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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2013, 20:15 

Posts: 5
Forgive me for the long post, but I need advice and I also need to vent. I am extremely upset with what occurred at my game today. I coach one 7th Grade basketball team and serve as assistant for the other 7th Grade team at the middle school. My assistant serves as the Head Coach for the other 7th Grade team. The two officials we had for the game, I will call one Younger Official and the other Elder Official. We live in a small town, Younger Official has disliked me personally since before I started coaching. Elder Official has been the only official to kick out my Assistant Coach when he serves as Head Coach for his team, this has occurred more than once. I did not feel comfortable with these officials at all.

My team has yet to win a game, but they have been improving every game and really turned it up at practice yesterday. I feel like we could have won today. There was a lot of questionable calls to say the least. For example we knocked the ball loose from them and while the ball was loose the other coach called and was awarded a time out, even though neither team had possession of the ball. I felt the game was being called one sided from the get go. I started yelling things like "travel", "foul" when the officials wouldn't call it. I rarely act like that but I got frustrated, still I didn't feel like that was such a big deal. We were still only down by 1 in the 3rd quarter when things went downhill. One of my players stole the ball and came down the court on a fast break, right in front of our bench. 1 defender was trailing and when he got close enough he shoved my player with one hand. It was an obvious shove and I didn't like it. I yelled, "Flagrant foul," I was thinking Intentional Foul but Flagrant foul came out. There was no call until the rest of both teams caught up, when they did call a foul on another player. I asked why there was no Flagrant Foul called, again I meant to say Intentional Foul. The Young Official turned to me and said, "He was going for the ball, you can't call a flagrant when he's going for the ball."

I replied, "He was going for the ball shoving him in the back?"
Young Official said, "He was trying to go through your boy."
I said, "He can't go through my boy, that's a foul."
Young Official replied, "Read the rule book."
He then took off cause the ball was live again. We were in a disagreement, but fairly cordial in our conversation except when he suggested I read the rule book. I shook it off thinking I deserved it for yelling "travel" and "foul" earlier in the game. The opposing team got the ball on a fast break with one of my big man trailing. The offensive player jumped stop and my big man couldn't stop quick enough and ran him over. They called the foul and I went to the scorer's table to check if that big man was now in foul trouble. Young Official ran over to the scorer's table to inform the scorekeeper who the foul was on. After he called it he turned to me and said, "Was that a flagrant too coach?"
I was in shock, I thought that was extremely unprofessional and inappropriate, am I wrong? From this point on the other team pulled away and I feel like it got even more one sided at this point until the end of the game.

Later, in the 4th quarter my other big man got a rebound but couldn't make the outlet pass, because the defense was all over him. He felt he was getting foul and the officials weren't calling it, when they finally did he was upset and without thinking (or looking) he through the ball to Elder Official. Elder Official was signaling to the scorekeeper who the foul was on and almost got hit with the ball. My big man did not throw it at the official hard, he just wasn't paying attention and through it to the official who wasn't paying attention either. Elder Official yelled at my player, and I mean yelled, "Don't throw the ball at me." My big man mouth off back, which I didn't approve of, but I don't think Elder Official had the right to yell at one of my players. Am I wrong again?

I take responsibility for my complaining, however I stand by my beliefs and my big man, although he should not have mouthed off. One last interesting point, the opposing team intentionally shoved my boys 3 times, 1 of which was called. One of my players accidentally ran over another player and, righfully so they called that one. This all seemed very inappropriate at this age.

How should I have handled this? How do I handle the next game these men officiate? I feel like my boys got cheated out of their first win which would have been a big confidence booster.


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PostPosted: 03 Feb 2013, 08:09 
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I'm sure other coaches will chime in about this. Personally I have found that the majority of officiating at the youth to freshman level is pretty bad. Even sometimes at the varsity level it can be bad but it's usually pretty decent by that point. That's just how it is.

I have also found that some refs are very defensive. I mean sometimes if you're just asking a question they get all red in the face. You can't even talk with them.

I'm not a very good "game coach". So I probably should say a whole lot. I'm really good at player development and a decent practice coach. In games I mostly hope I prepared them good enough and do my best with adjustments, etc.

But I just assume every game is going to have lots of bad and lopsided calls. If I make a big deal about it my players become fixated on the refs and bad calls. So we try to completely ignore it and tell the kids they can't control what the ref calls. Sometimes it goes our way sometimes it doesn't. There will be lots of bad calls. Let's worry about things we can control.... our effort, our defensive, our skills, etc.

Now with that said, if I truly thought my players were in danger of getting hurt and it's that out of hand (especially with youth players), I'd probably call a time out and as calmly as possible talk to the refs. I'd tell them I could care less about winning or getting the calls my way. I'm just worried that the way the other team is physically shoving that someone is going to get hurt and get out of hand. You can call travels on us every time down the court. But if you could call some fouls on the shoving, that would be great. I just don't want anyone to get hurt or retaliate.

Here's an article that might give you some ideas.
http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/coaching/yell-at-refs.html

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PostPosted: 03 Feb 2013, 08:54 
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Hey Guys -

Jeff, you and I should have worked together.... I think that I am a much better game coach than I am a devloper of skills.... I don't think I was bad, but my strengths are during the game.... and I am sure that you are good at that too. As coaches, we all have strengths and weaknesses. I prepared my teams well for every game... I tried to leave no stone unturned.... especially when it came to breaking presses.... we ran out press offense for 10 minutes every day..... I was not going to get beat by some mickey mouse press. THAT was a pet peeve of mine. Our kids could run the press offense in their sleep.

Now, on to the refs............ It is very simple, the lower the level, the worse the refs are... so at the 7th grade level you are pretty much at the bottom. I started coaching at the 7/8th grade level too.... as I look back, I was probably a jerk to the refs.... because IF I saw something that I thought was a bad call, I let them know. It took me awhile to understand how toug it is to ref a game. Go ref a couple of 7/8th grade games and you will find out just how tough their job is.
I coached at that level for 13 yaars before I went on to the HS level... 8 as the Sophomore coach.... I had pretty good teams so I guess I was easier on them, but not a Saint.

When I became the head varsity coach ( and as the head guy we put a lot of pressure on ourselves ) it didn't take me very long to find out that they were NOT going to listen to us rag them. I found that a lot of humor goes a long way.... and IF you are really ticked, find a way to meet them on the sideline to to say something to them... a towel was my best friend... I put it over my mouth so no one but he and I could hear what I was saying. The LAST thing they want you to do is to embarrass them, so treat them with a lot of respect and you will be treated likewise.

Trust me, they want to do a good job... but sometimes its all about angles, we see the game from one angle and they might not see it the same way... IT is a fast game and they WILL make mistakes, even at the varsity level.
We are going to get some calls our way and some against us.... remember, we look at the game through rose colored glasses... our kids can do no wrong haha ....

I told my kids this every year. We are going to get bad calls..... as a player. you might get one bad call against you, then you are probably do one stupid thing for a foul... so, you have 3 to play with.... Play the game smart.
I agree with Jeff, IF I thought the other team was doing something dirty, I would certainly let the ref know... and I told several that its their job to make sure no player gets hurt. I will do my best to keep my kids under control and I am sure the other coach is like that too... but sometimes KIDS to strupid things, they lose their cool and that is up to you to make sure it doesn't get out of hand.

So, with all that being said.... my suggestion to you is to be friendly, treat them with respect and hopefully they will react the same. IF you have a problem... don't yell at them, that will get you nowhere... maybe a T or several other BAD calls. After a few years as the head coach, the refs loved to do my games... because they knew we would have fun, that I would probably do something silly like hand one of them my glasses.. ( which I did ) like asking them where I can get Christmas cards in Braile ( which I did ) they wanted to know why I wanted those... and I replied "so I can send them to all the refs." They would laugh,,, they knew how I was, that I wouldn't embarrasss them and they did the best job they could. I even had one ref apologize for costing me the game iwtht ONE bad call.
I told him, the game is 32 minutes long, 1 call doesn't define the outcome of a game.

OK< I rambled long enough, but I hope you get the idea as to where I am coming from.... good luck and enjoy the game... if you do, your kids will also.


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PostPosted: 03 Feb 2013, 12:47 
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Coach -

As for the last part -- "
[Coach Martinez"] How should I have handled this? How do I handle the next game these men officiate? I feel like my boys got cheated out of their first win which would have been a big confidence booster.

Since you have NO choice as to who you get on your next game.... I would go about this as if they have never been on one of your games before. Be polite, greet them cordially and go about coaching your game. Anything else you do will only open old wounds and anger. Come across as Mr. Nice Guy!!

Talk to your kids about being respectful to the officials no matter how bad the call is... HAND them the ball, greet them as sir and smile. Make sure they are complete gentleman. Spread the honey on THICK. You need to take the same approach.

All of this might grind on you if things start to go bad... but if you take the opposite approach, you already know how things will go. I would be surprised if things didn't go a little better for you and your team. Trsut me, officials do talk to each other... they know who the hard to get along with coaches are and you will start out with one strike against you. Change your image and the image of your team.

Good luck


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PostPosted: 04 Feb 2013, 00:02 

Posts: 899
Ahh... the refs. Another topic that deserves its own thread.

Coach Sar and Jeff pretty much nailed it and hit all the important points, I'll throw my own twist on it. I've talked with dozens of veteran officials and hung out on an official's forum, similar to this one. Lots of valuable insight from guys that have been both coaches and officials for many years. Btw, a lot of officials were former coaches.

Let me address a couple of your questions/comments about the specific game. I’m going to be direct, so don’t take it personal, just my own perspective and philosophy here.

Coach Martinez wrote:
Younger Official has disliked me personally since before I started coaching.
Figure it out, quickly. Next time you see him, sincerely apologize and move on.

Quote:
Elder Official has been the only official to kick out my Assistant Coach when he serves as Head Coach for his team, this has occurred more than once.
Unacceptable. Coaches shouldn’t be getting kicked out of 7th grade (or any level for that matter) games. Especially more than once. That means he's getted a T, then getting another one. It’s not the official, it’s the coach.

Quote:
I feel like we could have won today. There was a lot of questionable calls to say the least.
Get that out of your head or it will drive you crazy. It’s rare that a game is determined by the official’s calls. Count all the missed FT’s, lay-ups, shots, goofy fouls, etc., that would’ve helped you win.

Quote:
I felt the game was being called one sided from the get go.
Get that out of your head or it will drive you crazy. It may seem like the refs care about one team over another, but most refs I know couldn't care less who wins.

Quote:
Young Official replied, "Read the rule book."
Yep. Refs aren’t real keen on coaches asking for calls on things that aren’t legit. Happens all the time. I’m guilty of it.

Quote:
After he called it he turned to me and said, "Was that a flagrant too coach?"I was in shock, I thought that was extremely unprofessional and inappropriate, am I wrong?
Just like coaches yell, “Call it both ways”, we have to be able to take a little bit back from the refs once in a while. However, I agree with you, this was a bit out of line. If we're picking at the refs all game, they're only human, so I'm sure they have a breaking point, just like we do.

Quote:
He felt he was getting foul and the officials weren't calling it, when they finally did he was upset and without thinking (or looking) he through the ball to Elder Official.
He needs to try and play through it without getting upset. Sometimes players get themselves in a pickle and look for the refs to bail them out.

Quote:
My big man did not throw it at the official hard, he just wasn't paying attention and through it to the official who wasn't paying attention either. Elder Official yelled at my player, and I mean yelled, "Don't throw the ball at me." My big man mouth off back, which I didn't approve of, but I don't think Elder Official had the right to yell at one of my players. Am I wrong again?
It's unacceptable if your big threw it at the official intentionally. If he threw it thinking the officially was looking and it was a mistake, that's another matter. It sounds like the game was getting a bit heated to me and the ref may have taken it the wrong way.

Quote:
One last interesting point, the opposing team intentionally shoved my boys 3 times, 1 of which was called. One of my players accidentally ran over another player and, righfully so they called that one. This all seemed very inappropriate at this age.
Call time out. Ask the refs politely if they can watch #23 and #10 for intentional pushing. Then thank them. Short and sweet.

Quote:
How should I have handled this? How do I handle the next game these men officiate? I feel like my boys got cheated out of their first win which would have been a big confidence booster.
See below for my suggestions on dealing with the refs.

#1) You will find the refs are always great when you're up by 10-15 pts. I rarely talk to them when we're winning. Even if there are some bad calls.

#2) Coach your team, control what you can control. You can't control the refs or the other players.

#3) Use your time with them wisely. If you're constantly talking every time they come down the sidelines, they won't take you seriously.

#4) They'll usually ignore statements and answer respectful questions.

#5) Call it both ways! They hate that statement, don't use it.

#6) Already been said, but don't try to show them up or embarrass them. Show them respect.

#7) Ask them before a game, "What are you guys going to be watching for in this game so I can make sure my kids know?"

#8) Before you ask questions about a foul, know the rules. You still won't get the answer you were looking for, but they'll respect you for doing your homework.

#9) Tell your players NEVER to disrespect an official. They shouldn't put their arms in the arm in disgust or mumble something under their breath, they should be silent and walk away after a call.

#10) Refs a lot of times won't rescue a player from getting trapped in a corner, trying to dribble through 3 players, or holding the ball out for an easy tie-up. Tell your players not to expect the refs to help them, they need to play smart.

#11) If you see something going on consistently, ask the ref to watch a specific player #. Don't say, "The entire team is holding, pushing, hacking, etc.". Be specific and they'll usually say, "Ok, I will". Doesn't mean what you're seeing is a violation in their eyes though.

#12) If you get a veteran ref, ask him after the game what your kids could have improved upon to not get so many violations. That's a goldmine. I've learned a ton from doing that one single act.

#13) Have your kids "bump" the refs before and after every game. Respect.

#14) Refs really don't care who wins. If your team has 10 team fouls to their 2 team fouls. More than likely, your kids aren't able to hang with the other team and are fouling more to stop them.

#15) Think of it this way. How would you like someone challenging your every move as a coach during a game? If someone was bugging me verbally every few seconds while I was trying to coach, it would drive me nuts.

Hope that helps.

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PostPosted: 04 Feb 2013, 09:31 

Posts: 5
Thank you for the tips and advice.
Just to clear a few things up Coach Rob

I didn't think to count the missed FT's but I think that definetaly would've helped us. Also, I didn't mean to take anything away from the other team, those kids played hard. As far as me feeling the game was being called one sided, I'm going things like that out of my head from now on.

When Young Official replied "Read the rule book." Like I said I wasn't offended or mad, I felt like I had it coming. I don't feel that I had the "Was that a flagrant too coach?" remark coming. I wasn't picking at him all game. I did some complaining this game, which is not right. But I don't believe I did enough to deserve that remark. I only had 3 or 4 complaints, including this shove.

When my big man felt he was getting fouled and not getting the calls, I agree with you he has to play through it. I don't believe he was getting fouled on this play I agree with you the officials bailed him out. He's a good player but he's has a hard time playing through no calls or when he feels he was getting fouled. I tell him that all the time, I added that so you know that he was frustrated. I don't believe my big man through the ball intentionally, that would've been unacceptable like you said. Since he was frustrated I see how the official could've thought that, and like I said I didn't approve of him mouthing off to the official.

I thought about calling time out to ask the officials to watch for intentional shoving. But I don't believe calling time out would have helped. When I talked to Young Official about the first shove when I thought it was a flagrant or intentional I was cordial with him and he was cordial with me. We were in disagreement, but not disrespectful to each other, we were simply talking, like you all suggested. That is why the "Was that a flagrant too coach?" remark was so surprising to me. I felt that if I couldn't talk to him about the first shove without getting a smart remark, then I couldn't talk to him about the rest. He seemed unnapprochable to me.

I have had bad officials in the past. I never complained even though I felt they were bad, because I felt that they were doing their best, that's all I ask at this age. I felt like these 2 could have done better, just my opinion.

Anyway, I am ready to move on and have a game today. I'm confident my boys will bounce back, hopefully get their 1st win. I know I will do a better job of keeping my composure.

Thank you guys.


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PostPosted: 04 Feb 2013, 09:44 
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Good luck Coach -

And remember this... your players are an extension of you on the floor...... IF you stay calm and controlled... ( I know, hard at times, been there ) they will play through bad calls too.... remind your kids, refs are human too, they will make mistakes, just like you and I.
So, you play the game and I WILL TALK TO THE OFFICIALS.


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PostPosted: 04 Feb 2013, 15:10 

Posts: 176
I am not a big fan of refs at the younger levels. They are generally bad and incosistent. It's like they are just there for their $10 bucks, or whatever they get for a game. AND I hate the attitude that is is just youth ball -- like it doesn't matter to the kids that they have someone who cares refereeing their game. As Jimmy Dugan once said "Anything worth doing, is worth doing right."

IMO, your ref was out of line. Part of their job is to take some "abuse" from the coaches. When they start making wise cracks at the coaches they are wrong. Especially, when they are wrong. The play you describe is a foul -- period. Not only should it have been called, but the action of pushing from behind is a safety issue as well. "Flagrent" is simply defined as excess and only bears on the penalty involved, not whether there was foul or not.

What I would do is get a copy of your league rule book. Highlight the areas where this bozo is wrong. And give it too him next time you see him. Or at least have it ready next time he challenges you. But I can be a smart a$$.

In reality, you just need to flush it and move on. You'll see this bozo again. You'll need to play better to overcome these guys. Good luck.


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PostPosted: 04 Feb 2013, 16:50 
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Golfman -

You've been coaching long enough to know that being a smart azz wlll get you know where.... haha You have to be controlled or your kids will follow your lead.

I agree that they should do the best job they can, just like us as coaches..... but at the lower levels, you don't get real good refs.... maybe occassionaly.... I have seen a couple, got their names and passed them along to our assignment chairman.

Rookies are just that, rookies, learning the game just like we did when we first started coaching... don't get me wrong, I was not a Saint when I first started coaching... but I learned..... treat them with respect, don't embarrass them and hopefully they will do the same. You are right, there are times we just need to suck it up and play better.

We used to get beat up in the paint, but God forbid we touch them out front. NOW that REALLY ticked me off.
Happens on every level.


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PostPosted: 05 Feb 2013, 18:27 

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Coach Martinez wrote:
Just to clear a few things up Coach Rob
Let me also clear up that I'm not squeaky clean on this whole ref deal. A lot of those suggestions on how to deal with refs came from the school of hard knocks. I've done the exact opposite only to end up frustrated each time. It's still a work in progress every game.

I spent season after season trying to figure out the refs. Mostly yelling my displeasure and trying to get them to see what I was seeing out on the court. Funny thing, I've never had a ref change a call because of my complaint.

In the end, I realized the best course of action for me was to control what I could control and leave the rest. It boiled down to me coaching my kids during a game, plain and simple. It took up too much energy trying to "coach the refs". If I sense my kids need to be more physical, less physical, more aggressive, less aggressive, I let them know instead of trying to change the refs calls. Plus, my kids see me getting upset at the refs and think it's ok that they get upset at the refs.

Are there refs that shouldn't be reffing? Sure. Just like there are coaches who shouldn't be coaching and teachers who shouldn't be teaching. Such is life. Another good life lesson for the kids, learning how to deal with things that seem unfair in life.

Coach Sar wrote:
We used to get beat up in the paint, but God forbid we touch them out front. NOW that REALLY ticked me off.Happens on every level.
Ha! How true, how true. We get called on the two hands deal out front, but the guard has no problem using their off hand to push our guy back a few feet as they dribble on through.

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