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Are you ready for the Big Call?

Are you ready? check out this short article by NASO online

Link to it here Are You ready for the Big Call? (NASO-online)

In many games there comes at least one key moment, play or action that determines the future course of the contest for officials. It makes the difference between the officials keeping control and all hell breaking loose.

What is that moment? It’s called the moment of truth.

What is a moment of truth? It’s not found in any rulebook or mechanics manual, and yet seasoned officials can sense when their control over a game is diminishing. The smart ones recognize those moments during the game when a contest can either tilt back into control or spin wildly into 60 or 90 minutes of utter chaos.

Some officials call it “time to put up or shut up,” or refer to the “game-critical event” or even “the play of the night.” Others simply call it “the moment.” But in many games there comes at least one key moment, play or action that determines the future course of the contest for officials. It makes the difference between the officials keeping control and all hell breaking loose.

Many officials believe that a moment of truth comes early in any contest, as coaches and players search and feel out the officiating crew, trying to gauge how tightly or loosely the crew will be calling the game.

Others see the end of the game as the likely time for a moment of truth. A close, crucial call in the final minute can send fans, coaches and players into hysterics — or worse.

Most officials, however, concede that a moment of truth can come at any time in a contest. Sure, the calls at the end of the game are magnified because it can make the difference between a “W” or an “L,” but ultimately the players will decide the outcome.

The best officials know how to massage the coaching situations. A popular trick among basketball officials is to go over to the sideline and ask for a towel to wipe the ball off and at that time say softly, “OK, Coach, I heard you. Let’s just get on with it.”

An official’s personality is the best weapon when attempting to keep a critical moment from blowing up. Good officials know how to use their personality to listen and communicate in those situations. That alone can provide the solution to difficult moments when emotions are high. Everyone has emotions. A good personality can control emotions, and thus control situations.

Can officials predict game-critical moments? Most say no. But just as good mechanics can put an official in the right position and mindset to make the right call, preparation can help officials be ready to deal with their moments of truth.

Keeping a contest from slipping out of control is important, but remember that when given the choice between making the right call and keeping players in line, officials first and foremost have to interpret the rules correctly.

There might be a situation in which doing nothing might be the right move during a “moment of truth,” but the vast majority of the time, action is the proper route. Don’t be afraid to do something. Usually after a problem situation in which a game has gotten out of control, the first question the assigner will ask the official is, “What steps did you take to try and control the situation?” If the official did nothing, then he’s 100 percent wrong.

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