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                      OF MODERN
                      Part I
by Valentin Lazarov

  FIBA referee from 1958 to 1982 and an         function of numerous direct or indirect
  Honorary Member in 1976, Valentin             factors. This could be illustrated with the
  Lazarov became FIBA Commissioner in           following pseudo-mathematical formula:
  1983. A member of the FIBA Technical          Q = (A + B + C + D + E + F + G + H)
  Committee since 1976, he received the         x X x Y x Z.
  prestigious Radomir Shaper Award,
  which is given for outstanding contribu-      Where:
  tion to basketball rules and the game of      Q = Level or quality of performance of
  basketball.                                       the Official
                                                A = Physical fitness
  INTRODUCTION                                  B = Correct criteria for physical
  In the course of the last few years, we           contacts
  have witnessed an exceptional progres-        C = Knowledge of the psychology of
  sion and growing popularity of basket-            players, coaches, fans
  ball all over the world.                      D = Knowledge of the rules and
  Contemporary modern basketball is a               interpretations
  spectacular and harmonious combina-           E = Knowledge of offensive
  tion of sheer speed, excellent athletic           and defensive tactics
  qualities, aggressive defenses, and bril-     F = Teamwork
  liant player techniques.                      G = Mechanics of Officiating
  It is quite natural and logical to affirm     H = Knowledge of the work of the table
  that the development of the game is               officials
  closely connected with the development        X = Coefficient for talent and
  of officiating. Consequently, when one            personality
  speaks about "modern basketball," it is       Y = Coefficient for ambition, strong
  necessary to mention the term "modern             will, and courage
  officiating." Modern officiating means        Z = Coefficient for personal chance
  the birth of new and additional require-
  ments for the officials.                      Of course, this formula is only an illus-
  My intention in this article is to update     tration and its aim is to show in which
  and systematize the new demands and           areas and on which elements the               IMPORTANT REMARK
  requirements for game officials, since        efforts of young and ambitious referees       In the following material, I am presenting
  the referees are the people who are           should be concentrated in order to            only a brief summary for each factor,
  actively involved in the application of the   achieve perfection in their perform-          underlining only the major points. The
  latest tendencies in the development of       ance on their way to becoming TOP             reason for that is that each factor repre-
  the game on the court.                        OFFICIALS.                                    sents a separate lecture lasting between
                                                                                              1 and 4 hours, including diagrams and
  FACTORS INFLUENCING THE PERFORMANCE           The formula could also be very useful for     examples from practice.
  OF THE OFFICIALS                              highlighting the main topics in the agen-
  In modern basketball, the level of the        da for clinics for candidates for FIBA ref-   A. PHYSICAL FITNESS
  official's performance is a complex           erees.                                        The referee must follow the action on the
court as closely as possible and be in an      official cannot observe directly when a     action also has a psychological effect on
optimal position in order to make accurate     foul is committed, but they presume that    the reaction of players, coaches, and
judgements. There is a high correlation        in similar situations fouls are nearly      fans. A 100% correct decision that is
between accuracy of calls and optimal          always committed, so they whistle the       called far away from the place of the foul
position of the official. This means that a    play as a foul.                             or the out-of-bounds situation almost
top official must be as fast as-and in some    Or, with today's players having excellent   always provokes undesirable reactions.
situations even faster-the players. He         technique, a call by presumption
must be in top physical condition.             deprives a talented player of a brilliant   The dynamic action of the players and
Very often it's the insufficient mobility of   maneuver and a legitimate play in the       the speed at which the ball can change
the officials that is the reason for some      last second.                                hands requires constant concentration
calls. Being far away from the action, the     The position of the official far from the   by the officials during the whole game.
                                                                                             FIBA ASSIST MAGAZINE | 23 2006 | PAGE 31

On the other hand, the capacity for an         past when the game was less dynamic          one or more physical incidents of physi-
official to concentrate decreases sharply      and aggressive. Nowadays, however, the       cal contact between opponents.
once he becomes physically fatigued.           officials' top physical condition has a      However, only 10% to 15% of them are
The same is also valid for the speed of        fundamental influence on their perform-      sanctioned as personal fouls by the offi-
reaction of the referee, i.e. the speed of     ance on the court.                           cials. That means that the referee's
his motor behaviour.                                                                        approach to this selection must be rather
This process (showed in the diagram            B. CORRECT CRITERIA FOR PHYSICAL             Realistic than Literal.
below), however, could be considerably             CONTACTS                                 The art and the style of the official deal-
slowed down by some factors, of which          The dynamic and attractive magnetism         ing with the contact situations is gener-
the most important is physical fatigue.        of modern basketball does not allow          ally the most criticized area of the offici-
                                               officials to interrupt the game too often,   ating process (around 80%).
Finally, it would be useful to underline the   since for both participants and fans an      It is practically impossible to stop the
stimulating role of the pre-game warm-         interesting game is an unbroken stream       game at each personal contact since it
up (15 to 20 minutes), not only for main-      of spectacular actions. The popularity       will kill the attractive character of the
taining the consistent physiological con-      of the game and its charm strongly           game. Therefore, on the one hand we
dition of the official throughout the com-     depends on the official's criteria for       must try as much as possible not to dis-
petition, but also for reducing the fre-       personal contact.                            turb the flow of the game and on the
quency and severity of muscle injuries.                                                     other we must follow strictly the rules
                                               Statistics affirm that in contemporary       and keep constant control of the game,
CONCLUSION                                     basketball the number of physical con-       as we do not want basketball game to
Top physical fitness is not theoretical in     tacts have doubled and even tripled in       become similar to a rugby game.
basketball officiating, but an absolute        some instances. Almost every two to
necessity. It was not as important in the      three seconds of the game, we witness        All in all, a strict distinction should be
                                                                                                                    drawn between
                                                                                                                    incidental    con-
   INPUT                                                                                           OUTPUT           tacts, which are a
   visual           TRANSMISSION        DECISION-          TRANSMISSION        COMMAND            FINAL EFFECT:     product of the nor-
   perception       OF INFORMATION      MAKING OR          TO CENTRAL          MUSCLES            WHISTLE           mal course of the
   of an            TO BRAIN            SELECTION          NERVOUS             OF MOUTH           AND
   action           CENTRE              BETWEEN MANY       SYSTEM              AND ARMS           SIGNALISATION
                                                                                                                    game, and con-
                                        DECISIONS                                                                   tacts that degen-
                                                                                                                    erate into person-
al fouls. What we understand by                     control of the game.                         CONCLUSION
"Officiating in the spirit of the game" is to   Trying to apply this principle on the court,     Knowledge of the spirit of the advan-
apply this quite difficult distinction suc-     the Officials must be aware it is fully legal-   tage/disadvantage principle and the
cessfully on the court.                         ized by FIBA Rules which state: "The             mature and competent judgment of the
A lot in this area depends on the individual    Officials should not seek to interrupt the       Official in each individual contact situa-
TALENT of the official and his correct          flow of the game unnecessarily in order to       tion should be the KEY factor in deciding
FEELING for realistic approach. This also       penalize personal contact that is inciden-       whether the physical contact should or
is the boundary between the TOP and             tal and which does not give to the player        should not be considered as a personal
theSTANDARD referee.                            responsible an advantage nor place his           foul (see the chart).
                                                opponent at a disadvantage..."
Principle of Advantage / Disadvantage                                                            The final decision: "Foul or no foul" should
On the basis of all above-mentioned facts,      Areas of Application                             be based on the answers to four basic
the classic advantage / disadvantage            ▼ Attractive combinations.                       questions:
principle was created. It advises the offi-     ▼ Direct drive towards the opponent's
cials to consider as personal fouls all            basket.                                       1. What happened?
physical contacts which:                        ▼ Fast breaks.                                   2. Who is involved?
▼ Give an advantage to the player who           ▼ Act of shooting.                               3. Why did it happen or who was respon-
    committed them or to his team.              ▼ Passing the ball.                                 sible?
▼ Cause a disadvantage for the oppo-            ▼ Dribbling the ball.                            4. WILL THIS AFFECT THE GAME?
    nent's player or team.                      ▼ Loss of balance near boundary or cen-
                                                   ter lines.
I always add this very important point:         ▼ Fight for position on the floor.               The second part of the article
▼ Become systematic and risk leading to         ▼ Loose ball on the floor.                       will be published
    an escalation of roughness or losing        ▼ Screens.                                       on the issue N. 24 - January/February 2007.

                                                         FOR THE GAME

                                                        ADVANTAGE /

                       UNBROKEN                                                                  CONTANT

                      GAME FLOW                                                             GAME CONTROL


                                                                                                   FIBA ASSIST MAGAZINE | 23 2006 | PAGE 33

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