On a recent mechanics test that was a required assignment by Colorado officials wanting to be certified for the 2016 post season, there was a question that was missed by many. That question stated that officials in Colorado were required to always go opposite after reporting a foul.

IAABO officials who go opposite after reporting a foul have the option of staying table side if they feel they could better communicate with a coach that was particularly upset with or clearly didn’t understand an official’s ruling. Officials operating under the NFHS mechanics book stay table side after reporting, so this is a moot point for them.

It is my view that officials do not exercise the option of staying table side nearly enough. Very often, even before an official begins the reporting process, he is aware that a coach is visibly upset with a ruling. So, instead of going to the opposite side of the floor and leaving the coach little or no option other than to yell loudly and gesture wildly all the way across the floor, simply choose to stay table side, sending your partner opposite and have a short concise conversation with the coach.

Listen to the coach. Make sure you understand what her concern is.

Tell the coach the truth about what you saw in a short compact statement.

If the truth is that the defender was vertical and the offense created the contact, tell her that. If the truth is that you anticipated a foul, but the play ended up in a held ball and you blew your whistle too quickly, tell her that.

There are all kinds of concise effective strategies you can use in the short few seconds you may have to communicate with a coach in stressful situations.

Do not be reticent to talk with a coach when it is appropriate to do so. I encourage you to develop your own bag of tricks and you cannot do that if you are afraid to talk to a coach.

And remember, he who asks the question controls the conversation.
Short, sweet and concise. Don’t hold up the action with a prolonged conversation. And don’t explain every call.

Here are some strategies that have worked for others in the past.

“What have you got coach?”

“What did you see?”

“I hear you”

“Got it”

“Yea, I might have screwed that up.”

“What am I supposed to do on that play?”

That’s a tough play, I think I got it right.”

“Maybe, your right, but I had an awfully good look.”

“Really?” “That’s not what I saw.”

“Coach by rule…”

“I got that play dead right.”

“I have to go.”

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