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Old Sat Jan 14, 2006, 10:14pm
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A question from the coaching side of my brain...

We had a game recently that was very physical. The game was called VERY loosely by the refs, especially in the 2nd half. (I think 5 or 6 total fouls were called in the 2nd half.) This was a 7th grade game. Kids were flying all over the court, getting knocked down, elbowed, and, on more than one occasion, coming out of the game crying (something that just doesn't happen with this particular team team) and welts forming on arms, necks, heads, etc. I don't fault the refs for favoring one team over the other, but the level of play was allowed to get so rough and out-of-control that our team discussed forfeiting the game because we were concerned about someone getting seriously injured.

Question: Other than asking the referees to call the game closer for safety reason (which I did, but seemed to have no effect), what's the best course of action here?



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Old Sat Jan 14, 2006, 10:35pm
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>> level of play was allowed to get so rough and out-of-control<<

I believe this is one of the world's biggest myths: that officials control this play simply by their calls. In my experience, the EXACT same thing would have happened (bumps/crying/etc.) even had they called a lot of fouls, its just that the game would have taken much longer and the number of foul calls increased. More likely than not, the kids were agressively out of control, play wise, and that out of control posture is what caused the problems. Kids don't go "flying all over the court" because of something the official did or didn't do. Even if a call was missed, the whistle there wouldn't have healed any injury and its very doubtful it would have detered any future physical behavior -- at least the stuff you are talking about.

Now, its a completely other issue to say, "the officials allowed too many hacks on the shooter," or "didn't call the rebounding fouls, putting our smaller kids at a disadvantage." Those are legitimate issues, but you would have to assert that the game started smoothly and ran that way for a while, but got increasingly rougher as the kids figured out they could get away with more and more contact. I don't believe this is a natural tendency in basketball, and I'd be hard pressed to remember a game I had like that. Virtually all the time, like two games I had the other night, the game starts out with the kids out of control and remains that way regardless of what we call.
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Old Sat Jan 14, 2006, 10:41pm
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Sounds like Monday's game. Both teams in double bonus with 5 minutes to go. 4 DQs. Game took forever. But the game was a series of train wrecks, undisciplined play, and stupid fouls. Afterwards, my partner & I agreed it was a terrible game, but we called it as it needed to be called. The varsity officials concurred.
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Old Sat Jan 14, 2006, 10:54pm
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It is very possible that the game was called too loosely.

On the other hand, as I mentioned in a previous thread, sometimes kids are asked to do some things that they can't do. I'd say from the freshman level on down, kids don't have good body control and when they are asked to press full court and trap, they end up with a lot of blocking fouls and hacks. Even if the game is called closely, kids may not adjust to the way it is called. Also, the style of play is more helter-skelter now than I can remember. Disciplined play is not so common. I've had coaches say, "We don't have a lot of talent so we are going to run." Heck, if you want to see the skill deficits in a team, running is the first thing that will expose them. It takes skill to dribble with your head up, see the open player, pass on the run, fill the lanes, catch the ball and shoot on the run. If you don't have skill, you better walk the ball up the floor.
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Old Sat Jan 14, 2006, 11:15pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by hooper
A question from the coaching side of my brain...

Question: Other than asking the referees to call the game closer for safety reason (which I did, but seemed to have no effect), what's the best course of action here?



You were a coach during this game?

You have no influence on how your team plays the game?
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Old Sat Jan 14, 2006, 11:32pm
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If you truly think the refs were not calling enough you should have had your team clean their end of it up and it would make your point really obvious. But If its like I see it both teams were just playing dirty, suck it up and play tough to, play as tough as the refs are gonna let you.
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Old Sat Jan 14, 2006, 11:45pm
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Referee's are programmed to think "Aadvantage / Disadvantage" and that applies to establishing the games physicality.

It is very difficult to control a game that establishes itself as physical - if done equally by both teams.

Referee's are expected to be consistent. Every game has a flow to it and referee's adjust as it unfolds.

I wonder and ask you reply as to what the other teams coach was saying as well. If BOTH Coach's were asking for more fouls and complaining about the rough play - I'd say thats a first for me.

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Old Sat Jan 14, 2006, 11:47pm
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Wow! I'm really surprised by these defensive responses! I was hoping for something more thoughtful and constructive.

Perhaps I didn't give enough detail... this was a classic case of where the game starts out very ordinarily... and the players test the officials, as they sometimes do, to see what they'll call and won't call. The game became more and more aggressive as it went on, and by the third quarter most of the players were frustrated by the no calls and decided "Well, if he can get away with it, then I'll do the same thing." I actually stayed and watched the game after mine, which had the same officials, and saw exactly the same thing happen.

The more I think about it (and if the responses here are any indication of how difficult it would have been to do ANYTHING about during the game), I think I should have just called the game off. I know this is extreme, but in my 10 years of coaching, I've never seen anything like this happen. I feel lucky none of my kids were seriously injured. (We won the game, by the way, but I feel terrible about putting my kids into a situation like that. It wasn't fun for anyone.)
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Old Sat Jan 14, 2006, 11:48pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ref Daddy
Referee's are programmed to think "Aadvantage / Disadvantage" and that applies to establishing the games physicality.

It is very difficult to control a game that establishes itself as physical - if done equally by both teams.

Referee's are expected to be consistent. Every game has a flow to it and referee's adjust as it unfolds.

I wonder and ask you reply as to what the other teams coach was saying as well. If BOTH Coach's were asking for more fouls and complaining about the rough play - I'd say thats a first for me.

The opposing bench got a warning for complaining about the no calls, and their assistant coach eventually got a T in the second half. It was really quite bad.

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Old Sat Jan 14, 2006, 11:51pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by fonzzy07
If you truly think the refs were not calling enough you should have had your team clean their end of it up and it would make your point really obvious. But If its like I see it both teams were just playing dirty, suck it up and play tough to, play as tough as the refs are gonna let you.
I'm not going to encourage my team to play dirty, no matter what the circumstances. They did the best they could, given what was going on. Hopefully, this situation will never come up again to this degree, but if it does, I really would have to consider just pulling my kids off the court and saying "Thanks for the opportunity, but no thanks. We'll have a game next week, let's go for pizza."

So is there really nothing that can be done in this situation? Most of the time I have little, if any, issue with the refs in our league. But, sad as it might be, there are some duds out there.

[Edited by hooper on Jan 15th, 2006 at 12:02 AM]
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Old Sun Jan 15, 2006, 12:20am
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Quote:
Originally posted by hooper
Wow! I'm really surprised by these defensive responses! I was hoping for something more thoughtful and constructive.
... don't mean to be defensive intentionally but opening a thread on a referee forum indicating (suggesting) that the game was called VERY loosely by the refs seems to this responder to be a bit of a complaint.

As you identify yourself as a coach - I read "advocate".

That said a foul is a foul. The other stuff is "advantage/disadvantage". One coach's "rough play" is another coach's strategy to win. The referee has NOTHING to do with strategy.

You also say I don't fault the refs for favoring one team over the other and that suggested to me that it might be coach speak. Further you write that our team discussed forfeiting which sounds like another anti ref attitude.

Hence a tad of defensiveness perhaps.

To answer you directly: If you honestly feel the officals were putting saftey in question - call the association assigner and report that concern. It will be addressed I'm sure. I'd ask the other coach to chime in too.

... and thanks for working with the kid's Coach.


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Old Sun Jan 15, 2006, 12:55am
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after 13 years of oficiating, i have noticed more & more officials calling games this way. even though basketball is clearly not a non-contact sport, the game needs to be called. we are out there to protect the kids well -being as they play. you're getting paid. do your job!
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Old Sun Jan 15, 2006, 01:11am
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Quote:
Originally posted by johnfox
after 13 years of oficiating, i have noticed more & more officials calling games this way. even though basketball is clearly not a non-contact sport, the game needs to be called. we are out there to protect the kids well -being as they play. you're getting paid. do your job!
I agree, sometimes officials take shortcuts just to get the game over. Especially with rec games where you work multiple games and just want to get the hell out of there.
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Old Sun Jan 15, 2006, 01:20am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ref Daddy
Quote:
Originally posted by hooper
Wow! I'm really surprised by these defensive responses! I was hoping for something more thoughtful and constructive.
... don't mean to be defensive intentionally but opening a thread on a referee forum indicating (suggesting) that the game was called VERY loosely by the refs seems to this responder to be a bit of a complaint.

As you identify yourself as a coach - I read "advocate".

That said a foul is a foul. The other stuff is "advantage/disadvantage". One coach's "rough play" is another coach's strategy to win. The referee has NOTHING to do with strategy.

You also say I don't fault the refs for favoring one team over the other and that suggested to me that it might be coach speak. Further you write that our team discussed forfeiting which sounds like another anti ref attitude.

Hence a tad of defensiveness perhaps.

To answer you directly: If you honestly feel the officals were putting saftey in question - call the association assigner and report that concern. It will be addressed I'm sure. I'd ask the other coach to chime in too.

... and thanks for working with the kid's Coach.


Thanks for the suggestion about contacting the association assigner. That's the type of information I was looking for, along with any suggestion on how to handle the situation during the game.

And yes, I did have a complaint about the officiating (and being a newish referee myself, ableit at a rec level, I appreciate the difficulties of the position.) When I said "I don't fault the refs for favoring one team over the other," what I meant was I didn't think they were calling the game unevenly between the teams (as in the usual coach complaint "You have to call it both ways.") I think the non-calls (and calls) were equally distributed among the teams. My concern was their decision not to call fouls that seemed worthy of calls, thus resulting in injuries, tears, kids not having fun, etc.

I know myself that when I officiate, I make decisions all the time on what kind of contact warrants a foul call. My concern in this game was that the level of contact needed to get a whistle was extremely high. My feeling is that it became a safety issue for players on all teams.

I am by no means commenting on all officials... and in fact the refs in our area are generally very good and keep the game safe and fun for all! Thanks for your response.
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Old Sun Jan 15, 2006, 02:47am
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Who were the refs? Were they experienced or were they rookies or maybe even high school kids? Perhaps they were simply in over their heads. Younger kids games are most often the entry level for beginning officials but what many people do not realize is that a game such as the one you describe can be tougher to call than a varsity game.

As far as saying that the officials can do nothing to clean up this type of game, I disagree. Tighten up the foul calls, on both ends of course, and talk to the players as you line up for free throws. My favorite line:
"Clean it up guys. I promise you will all run out of fouls before I will."
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