Dealing with Coaches

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

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 sometime make the mistake of explaining a rule to a coach in response to a coach's comment or question on a call.  Officials need to respond to coaches' questions, but do so briefly. Warning to officials: Know the rules!
Warning to coaches: Officials are trained to respond to questions, not comments.

Official to Coach Communication Lesson #1: Speak to Me, I'll Speak To You

I love Frank Sinatra! His music relaxes me. I listen to him as I take my daily power walks and contemplate an upcoming game or review games from  the past.  On yesterday's walk, I was replaying in my head, a caustic exchange with a coach, when at that very moment, my iPod shuffled to " I've Got You Under My Skin". I laughed at the uncanny timing of this and also at how the song's title appropriately describes officials; feelings about some coaches, and vice versa.

This blog begins a series of lessons learned from my mistakes in dealing with coaches.  I hope that officials and coaches who read this may see some of themselves in these and take heart that we can listen to each other and learn together.

The first in a series of blog posts on the lessons learned from my mistakes in dealing with coaches.

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