I am often asked what an official should say to a coach when the situation arises to have a face to face talk. I think the answerer is simple. Look him in the eye and tell him the truth.

Take this scenario. Big post player A3 get the pass on the low blocks turns and forces a shot that is partially blocked by defender B2 and the ball goes out of bounds and is awarded back to Team A for a throw-in. Team A calls a time out. As the players are going to the bench the coach of team comes out on the court a step or two and with his arms extended in the air in apparent frustration and shouts, “How is that not a foul?” How should you respond?

Try this approach. Walk right toward him in a non threatening way, look him straight in the eye and say, “Coach, the defender was legal and vertical. Your guy initiated the contact. By rule I cannot call a foul on a defender who is in Legal Guarding Position. Then get out of there.

Remember that by, philosophy, the coach gets the last word and as long as that last word isn’t too awfully offensive or derisive. Let him have the last word. He/she will without a doubt have a last word.

This method of telling the truth acknowledges the coaches frustration and gives him information. It doesn’t take but a few seconds and it is honest and forthright. Also, remember to not jab your index finger into his chest while telling him the truth, no matter how much you would like to.

Dave Hall says that there are three honest things you have to be able to tell the coach. First, you have to be able to tell him/her that you had a great look and you got the play dead right. Secondly you have to be able to tell him/her that it was a tough play and you think you got it right. You are not positive but you think you got it right. It was a tough play. Lastly you have to be able to tell them that your call was “horse shit.” Never lie! If you missed it tell them. They will be watching the video and will know what happened before you are out of the shower. Obviously you don’t want to tell a coach seven times a game that you missed a play. But, every once in a while that is the truth, so look them in the eye and tell them the truth.

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