic of discussion in many cases before a game.

I was at a camp this weekend and there were officials that I worked with that not one time we talked about our primary or secondary coverage and I have never met them before the camp or will likely see many of them again unless we are both on the same staff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilyazhito View Post
About no limit to the amount of rotations, does that apply to shot clock games? AFAIK, CCA Men's and Women's manuals discourage rotations at 5 seconds on the shot clock or less. Is it the same for high school shot clock games, in the states that do use a shot clock at the high school level (MD,DC,CA,MA,RI,NY,WA,ND,SD)?
I have never heard anyone suggest we should not rotate when needed. Even under 5 seconds on the shot clock you still should rotate under the right circumstances. Mechanics are not hard-fast rules, they are guides. There are always exceptions to things that are even in the book for a lot of reasons if you have the experience to know when to deviate.

Peace
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Old Mon Jul 02, 2018, 06:40pm
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The main difference is that two-person games follow the mechanics from the two person manual and three-person games follow the mechanics for the three-person manual.

Learn them separately and remember them separately.

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  #15 (permalink)  
Old Tue Jul 03, 2018, 11:05am
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There is always going to be a learning curve when transitioning from 2-person to 3 person mechanics. The biggest thing to remember is to call your primary and call the game. Everything will come to more games that you work. I noticed that you talk about working Intramurals and that you work 3-person but then bounce back to 2-person. I remembering having to do that when I worked intramurals and were coming up the ranks. I got a mentor who helped me out who was also my supervisor for intramurals and she helped me out tremendously and I owe a lot to her for starting me off on the right foot.

My advice would be to keep doing what you are doing and doing but look into getting a mentor who can help you. Everything will come in the time it is like anything else you have to see enough plays in both 2-person and 3-person and things will click. We are still learning and even with all the levels that I am working I still am finding ways to get better in both 2-person and 3-person.
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