LEAKING OUT

The officiating terms “bailing out” or “leaking out’ are interchangeable and refer to the act of leaving the scene of the action prematurely. They are usually associated with the trail but can also be associated with the center official as well.

It is not an unusual sight to see a trail official back out, begin their transition or “leak out” while a three point shot is in the air. This malfeasance undoubtedly has its roots in the fear of being “beaten” in transition at the other end of the court.

The underlying philosophy is to finish the business at hand. Does the shot go in or not and if not, for the trail to be in the best possible position to help the crew officiate the action surrounding the rebound. He/she cannot do that if he/she is back peddling into back court when the ball hits the rim.

One of my favorite rock groups is the Flaming Lips. I have all their albums. There one big monster hit is the very humable “All We Have Is Now.” That sentiment is so true in a lot of aspects of life, but maybe never more true than in basketball officiating. Dave Hall says “Officiate the here and the now!” Finish the action that is going on now and then we will scramble to cover what happens next. Don’t run off and leave your partners, and then find out that the ball is going the other way and you are nowhere to be found when you are needed most.

A good way to keep from “bailing” as the trail is to step down toward the end line until the ball hits the rim and then stop with your weight on your front foot. This technique helps focus your eyes and attention on the action at hand and with your weight on your front foot it is difficult to bail out.

Officiate the here and the now.

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