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Official to Coach Communication Lesson #2: Explain the Call, Not the Rule

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Officials sometime make the mistake of explaining a rule to a coach in response to a coach's comment or question on a call. There is inherent risk in using rules interpretation as a communication tool.  Firstly, it takes the official's attention away from the players on the court. Secondly, it gives the coach too much information and opens the door for trouble. A coach friend of mine recently challenged an official asking why he did not call a lane violation on a 6'3 player who was gaining advantage by dwelling in the key. The official responded by explaining the rule at length. The problem was, the coach knew the rule better than the official. The verbose and incorrect explanation by the official hurt the crew's credibility on virtually every call in the game.

Officials need to respond to coaches' questions, but do so briefly. A simple, " Ok, coach, I heard you!", or "Got it coach!" would suffice, then move on.  Warning to officials! Know the rules!

Warning to coaches!  Officials are trained to respond to questions, not comments. Asking an official "What did you see?" after a questionable call, allows the official, at the appropriate time, to respond.  The better coaches deal with officials this way. The better officials will find the appropriate time to respond to the coach in a professional and timely manner.