It is easy enough to get straight lined in a basketball game, without intentionally or unintentionally doing it to yourself. I often see center officials and sometimes trail officials as well, that find themselves “underneath” the ball and in the case of the center officials, they feel the lead rotating across the lane and realize that they are now the trail and think they have to get out on top and be the trail.

And in doing so they straight line themselves for just a second or so. During that second that they move around the ball handler there is a possibility of a steal, a three point shot and the shooter getting fouled and they will not have an open look at the play.

If you find yourself “underneath” the ball and you know the lead is coming over, just stay with your good look and wait for the sequence to dissolve before becoming the trail. Don’t leave the good look you have just to get up where the mechanics manual says the trail should be. Stay there and officiate.

Yes, file it away in the back of your mind, that if there is a turnover you will have to get on your horse and ride.

Conversely, if you are the old trail moving down to the center position and you notice you old center stuck underneath the ball, tarry just a second or two knowing that if the ball is stolen you might have to be temporary lead until the new lead can get there. This is “Team Officiating.”

In the short clip below we see a new center run up and around the ball handler to get on top of the play and in doing so straight lines himself for a second or two.

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