We use a lot of “key words,” phrases and acronyms in basketball officiating to make us “focus in” at the officiating task at hand. They are good tools to have in our bag of tricks and help us remember what we want to accomplish when we are in the heat of battle out there on the court.

One of the latest “key words” or phrases is “Read and react.” This phrase has been recently popularized by the NCAA in their current push to have officials “call it like it is written.” This is a good phrase to think about and to put into your game as well.

“Read and react” means to read the play and react to what you read. When discussing this phrase, more than one official has asked, “what am I reading?” You are “reading” freedom of movement. Is the ball handler being forced off his/her route to the basket by a hand on the hip or a forearm on the rib cage. Is the dribbler’s progress down the court being interrupted by a belly bump? If the official “reads” any of the above or if he/she reads that dribble drivers RSBQA (rhythm, speed, balance, quickness, agility) is being affected the official “reacts” by putting air in the whistle. If the official does not read any of the above the official “reacts” by not putting air in the whistle.

Officials are reading “chucks,” “message sending” and ‘rerouting” of cutters. They react by sounding the whistle if the cutter is “chucked.” If the cutter runs freely, officials react by doing nothing.

Officials read “knees in the butt,” “swim moves,” “displacements,” and “back downs” during post play. Officials react to these forms of illegal contact by blowing their whistle.

They read “legal guarding position,” “to and thru,” “stick it to the torso,” “head and shoulders,” and “flops” in block charge plays. If bodies go to the floor or someone is displaced the officials react by blowing their whistle.

When rebounding is involved officials read “boxing out,” “backing out,” “cylinders,” “over the back” or “verticality.” If the laws of verticality are violated officials “react” by penalizing the offending player with a foul call. If the contact is deemed incidental, officials react by passing on the play.

So, keep “read and react” in the forefront of your thinking the next time you take the court. Use your “hard eyes” at the appropriate time, “read” the play sequence and “react” appropriately.

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