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Old Tue May 28, 2019, 11:00am
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2-Person Mechanics Thought Experiment

In 2-person mechanics, the officials become Lead and Trail after the initial jump ball ends. However, those positions leave much to be desired when it comes to court coverage, because there is no good way to cover plays on the side opposite the Trail without sacrificing Lead coverage in the post. Plays above the free-throw line extended opposite the Trail are also difficult to cover, because the Trail might not have a good angle.

Transition is another difficult area for 2-person crews, because one official will be ahead of the players and the other behind (with no-one in the middle to watch the middle 3rd of players and recover should there be a quick change of direction). For these reasons, I have thought about modifying 2-person mechanics to include a Trail and Center instead of a Trail and Lead.
I think that Trail and Center would be easier to work, because there won't be as many long transitions (C hangs back as T, T would move to C). Switches on fouls would be easier (just cross the court, official who administers throw-in will be trail; C administers free throws and watches shooter/opposite spaces, T watches opposite spaces and perimeter. Rebounding responsibilities will be T strongside, C weakside). In the frontcourt, T will move to C and officiate off-ball if the ball and multiple match ups leave his area. C will become Trail when the ball enters his area and he has multiple matchups. This will be akin to the movements of a 3-person crew during a rotation (initiated by Lead, except for high pressure on the ball).

By encouraging proper off-ball coverage, and keeping the PCAs similar to 3-person, a Trail and Center system would provide better court coverage than the current Trail and Lead system, where neither position truly resembles their 3-person namesake. A T-C system, along with teaching officials how to work and move as the Lead, would significantly ease the transition of officials from the 2-person system to the 3-person system. What do you think?
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Old Tue May 28, 2019, 11:11am
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All I will say, there is a reason there are 3 officials and not 2 in many varsity games at the higher level. If there are issues with 2 person to 3 person transition, that is on the people that teach it in your area or the officials commitment to learning 3 person. I do not see how changing the system helps that transition.

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Old Tue May 28, 2019, 11:58am
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Tell Us Something We Already Don't Know ...

Four officials would be better than three. Three officials are better than two. Two officials are better than one (some states allow for one official games in extreme circumstances, not all, but some). Three officials are more expensive than two officials.

Tell us something we already don't know.

For argument sake, maybe a center would be better than a lead in a two person game? Are you doing it because it's really better, or because it eases the two to three person transition? If so, they're eventually going to have to learn the lead position.

Here in Connecticut, where 90 plus % of regular season varsity games, and all state tournament games before the quarterfinals, are two person games, the powers that be seem to be pleased with two person mechanics just the way we've been doing it for many years. Sure, a little tweak here and there, but pretty much the same for a very long time.

And as far as I know, 99% of interscholastic subvarsity games (including middle school) are two person games, as are 99 plus % of all travel and recreation games, adults and kids, both genders.

Games on all levels, have to be officiated. Many games will never see three person crews. Never. Ever.

It's not always about easing the transition of officials from a two person system to the three person system. We have training sessions, workshops, seminars, camps, and scrimmages in place for those that want to learn the three person system.

Even in states that have used varsity three person crews for a long time, I'm willing to bet that there are a lot more games (subvarsity, middle school, travel, recreation, etc.) officiated with two officials than with three officials.

Why change the the whole system, a system that's worked fairly well for so long, for a small percentage of games officiated?

You want to upset the apple cart and have guys learn a three person system with only two officials so they can be successful in their three person games, ignoring the fact that many of those guys will be doing many many two person games on off nights and weekends, and many may never work a varsity game ever, certainly not a three person varsity game.

Not every basketball game played needs to look like an NBA or WNBA game. Not every basketball official needs to look like an NBA or WNBA official.

There's a lot of basketball to be played and officiated below the NBA and WNBA level, below the college level, below the high school varsity level, and yes, below the high school level. While lower level games may be training grounds for players and officials moving to higher level games, it shouldn't be the end all.

Newly retired from my day job, with a chronic ankle injury, I worked a lot of middle school games this past season with many officials. Yes, some are rookies and are on their way up the ladder, but many are "middle school officials for life", and by that I mean, while they may be great officials, they just want to work afternoons at nearby local middle schools, avoiding rush hour travel, observations, and politics of the varsity "game". Others are very poor officials who will never see the light of a varsity game, many aren't naive and already know that, and may just want stay involved with the game of basketball, and make some easy cash. With the exception of those moving up the ladder, most don't need any easing of the transition of from a two person system to the three person system, most will never see a three person game. Never. Ever.
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Last edited by BillyMac; Tue May 28, 2019 at 01:07pm.
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Old Tue May 28, 2019, 01:10pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyMac View Post
It's not always about easing the transition of officials from a two person system to the three person system. We have training sessions, workshops, seminars, camps, and scrimmages in place for those that want to learn the three person system.
I cannot speak for everyone's area. But we do not limit what people try to get exposed to with either system. Not sure why you would change a system for people that have no desire to work 3 person in the first place. We have IHSA state-run camps and it is up to each official to decide what camps they will attend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyMac View Post
Why change the the whole system, a system that's worked fairly well for so long, for a small percentage of games officiated?

You want to upset the apple cart and have guys learn a three person system with only two officials so they can be successful in their three person games, ignoring the fact that many of those guys will be doing many many two person games on off nights and weekends, and many may never work a varsity game ever, certainly not a three person varsity game.

Not every basketball game played needs to look like an NBA or WNBA game. Not every basketball official needs to look like an NBA or WNBA official.

There's a lot of basketball to be played and officiated below the NBA and WNBA level, below the college level, below the high school varsity level, and yes, below the high school level. While lower level games may be training grounds for players and officials moving to higher level games, it shouldn't be the end all.
This is the part I 1000% agree with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyMac View Post
Newly retired from my day job, with a chronic ankle injury, I worked a lot of middle school games this past season with many officials. Yes, some are rookies and are on their way up the ladder, but many are "middle school officials for life", and by that I mean, while they may be great officials, they just want to work afternoons at nearby local middle schools, avoiding rush hour travel, observations, and politics of the varsity "game". Others are very poor officials who will never see the light of a varsity game, many aren't naive and already know that, and may just want stay involved with the game of basketball, and make some easy cash. With the exception of those moving up the ladder, most don't need any easing of the transition of from a two person system to the three person system, most will never see a three person game. Never. Ever.
They will not see that during any varsity or college level game. They might see it in the summer during some AAU/Travel tournament, but not during when the lights are the hottest. It is up to each official to put in the effort to learn the system they want to be exposed to and on them to learn the system they are working to get acclimated to those levels.

I worked 3 person in my first year. My state was going to 3 person for all playoff games in my second year. I was asked if I was willing to work with some people so they could learn the system themselves. That was on me to say "sure" or not limit my knowledge. By my third year, I was working all varsity and every game was a 3 person game as well. No one had to teach me anything that I was not willing to learn. If you have to change an entire system for a few people, you are not serving the community very well. We have people in our area only going to camps so they can get their very basic qualifications just to keep their license.

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Old Tue May 28, 2019, 01:31pm
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Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
If you have to change an entire system for a few people, you are not serving the community very well.
Well stated. What I said in several paragraphs JRutledge stated in one sentence.
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Old Tue May 28, 2019, 02:16pm
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The main goal for this thought experiment was to provide improved court coverage relative to the existing system. I believe that a T-C system would address the deficiencies of the current system in transition coverage, and would ensure proper 2-person coverage of both sides of the court at all times.

The fact that a T-C system might ease transition from 2 officials to 3 is but a byproduct of the system. What do you think about the T-C system on its own, without any reference to 3-person?
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Old Tue May 28, 2019, 02:41pm
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A Lead is needed to officiate the post and the end line.

Trail can adjust positioning to be either Trail or Center oriented based on coverage needs.

Lead needs to rotate when needed. Trail needs to crossover halfway point when needed.

That's all that is needed.
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Old Tue May 28, 2019, 02:51pm
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Pick A Prize From The Top Shelf ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
A Lead is needed to officiate ... the end line.
Bingo. 'Nough said. End of discussion. Turn out the lights on your way out. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. Say goodnight, Gracie. Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it's time to go. Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it's time to go. I hate to leave you, I really must say, so goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight.

Or maybe we can have dedicated linemen, like in tennis, that just watch the boundaries.

Sit right back and enjoy some classic Spaniels from 1953. I listened to them while I was in my mother's womb.

https://youtu.be/YrU8LZHJnak
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Last edited by BillyMac; Tue May 28, 2019 at 03:09pm.
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Old Wed May 29, 2019, 07:03am
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While i appreciate the thought and effort that went into trying to create a 2 person systems who's angles and mechanics better overlaps with 3 person while trying to improve court coverage, as an academic exercise is interesting but the practicalities don't line up.

1) You need a lead. Whether 3 person role or 2 person role. You physically need someone entrenched on the baseline with a north south view of the key and what is happening there. Side angles only give 1 side of the story and with the amount on contact that happens in post play, rim finishes and rebounds someone needs different clean look.

2) The coverages you are talking about doing a better job on aren't issues/problems in most youth games. Prior to high school and adults. Most youth players aren't sophisticated enough or the players aren't big enough to create congestion, have significant off ball plays, or cause chaos almost anywhere but on the ball and in the paint. The amount of other stuff you have to officiate other than on ball and at the rim is generally less significant because of the abilities of the players, the lack of movement/screening/athleticism of kids involved and the less subtle techniques and tactics.

3) When transition stuff and off ball stuff becomes a large problem there are generally 2 culprits a) The athletes and game have become so athletic and sophisticated you should have 3 officials b) the officials involved arent up to scratch physically or ability wise but have ended up on a game anyway. In either case its not a mechanics issue. If we made Venn diagram of issues by the time you got to two man games that should be two man games done by competent and capable officials who are having problems because of 2 person mechanics I woudl argue you are down to a pretty small sample size of situations and games.
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Old Wed May 29, 2019, 08:38am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilyazhito View Post
The fact that a T-C system might ease transition from 2 officials to 3 is but a byproduct of the system. What do you think about the T-C system on its own, without any reference to 3-person?
Middle school, Men's leagues and often lower level high school are going to need a lead official. Most calls come from the lead official at all level of games. The game is basic, most things happen near the basket. If you make it more complicated and this will to keep people away from that basket, they will struggle to get plays near the basket right. And most games the action is not that sophisticated to where you would have that kind of need as an official to be somewhere else other than at the lead position.

You are just making things overly complicated when they are basically simple. Not every official is in need of making that transition if they cannot call the game right with the system we have. We cannot get officials to understand rotations which are key in 3 person and now you are making them do something they likely will not understand the same way. Not to say we cannot have the Trail move more, but we have a hard time getting younger officials to understand that and you got both officials doing something that might be even a harder concept to understand for something the game does not need. The game still takes place mostly around the basket.

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Old Wed May 29, 2019, 08:58am
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Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
You are just making things overly complicated when they are basically simple. Not every official is in need of making that transition if they cannot call the game right with the system we have.
Just because ilyazhito has his high goals of working NBA games (and Division I college, FIBA Olympics, etc.) as soon as possible doesn't mean that everybody should start their officiating career working fourth grade youth basketball with three person crews, restricted areas, and a shot clock.

While these rule and mechanics changes would certainly grease the skids for him, making his trip up the officiating ladder easier (pardon the mixed metaphors, grease isn't a good idea on a ladder), it's not in the best interest of basketball in general.



What's good for the goose may not be good for the gander.
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Last edited by BillyMac; Wed May 29, 2019 at 11:20am.
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Old Wed May 29, 2019, 11:45am
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I never said the above. While 3-person crews, shot clocks, and the restricted area are appropriate for high school (9th grade and above) and higher level games, I never suggested that they are appropriate for the 4th-grade youth game. I would selectively introduce 3-person crews with competitive 7th/8th grade games, and then add on more complications as the level increases (shot clock for high school, restricted area for high school by state adoption (unless NFHS chooses to approve it nationally) and college).

My thoughts about Trail and Center mechanics were to develop a viable system for subvarsity games where 3-person mechanics should be used, based on quality of play and the playing style, but where costs and other considerations prevent a 3-person crew from being employed. This was an attempt to improve the 2-person system for scholastic games where it is used, despite it not being a good solution to the modern game of basketball.

The traditional 2-person system is more than adequate for youth and lower level games, because the teams are not yet good enough to take advantage of the areas where the traditional 2-person system fails (off-ball coverage, transition play, coverage of plays away from the Trail).
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Old Wed May 29, 2019, 12:14pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilyazhito View Post

My thoughts about Trail and Center mechanics were to develop a viable system for subvarsity games where 3-person mechanics should be used, based on quality of play and the playing style, but where costs and other considerations prevent a 3-person crew from being employed.
So now we are back to the venn diagram problem. The system you are proposing is for a subset of games with the conditions of:
*subvarsity
*with quality of play between opponents that 2 competent, fit quality officials can't handle
*style of play that 2 competent, fit quality officials can't manage
*where they could have 3 person if costs/other factors didn't interfere

I'm sure you could certain regions, tournaments, areas where you might be able to get a higher frequency of games that meet these criteria but if you look at subvarsity games as a whole this is a pretty narrow niche for an entirely different structure.

I don't know a lot of subvarsity games that 2 high level officials can't manage effectively under their current roles.

And regardless of the level of subvarsity play you still need someone with vision from under the rim on plays in the paint IMO.
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Old Wed May 29, 2019, 12:19pm
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No Getting Around It ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilyazhito View Post
I never said the above.
Fair point (although I was being hyperbolic). While your intent may be good, it still reeks of an easier path for you as you deal with your (as I believe from your posts) motley schedule of subvarsity high school games, varsity high school games, junior (community) college games, and possibly Division II or III games. Of course your officiating would be easier, and your performance much better if you used the same rules and mechanics for all levels.

A few esteemed Forum members have already posted about the need for a lead, all the time, at all levels, there's no getting around it.
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Old Wed May 29, 2019, 12:27pm
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Can't You See That ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantherdreams View Post
I don't know a lot of subvarsity games that 2 high level officials can't manage effectively under their current roles.
Pantherdreams: Don't worry about the players, the game, or the quality of officiating, worry about the ease of learning how to work the trail and center of future three person games (but actually in a two person game) so that one can improve the quality of one's three person officiating so that one can move up the ladder quickly. This the most important factor in this experiment. Yeah, that's what's most important here. It's all about the continuing education of the official. Let's call it official centered, or maybe, officialcentric, with the official, and his constant need to improve for only the sake of moving up the ladder to higher and higher levels, being the center of the basketball universe (should I have used a blue font, no, I think you get it).

Side note, here in Connecticut, the purpose of subvarsity high school games is so that players can have fun and learn to play better, and so that officials can start their careers in games that don't "count". Nobody keeps track of wins and losses. It's common knowledge that officials will often make mistakes. Oddly, high school freshman and junior varsity games here in Connecticut have less "impact" than middle school games, where we have middle school leagues, wins, losses, championships, gymnasium banners, etc. I got bigger and louder crowds at my middle school games last season than at my junior varsity and freshman games (of course all the fans came to see me, I'm worth the price of admission (free)).
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Last edited by BillyMac; Wed May 29, 2019 at 12:57pm.
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