Becoming a better referee very rapidly.

Signal Mechanics and Conscious Coordination

Control What We Can Control With camps just around the corner, the season will be upon us before we know it. Let's get ready, becoming the best communicators that we can possibly be. Nothing will improve our officiating as dramatically and noticeably as improvement in our signal mechanics. HOW TO IMPROVE Even if we think we have good or great signals, self assessment and that from other referees will be helpful to identify areas of focus for improvement. These exercises will yield marked improvement, noticeable by everyone. Use the mirror to see how you look, reciting each and every signal mechanic in our arsenal. 3,4 minutes per day, 3,4 days per week will yield tremendous results. Our goal is sharp, strong, well timed, crisp, clear, definite signals so players, coaches, the benches, fans and especially your crew know exactly what was called and what is the result. Are we ambidextrous for all of our signal mechanics? With practice, our position on the court will instinctually connect with our natural reflex muscle memory as to which arm to use when. The goal is not to turn your back to the court or cross your body when signaling. Attempt this skill, practice it and soon it will be within your mastery. Have a buddy video your league games, travel tourneys, camps and clinics. Even a phone camera will do. Video is a super way to view our signal mechanic improvement. Even our walk or running gait can be tracked for betterment. We all might be surprised as to the areas we might improve upon. Are we using proper signals, in proper sequence, with no personalized and unauthorized signal mechanics? The NFHS Basketball Signal Chart is attached for your reference. Are we stopping the clock with a vertical, open palm for ALL violations and held ball situations? Examples. Every violation has 4 parts to its signal sequence: 1. stop the clock 2. demonstrate the infraction 3. give the direction for the team then receiving the ball/with the team color 4. indicate the spot out of bounds where the throw in will take place. Are we posting with a vertical arm fist for ALL foul calls? 1. stop the clock, "post" the foul 2. Identify the foul type, if needed for clarification 3. Let everyone know if the foul is in the act of shooting (especially with Continuous Motion), or indicate the spot out of bounds for the throw in 4. Move to the Foul Reporting Area, athletically with pace 5. Stop 6. Report, Clear, Distinct, Strong, Next Action NFHS signal mechanic helpful quick video HOW TO FURTHER IMPROVE Do Not use unauthorized, non NFHS signals. i.e. refrain from the tipped ball signal for FGA's, as this signal is reserved for out of bounds or Division Line plays. If we signal a tipped ball on a blocked shot, your partner might have a foul call? Then we have a real problem. Our crew credibility and communication will be severely compromised. The correct signal for a blocked shot is NO SIGNAL. Emulate referees for NCAA or NBA/WNBA games for their signal strength, clarity, crispness and unequivocal communication. Also refrain from using the two vertical extended arms for a walled up POV play. This was never a NFHS signal; it was introduced for NCAA use but had a very brief tenure. It was quickly rescinded for mis-application and another referee whistling a foul when this signal was used. Again, if there is a walled up POV play, the correct signal is NO SIGNAL. ELIMINATE NEGATIVE NON-VERBAL SIGNALS Everyone has learned something about the importance of non verbal aspects in communication. Here is some information which may prove useful, as a referee and in life's endeavors. As referees, perhaps some of these behaviors might be eliminated to improve and optimize our court presence? Almost every college referee coordinator counsels or even manadates being aware of these non verbal turn-offs Did you know? Hands behind back=when a person keeps their hands behind their back, they are effectively cutting off a form of communication. In many cultures, this is a sign that they are holding back. It can be viewed as stiff or arrogant. Hands and arms at the side will give off a more relaxed, comfortable stance. Reviewing TV game refs, hands clasped behind the back is non-existent. Hands on hips=there are issues, things are not good, I'm poised for a combative response. Hands in pockets=defensive gesture is placing your hands in your pockets. It indicates powerlessness and shyness. It gives off an aura of less concern than is called for. Arms folded in front=closed off, unreceptive, tense, insecure, blocking out what is being offered Chewing gum=might be viewed as disrespectful, sloppy, not following the norm Facial expressions=a grimace or scowl or looks of displeasure or disdain travel far, wide and deep. All too often a neutral or positive expression will create a friendlier, collegial atmosphere for your crew and the game. Everyday we get a little bit better or a little bit worse. The choice is ours. Pete Kafka BCAA Basketball Rules Interpreter PLKREF@GMAIL.COM 954-629-3771 CELL

10 views0 comments

LEARN IT NOW, NEVER FORGET IT: Correctable Errors. Perfect Time to Learn. If not now, when?

Catalyze our learning. Embolden our leadership. Establish ourselves as a crew chief. Better the game as a preventative referee. NOW IS THE TIME We don't want them, but we do need to be able to handle them when they do arise.

Take your time understanding the sequence, it will stay with you your entire officiating career.



K. I. S. S. Keep It Sweet and Simple: if dead clock, and it starts, b4 the 1st dead ball; if live running clock, b4 the 2nd live ball

Rule 2.10

The four that involve free throws are:

1. Failure to award a merited free throw

2. Awarding an unmerited free throw

3. Permitting a wrong player to attempt a free throw

4. Attempting a free throw at the wrong basket


The fifth correctable error is:

Erroneously counting or canceling a score




The first 4 correctable errors occur when the clock is stopped. Only the fifth can occur while the clock is running. Clerical errors by the scorer, mistakes or mis-tabulations, may be rectified anytime prior to the crew's approval of the final score.


****Thorough pre-game with the table crew as well as your officiating crew, of course

****Know the team fouls for each team. Be aware of an impending change of status: 6 fouls, next 1&1, 9 fouls, next 2 shots

****Make sure Technical Fouls (Administrative, Player, Team, Coach-Direct) are correctly tabulated as Team Foul totals

****Communicate with your crew, so we all are aware and we all practice preventative officiating, staying a step ahead to optimally manage the game.

****Help each other for the offended (fouled) player's #; not to mention with the player who committed the foul, just in case

****4 eyes (at least) on the near arc 3pt FGA. SEE GLOBALLY, CALL (rule on) LOCALLY. Pre-Game all possible "Help" situations. On these shots, see if the shooter's foot is/is not on the arc's line. Where the arc meets the FT Line extended, there should be concurrent C,T supervision of the release to ensure the shot is credited correctly. **** Either way, if there is an error, immediately stop play and correct the scoring error within the statute of limitations, before the 2nd live ball.


1. Correctable Error Potential Is Presented To The Crew>>>by the table, coach or a crew member. Coach might call a provisional time out, which may be rescinded if an error is found and corrected.

2. Separate The Players>>>shepherd to their respective benches

3. Crew Meets>>>we strive to not kick a rule

3. Assess The Error>>>is it correctable, by rule

4. Determine If The Time Frame Allows Correction>>>before the 1st Dead Ball or before the 2nd Live Ball, depending (see above)

5. Discuss The Sequence Of Putting The Ball Back Into Play>>>R, U1, U2's positioning and duties

6. R and a Partner>>>bring the two head coaches together for an explanation of the correction mechanics. Other Umpire supervises the teams.

7. Crew Rises To The Occasion>>>smelling like a rose, smoother than silk over glass


ART. 4 . . . If the error is a free throw by the wrong player or at the wrong basket, or the awarding of an unmerited free throw, the free throw and the activity during it, other than unsporting, flagrant, intentional or technical fouls, must be canceled.

ART. 5 . . . Points scored, consumed time and additional activity, which may occur prior to the recognition of an error, must not be nullified. Errors because of free-throw attempts by the wrong player or at the wrong basket must be corrected by applying FT Administration procedures, 8-1 and 2. (see below)

ART. 6 . . . If an error is corrected, play must be resumed from the point of interruption to rectify the error, unless it involves awarding a merited free throw(s) and there has been no change of team possession since the error was made, in which case play must resume as after any free-throw attempt(s)

Super synopsis

Video review


Pete Kafka BCAA Basketball Rules Interpreter


RULE 8 - SECTION 1 FREE-THROW ADMINISTRATION ART. 1 . . . When a free throw is awarded, the ball must be placed at the disposal of the free thrower (bounced) by the administering official and the free throw count must begin. Either or both teams may be charged with a violation. ART. 2 . . . Following a time-out or intermission, the resumption-of-play procedure may be used to prevent delay. The administering official will sound the whistle to indicate play will resume. The ball must be placed at the disposal of the thrower or placed on the floor at the free-throw line and the count must begin. Either or both teams may be charged with a violation. Following a violation by one or both teams, if the offending team(s) continues to delay, a team technical foul must be ruled ART. 3 . . . If the ball is to become dead when the last free throw for a specific penalty is not successful, players must not occupy any spaces along the free-throw lane lines. ART. 4 . . . During a free throw, lane spaces may be occupied as follows: a. Marked lane spaces may be occupied by a maximum of two offensive players; four defensive players may occupy lane spaces. b. The first marked lane spaces on each side of the lane, above and adjacent to the first lane-space marks, must be occupied by opponents of the free thrower. No teammate of the free thrower must occupy either of these marked lane spaces. c. The second marked lane spaces on each side may be occupied by teammates of the free thrower. d. The third marked lane spaces on each side, nearest the free thrower, may be occupied by the opponents of the free thrower. e. Players must be permitted to move along and across the lane to occupy a vacant marked lane space within the limitations listed in this rule. f. Not more than one player may occupy any part of a marked lane space. ART. 5 . . . Any player, other than the free thrower, who does not occupy a marked lane space must be behind the free-throw line extended and behind the three-point line.

5 views0 comments

The past few weeks, coaches and referees have submitted far too many video plays asking about traveling violations. Still.  Traveling is illegal movement by a player controlling (but not dribbling) a live ball inbounds. The specified illegal movement is: Lifting the pivot foot (or either foot if no pivot is available) and returning it to the floor before passing or shooting. Be it in league ball, an AAU tourney, state series playoffs or the NCAA Final 4… Phantom travels are perhaps the worst call in our game. It’s a 4 point swing-play at a minimum, and drives coaches, players and fans crazy with frustration. Know the pivot foot immediately, instinctually on the catch or when the dribble is picked up. It should be a natural reflex. Know Rule 4.44 and the casebook plays. No guessing. Call the obvious. Nothing marginal or micro. Call in our PCA. Do not spray. Here’s a recent NCAA 3+ min video to help us hone our Travel play calling 2021-22 NCAA Weekly Whistle #14 - YouTube Sync in if any clarification is needed. Pete Kafka BCAA Rules Interpreter 954.629.3771 RULE 4 - SECTION 44 TRAVELING Traveling is moving a foot or feet in any direction in excess of prescribed limits while holding the ball. The limits on foot movements are as follows: ART. 1 . . . A player who catches the ball with both feet on the floor may pivot using either foot. When one foot is lifted, the other is the pivot foot. ART. 2 . . . A player who catches the ball while moving or dribbling may stop and establish a pivot foot as follows: a. If both feet are off the floor and the player lands:

  1. Simultaneously on both feet, either foot may be the pivot.

  2. On one foot followed by the other, the first foot to touch is the pivot.

  3. On one foot, the player may jump off that foot and simultaneously land on both. Neither foot can be a pivot in this case.

b. If one foot is on the floor:

  1. It is the pivot when the other foot touches in a step.

  2. The player may jump off that foot and simultaneously land on both.

Neither foot can be a pivot in this case. ART. 3 . . . After coming to a stop and establishing a pivot foot: a. The pivot foot may be lifted, but not returned to the floor, before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal. b. If the player jumps, neither foot may be returned to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal. c. The pivot foot may not be lifted before the ball is released to start a dribble. ART. 4 . . . After coming to a stop when neither foot can be a pivot: a. One or both feet may be lifted, but may not be returned to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal. b. Neither foot may be lifted before the ball is released, to start a dribble. ART. 5 . . . A player holding the ball: a. May not touch the floor with a knee or any other part of the body other than hand or foot. b. After gaining control while on the floor and touching with other than hand or foot, may not attempt to get up or stand.

15 views0 comments

Home    Contact