Difficult Plays

Dave wants to encourage you to make your pre-game time more relevant to the game at hand. Instead of spending a lot of time on where to stand on time outs and how to bring in subs we suggest you spend the majority of your time talking about and diagramming plays and situations that cause us problems and are difficult to officiate. I have compiled a list of ten or eleven plays that I think we have difficulty getting correct much of the time.  In your next pre-game, talk about some of these plays, and be ready to diagram them for better clarity.

Here is our list of difficult plays along with some ideas about how to cover them.  You will have other plays and other strategies to add.

Pass and Crash
The fast moving dribbler passes the ball up the court then proceeds to “run over” a defender.  Often this play results in players on the floor and we often don’t have a whistle.

The trail official often leaves the passer too soon to follow the ball and fails to see the contact.

The trail has to be disciplined to stay with the passer.  In the three person system the Center official can often come and get this play as well.

High Trap in Front Court on the ‘C’ Side
This play requires the Center official to initiate the rotation and work this play as the trail.  Lead officials have to recognize this situation and rotate.  Old trail officials need not be in a hurry to go to the new “C” position.  Stay and help with the division line.

This is a killer play in the two -person system.  The trail must pinch the opposite side to be in a position to make a call if necessary.  The lead can come up the sideline to help with out of bounds if nothing else.

Back Court Deep Corner Trap ‘C’ Side
We get this play a great deal when the defense is in the full court press.  This is a two official play.  The new trail must pinch the weak side corner and the Center official must come down the side line a little bit to help as well.  If the new Trail runs away from the ball the crew is in trouble.

Dave Hall believes that officials “need to go where they need to go to see what they need to see.”  This statement applies to both the Center and the new Trail in this scenario.  Remember the Trail “pinches” to see the play.  This is not a rotation.  The trail comes back when appropriate.

This play is a crew death sentence in the two person system if the trail doesn’t pinch to opposite side. The new lead must hold up and help until the play clears.

Full Court Press
Covering the full court press is a three official effort.  The new trail must pinch the weak side if necessary.

The Center official must stay put and be ready to go where he/she needs to go to get a good look at the play.  There may be times in the full court press that the Center may be asked to make a call all the way across the court.

The new lead must hold up and keep the triangle as equal lateral as possible.  Often new leads go all the way to the baseline and effectively weaken the crew coverage.  Players may be deeper than the lead.  The lead needs to position themselves with their backs to the sideline where they can utilize their entire visual field on the court.

In the two person system the new Trail must cover the play anywhere in back court.  Pinching the opposite side is a must.  The new lead must not runaway and hold up to help until the press is broken.

Post Curl
This play breaks down when the Center official doesn’t anticipate and understand the play is coming to him or her.  The ball goes to the post on the blocks on the strong side.  The lead has the open look.  Then the post curls toward the center of the lane effectively closing off the look of the lead and opens to the Center and sometimes the Trail.  The Center can anticipate where the curl is going by how low on the blocks the post gets the ball.

In the two- person system the trail must put on the Center’s hat and drop down to officiate this play.  The lead in the two -person can step out on the court to get a better look from the back side.

Base Line Drive
This play can take many forms but typically the ball handler has the ball near the corner and is closely guarded.  The Trail has the open look.  Then the dribbler drives the base line headed toward the basket.  Now the Trail has a closed look and the Lead must open up and take the play.  Where this play gets us in trouble is when it ends in a train wreck at the basket.  When the Lead takes the play the Trail and the Center have to take responsibility for secondary defenders.

In the two-person system the trail has to leave the play and find the secondary defender.

This video ends in a train wreck.  This play puts a tremendous burden on the lead. He must accept drive when it is parallel with end line and yet know if the secondary defender is legal.  We think the trail should leave the play when the lead picks it up and take responsibility for secondary defender.  The lead did a great job getting this play correct

Asking for an Giving Help on Out of Bounds Plays on the Baseline
Lead officials often guess on out of bounds plays on the opposite side of the lane.  The three-person system offers officiating crews a better look at these plays.  Lead officials have to be aware that they can ask the Center official for help on any out of bounds plays on the other side of the lane that they don’t have a good look at.  Conversely, Center officials have to anticipate the leads need and be ready to give help when asked for.  In our pre game we need to talk about how help is going to be asked for and how the response is going to be given.

Weak Side Drive in Transition
The weak side drive in transition is another play where the three person system gives the officiating crew a much better opportunity to get the play right.  The Center official has to take responsibility for the primary defender on this play and the lead must find the secondary defender.

In the two person system the lead probably has to take this play almost all the time.

Weak Side Drive in Front Court
This play is often characterized by the point guard beating his primary defender to the basket down the weak side lane line.  This play can also originate from the Centers primary and results in a drive to the basket.

This is one of our most difficult plays to cover.  If the point guard drives the strong side lane line we are golden because we have the lead right there waiting for the play.  On the weak side, however, we have no one there waiting for the play and no one has a great open look at this play.

Dave Hall has taught for years that the Center takes the primary defender and the lead pinches the paint and is responsible for identifying and making the call if the secondary defender is involved in a train wreck.   If the play involves the secondary defender and the “C” blows on it he or she must hold the foul signal to make sure we don’t get ourselves into a Blarge situation.

Just this week the NCAA has mandated this very mechanic.  They state the Center takes the primary defender and the Lead takes the secondary defender.  This probably is a good guideline for high school officials as well.  It keeps us away from the Blarge and insures that someone is finding the secondary defender.

This video shows a weak side drive originating from the Center’s primary area. The foul involves a secondary defender.  The trail and the lead both blew on the play.  The Center holds the foul signal and the lead takes the play.  This is a bang -bang play and ruled as was an earlier tough call.

Banana Drive
The banana drive starts on the strong side and then the dribble driver takes the ball down the weak side lane line to the bucket.  This is a three official play.  The trail can curl out and continues primary on the play until it starts down the weak side lane line.  The Center then takes it to the hole.  The lead must react quickly and “pinch the paint” with the inside look and find the secondary defender if the play ends with a block-charge situation.

Fronting the Post
When skilled offensive post players are “fronted” by the defensive post it poses quite a challenge for the officiating crew.  This play has both front side and a back side issues.  The front side issues included holding by the defensive player and a “push off” insuring separation by the offensive player.  Further complicating this play is the possible block/charge play involving a secondary defender.  It is very difficult for the lead official to work both the front and back side of this play and know whether the secondary defender was in LGP at the time of contact.

The center official needs to recognize the “front” by the defender and be ready to help on this play if it ends with contact by or on a secondary defender.

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