Leave the Refs Alone!
Youth basketball players must learn to leave the referees alone.
Somehow complaining verbally, making faces and hand gestures, and even talking back to referees in response to calls has become a part of youth basketball culture. On top of that, players are now deciding to emulate some NBA players by flopping and baiting referees to make foul calls. These practices do much more harm than good, and they should not be a part of your game as a youth basketball player. Although you may not be able to change those around you, you can make the quality decision to stop complaining and flopping today. Here are the reasons to stop complaining and stop flopping, i.e. to leave the refs alone.
Reasons to Stop Complaining
• Complaining is disrespectful plain and simple. Are you going to be able to aggressively complain to your future boss every time he makes a decision you don’t like? No. Or if you do, you may not keep your job for long or leave the door open for promotion and future success. So get in the habit now of respecting the decisions of those in authority over you, even if you don’t agree 100% of the time.
• Referees are human. If you are constantly complaining about calls you don’t get or calls made against you, are you going to get the benefit of the doubt from the ref later in the game? With a lot of refs the answer is no. On the contrary, you may get on a referee’s bad side and create an officiating bias against you, even if it is an unconscious one.
• You risk the chance of a drawing a technical foul when you complain. In youth basketball this means 2 free throws and possession for the other team. In a close game, this is a huge difference maker. Also a technical foul puts you a step closer to being disqualified from the game, whether that comes via ejection or fouling out.
• You start worrying about the refs instead of the opposing team. When you become a complainer, you began to put some of the responsibility of winning and losing on the referees. When you feel like you don’t have control on the basketball court, you begin to get disheartened and may not give full effort for your team. I’ve seen this happen plenty of times. Stay focused on beating the opposition, even if the refereeing IS poor. You can overcome poor refereeing with your play. You can’t overcome a lack of focus or a defeated attitude.
• You give up points in transition. Players who stop to complain about getting fouled spend a second or two complaining to refs and don’t get back immediately on defense. That second or two is all the advantage the opposing team needs to get an easier transition basket.
Reasons to Stop Flopping
• It’s dishonest. Players who flop to draw foul calls are violating the integrity of the game. Integrity is something that players need on the court and in their lives. You should not get in the habit of violating your integrity to gain an advantage, as in many areas of life that can get you into real trouble.
• You leave your success in the hands of the referees. When you are looking for the whistle you are walking by faith in something you can’t control. You want to be in complete control of your game on the basketball court. Leaving YOUR success in the hands of anybody else on the basketball court is essentially weakness.
• Flopping takes energy. And flopping is misdirected energy. It takes work to “create” a foul when there is none there. Players who flop are not using all the energy they can to score a basket, even when the potential to score is there.
• Flopping creates the potential for a turnover or score. What happens when you try to sell a foul call and you don’t get it? More often than not, a turnover is created. This happens when you let the ball drop to the ground while you are acting out exaggerated contact, or the ball sails out of bounds while you are flailing your arms in the air. Flopping is a risky proposition; if you don’t get the foul call, bad things usually happen. On the defensive end, a flop to sell a charge that is not whistled can result in a clear path to the lane for the man you are guarding.
• Have you ever read the Boy Who Cried Wolf? If you are in the habit of trying to sell a foul when it is not there, you are at risk of not getting the call when it is there. When a referee begins to look at your reactions skeptically, you lose the benefit of the doubt when it is not 100% clear to him if you were fouled or not. This can hurt you late in games when you actually are fouled and it is not called. We see this happen frequently at the pro level.
Young players, stop complaining. And stop flopping. It is hurting youth basketball and it is hurting you as an individual. Remain strong in your effort to score the basketball and continue to give full defensive effort on the other end. If you do these things, not only do you build positive habits for yourself, but you remain in control of your success and you make the world of youth basketball a much better place.