Dealing with referees

Referees have the impossible task of trying to point out every reasonable instance that rules are not followed. Sometimes, they get some things wrong.

If you have been around basketball at any level, for any amount of time, you have seen a referee miss calls or misinterpret infractions. Whether they are youth sports volunteers, part-time high school refs, or professionals, they all make mistakes just the same.

In a competitive atmosphere such as basketball, it is not tough to get heated when things like calls aren't going your way. Turnovers and mental errors are within your control as a player, but when something outside of your control like not getting calls starts happening, it can take you out of your zone. What are you supposed to do in these scenarios?

Sometimes it may be easier said than done, but you must always do your best to shrug-off bad calls and not let them get to you. Referees are human, and are prone to make the same types of errors with calls that players sometimes make with the basketball. Keeping your head in the game and not letting referees get to you is the best thing that you can do for your team.

Never let your emotions overcome you by slamming the ball, throwing your hands up, or verbally displaying your frustration. These things show your opponents weakness. If a foul call, accurate or inaccurate, can get under your skin, so can an opposing player.

Maintaining a next-play mentality is a key in the game of basketball. If you get called for a charge or travel, give up the ball and try to make up for it on defense. If you are called for a a bad foul, shake it off and be a little more careful next time, but still play hard. One of the worst things you can do for your team is start to accumulate technicals and take yourself out of the game, so always keep your cool.

Malicious referees

Once again - refs are people too. They are not only prone to some mistakes, but some other human flaws as well. Rarely, you may cross paths with a referee or two that make things too personal. Maybe they have a bias toward one team that skews the whistle blowing. Maybe they don't like your face. Hey, I'm sure you have a great face, but not all refs are going to be great people.

How do you handle these kinds of refs? Glad you asked! You handle them the same darn way.

The number one thing you can do if you feel like "getting back" at a terrible ref is to be unflappable. When someone is trying to get under your skin, keeping your cool and acting like you don't even notice is the best way to make them feel ridiculous.

The crowd may be getting rowdy as well as your teammates or coach. Parents - calling out refs from the stands will likely just make matters worse. They aren't going to reverse any calls; don't give them a reason to prolong their biased whistle blowing. Players - if your teammates are getting heated, go cool them off. Get between them and their issues, make eye-contact, and explain to them that their energy is needed for the game.

The individuals most equipped to deal with these situations are the coaches. Coaches - you need to keep your cool as well. Feel free to engage in occasional conversations with the refs, but don't scream. If you act reasonably, the refs are more likely to respond reasonably.

There have been some unfortunate instances of emotions boiling over recently that have been floating around online. Some have even turned physical. Remember, keep your cool and let your play and demeanor do the talking. We all want to win, but at the end of the day, the players, coaches, fans, and even referees are their because we all love the GAME.