Take Your Time
Once you sound your whistle and stop the clock for a violation there is no need to rush through the signal part of the administration. No one looks at the officials until they sound the whistle. Keep your open hand up for two seconds or so and give players, coaches and fans the opportunity to focus on you. It is your moment to communicate and you want that communication to be seen and you want it to be clear.
Move Toward the Violation Spot
Take a couple of steps toward the spot of the violation with your arm still up in the air. You don’t have to run 20 feet to the exact spot but move an appropriate distance toward the spot of the violation. Obviously if the violation happens right in front of you there probably is no reason to step toward it. Moving a step or two toward the spot makes you appear connected and engaged in the play. Contrast this with those officials who blow their whistle and “walk away” giving a traveling signal with their back to the play. Always appear connected to any call you make.
Make Eye Contact With A Partner.
While sounding your whistle, raising your hand and moving toward the spot make eye contact with a partner. This is an important opportunity to communicate with your partner and make sure he/she doesn’t have a foul signal up or calling a held ball. Additionally, by making immediate eye contact with a partner you avoid the dreaded head drop present in so many officials when the sound their whistle. This head drop communicates to those watching that you think this call is “crap.” Many officials drop their head when they call a foul as well diluting their opportunity to appear confident in their decision.
Give A Strong Violation Signal
Give a good strong clear signal. That doesn’t mean it has to be over sold. Read the market and only sell as hard as the customers demand. Give signals at chest height. Don’t bend at the waist, looking down at the floor with your signal at the belly button. Two revolutions are good for a traveling signal. We think fists are better than open hands. Tight wrists are better than floppy ones. Look tight and strong. Same philosophy holds for the double dribble signal. Three is a good number, chest high and standing tall.
Use your voice appropriately. Humans communicate mainly with their voice. The whole gym doesn’t need to hear you, but the players near you do. Get the players going the right direction with your voice and coaches and fans will be more likely to be believers.
Parallel Direction Signal
We teach a direction signal that is parallel with the floor, rather than one that is half pointing to the ceiling. Fingers together, thumb folded on the palm looks great. Two fingers with the thumb down works as well and the one finger point works also but is seen as confrontational by some.
Pop it and hold it for at least two seconds while standing still. Strong and tight! It is easier for fans to find you if you are standing still.
Where and By Whom is Play Resumed
Every time officials stop play they need to provide information about who, how and where play will resume. Many officials don’t do this part of the administration equation very well and some don’t do parts of it at all. This often puts your partner(s) in a difficult spot if you just signal and take off down the floor. Presumably they were looking off the ball and may not know whether the proper play in spot is the sideline or the end line.
Be sure play is resumed at the proper spot by rule. Check the diagram in your official’s manual that shows nearest throw-in spots. Use your voice and point at the spot where the ball is to be put in play. “Blue ball, sideline is a small bit of communication but it does wonders. Indicate the play in spot. Players and partners then know where to go both offensively and defensively.
Out of Bounds Violations
We teach separating the whistle and open hand from the voice and the direction signal. It gives you more bang for your buck, slows you down and gives you two different opportunities to communicate how play is to be resumed.
Sound the whistle and stop the clock.
Then verbalize. “Blue”
Then the direction signal.