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#3205657 - 02/10/14 08:06 PM
Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's
Big Dave2 Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 02/03/02
Posts: 8232
Loc: Belle Plaine, MN, USA
Do you do it?

Let me start by saying, I'm usually not much for yelling at referees at a high school or youth basketball game but this past weekend I almost got kicked out of my son's 8th grade tournament.

To me, 8th grade is one of those times in life where you have a few boys on every team that look more like men than boys and a few boys on each team that definitely look like boys but yet about half of all referees we end up with seem to want to call the games like it is 5th graders. It's bad enough when they don't call the traveling calls but at least no one usually gets hurt from a non call travelling. Kids DO get hurt when they refuse to call fouls and get control of a wild game. These kids are fast and strong at that age and if you let them get away with blatant fouls and elbows, etc., it only escalates from there.

At the tournament this past weekend we had been grumbling about a certain set of refs the whole game because of the constant no-calls. At one point the whistle blows due to a jump ball on the floor. As soon as the whistle blows a much larger kid from the opposing team picks up the ball with our kid still hanging on to it and drops him onto the floor. Our group of parents goes wild and waits for the technical so we can feel that at least there was a little bit of justice for this poor 8th grade boy as he writhes in pain on the floor but as usual there is no call! The kids on the opposing team are laughing and I am going nuts. Some guy who is one of the tournament organizers comes running into the gym and starts yelling at us. All I told him was that he should be giving the refs, that his association is paying, the hairy eye ball instead of us parents. He tells us it's just a youth tournament and to get over it or he will kick us out. We explained to him that it was not the winning or losing that mattered it was that we wanted to leave with our kids in one piece.

It ended up that the kid that got dropped on the floor got a mild concussion and had to sit out of the game they had tonight. Tonight's game was more of the same, very few fouls called leads to a wild game and kids on the bench injured. I ended up spouting off again and yelled "what do you have to do to get a foul?" This ref took the time to motion for me to calm down.

Maybe I am just a jerk and I do feel bad for being vocal in front of the kids but I think these "paid" refs are not doing their jobs correctly and the result is going to be injured kids. What do you guys think, did I go too far?

I don't believe in superstars
Organic food and foreign cars
I don't believe the price of gold
The certainty of growing old
That right is right and left is wrong
That north and south can't get along
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#3205687 - 02/10/14 08:38 PM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
thatoneguy Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 11/30/08
Posts: 2504
Loc: Walker, MN
Controlling the game so that's it's safe is a primary job of officials, at any level. I agree that yelling isn't ideal, but I'd rather yell and at least try to do something than keep quiet and watch a kid get hurt.

Full disclosure: I've been on all sides of the issue (played hoops from age 5 through D2 college ball; coached every level from kids to AAU; reffed from kids games through college games).
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#3205697 - 02/10/14 08:51 PM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
mojogunter Offline
HSOList.com Family

Registered: 05/11/08
Posts: 187
Loc: Andover,MN
I wasn't there, but what kind of message do you show the kids on your team spouting off like you did? I have coached youth athletics for years, and I have seen some appalling behavior from parents over the years. A few times it has been a parent from our team. As a coach it is embarrassing to be associated with this parent. The child who's parent was causing a scene looked to be mortified. I will say that certain communities have a reputation of being complete idiots. I know how frustrating watching youth sports can be. I just watched the worst officiated game of basketball I think I have ever seen. Yes, it drove me crazy, but someone yelling at the ref wouldn't change the way they call the game. In fact may have a negative result in the way they call the game against my son's team. The correct way would be to talk to the tournament director calmly in private and not in front of everyone.
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#3205711 - 02/10/14 09:09 PM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
Scott M Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 05/31/04
Posts: 8234
Loc: Little Bohemia
That's tough - you are right about big size and aggression differences in junior high school. I ref that age group on rare occasions - huge differences in skill, size, aggression, and quickness. You hate to see glaring mismatches in all of the aforementioned when you call games. They get ugly in a hurry.

I hate the parents that want everything called, but most days I believe I call a fair game both ways on lines, procedures, and most importantly fouling.

From a player perspective, I played and still play mostly 3 or 4, the consummate stretch 4 if you count on the prototype having a broken J laugh While growing into 6'4" with size 16's, I learned I needed to build up lateral movement quickness (move my feet) for guarding 3's and pick up some weight and tenacity for playing in the post. I would say in something like 10-20% of my games from 7th through 12th grades did I enjoy a height/weight advantage in the post. So when things got tough, even chippy inside, I learned that whatever the refs allowed, was how I was gonna play. If I'm getting shoved in the back, I've giving elbows right back. I still play that way in pickups- get physical with me, and I'm fine with it, provided you can take what you dish out yourself. Most importantly when you are undersized is to use positioning to your advantage both on defense and in rebounding.

So Dave, you may not like to hear it, but tell your boy to give it right back. I think parents and coaches have a right to question a few calls. I can still remember one of my youth coaches sharing a few poignant sentences with the officiating team and pointing to the scoreboard foul count when it was 9-1 team fouls while the other team was shooting bonus free throws before halftime in a game that was played with equal amounts of physicality and aggression. Some days the refs get it wrong, but most of the time it evens out. The speed and physical intensity really picks up annually from grades 7 on up. And remember - it's not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog.
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#3205738 - 02/10/14 10:03 PM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Scott M]
Biff Tannen Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 03/25/07
Posts: 2069
Loc: Central MN
I used to ref all grades from 5th to Varsity. Boys and girls. No matter what call I made someone didn't like it. If my partner and I called it tight or let them play someone was complaining. The parents that yelled I just ignored them which made them that more mad. There's one person who should complain about calls and that's the head coach. Any complaining from the bench and they got warned. If a head coach had a question I would do my best to answer it.

"Never give up! Failure and rejection are only the first step to succeeding."
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#3205740 - 02/10/14 10:07 PM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
birdswacker Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 11/22/02
Posts: 462
Loc: wyoming mn us
Dave I agree with you 100%. When my son played in 8th grade we played a tonka team one of there players literally slapped our player across the face 2-3' in front of a ref. Our players mother was PO'd like you can imagine she should have been. She said something to the ref in a semi loud voice and he turned to her and shrugged his shoulders. There was know way he could've missed it it was right in front of him. Several parents then began the ribbing of the the refs so the calls went against us 9-1 like you said. A few parents did talk to the tournament director his excuse was "Can't you cut the refs a break they had to ref 4 games instead of the regular 3". I've seen some very very good refs and some very very bad refs. The bad always seem to be the lazy guy blowing his whistle once in a while and letting the other ref do the majority foul calling. But yet he's still getting paid to do a job. I always thought it was funny about the "I'm the god ref" that can be a half court and be able to make a grabbing call behind all the players and Mr bad ref is like ok I don't have to blow my whistle at all now.
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#3205810 - 02/11/14 06:38 AM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
greebs Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 11/23/02
Posts: 1067
Loc: Sioux Falls, SD US
Its the coach job to discuss those things with the ref. the refs generally do not hear what anybody in the crowd says anyhow, unless its one of those parents who really goes out of there way to embarrass themselves. It's frustrating as parent when you see bad officiating, especially when someone gets hurt but reality is that its part of the game, like it or not.

Never forget too that we always notice the bad calls that go against our team much more than the opposite. Just go to a game sometime where you don't know any of the kids and watch the crowd on both sides. Someone on one side or the other will be yelling or complaining about something. In most cases though you will notice the refs are doing their best and not trying to favor one team over the other.
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#3205818 - 02/11/14 07:03 AM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
chasineyes Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 2547
Loc: Shakopee, MN
How old were these refs?? Some of our poor/bad ones are the "kids" who are reffing. The best ones are the folks in their 40's and 50's!!!!

On a side note, I've been coaching in-house for 6 years and at the start of EVERY game I will take time to meet with the refs and inform them that we practice ONE time a WEEK! So if they could do their best to slow the game down and call FOULS it will only help to reinforce the rules/guidlines that we try to coach in the 60 minutes with the kids. Nothing [PoorWordUsage] me off more than the defender acting like a wild badger when going after the ball of a kid who has never played before. Can't wait for the kids to get into skiing and snowmobiling!! wink
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#3205827 - 02/11/14 07:31 AM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
DTro Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 08/19/00
Posts: 18806
Loc: South of the River
If safety of the kids were truly the concern, then it would be very easy for the coach and/or parent to not allow the kids to play that game.† If you want to make a statement towards this particular team of officials, then simply donít play and then file a formal complaint with whatever body governs the activity.

I lived basketball my entire school years.† Basketball was my life.† It was all I cared about.†† Yet,† I donít think I can remember one single detail about the entire 8th grade season.† Point being that it might seem like a big deal right now to be sitting out or forfeiting a game in the name of safety, but in the big scheme life itís not even the tiniest of a blip on the radar.

I got my fair share of Tís on the court for yelling at the refs and I never really did learn my lesson, but I sure didnít want to see my parents or my friends parents up the stands getting out of control and being a jackwagon.†† In high school one of my best friends dad one time actually stormed into the locker room at half time and went bonkers at both the coaches and officials.† It was embarrassing for me so I can only imagine how my friend felt
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#3205845 - 02/11/14 08:19 AM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
harvey lee Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 12/01/05
Posts: 32125
Loc: SC MN
I can understand when some get upset will call's, heck I do to but the last thing I am going to do is dam at the ref's.

I watch some of my grnaddaughter's softball, vollyball games and yes there are some bad call's.

The last thing I would ever do is embarrass my grandaughter by complaining at the ref's. Think how much you more than likely embarrassed your son or daughter as I am sure they were.

If you do not like the calls, talk to those in charge after the game, or, become a ref and cure those issues.

Every person see's a different game and some let the players play and some call every little thing.

My dad got roped into refing one of my 6th baseball games. He said never again as no matter what call you made someone got mad or upset as thier son or daughter was called out.

Ref's make good calls and they make bad calls, just aprt of the game as they are human. I would guess the majority of the bad calls are ones they may not have seen correctly as I highly doubt to many ref's are against a particular team. dam at them all the time and that could change also.

It's just a game, people get too wound up over these sports.

You may believe the grass is greener on the other side. If you take the time to water yours, it would be just as green.



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#3205857 - 02/11/14 08:41 AM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
nofishfisherman Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 01/31/05
Posts: 6017
Loc: Twin Cities
I get where you are coming from on wanting to give the refs an ear full but I don't really think its the right course of action, at least not in the manner it was done. If safety is the concern then the complaint needs to be made in the proper manner, screaming from the stands isn't it. When I've been involved in coaching a parents rant from the stands was ignored completely, I didn't even listen enough to find out who or what they were yelling about. In this case it sounds like you had a very legit reason for being upset but even the right message won't do any good if its delivered the wrong way.

I'm curious, what was the head coach doing while these fouls were not being called? It is really the coaches job to bring these concerns to the refs.

I also agree that if safety is at risk then the act of pulling your kids out of the tournament as a protest is probably the best option. It not only protects the kids but it also sends a clear message to the tournament organizers and the refs that winning is not the issue and that safety is your only concern.

"I want to share something with you: The three little sentences that will get you through life. Number 1: Cover for me. Number 2: Oh, good idea, Boss! Number 3: It was like that when I got here."
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#3205879 - 02/11/14 09:11 AM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
Getanet Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 12/30/08
Posts: 1880
Loc: Mpls, MN
Obviously none of us were there, but since you asked for our opinions - yes, I think you overreacted. If the tournament organizers had to come over and warn you and other parents - you had crossed the line.

Anyone who has played youth sports knows there are some games with poor officiating. Parents going berserk only adds fuel to the fire to a game that is getting out of hand. It makes your team and city look bad, often embarrasses the players, and does nothing constructive other than allowing the parents to blow off some steam.
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#3205888 - 02/11/14 09:22 AM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: harvey lee]
JeffB Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 12/09/08
Posts: 1152
Loc: MN
I also have an 8th grader that plays basketball. Since my son has a brittle bone disease I've had to talk to the doctors many times on how to balance keeping him safe and letting him be a kid and have fun. I had to tell him no football when he came to me and told me he saw himself as a tight end and wanted to play football. His true love is basketball so with the doctors ok we have let him play. So far his major broken bones have come from other activities and not basket ball. When he has a game I choose not to yell at the refs even though I want them to protect my kid more than anything. From other activities he has broken his Femur, fibula, tibia, 3 broken arms and a few fingers, so I get your feeling of need to protect your kid. After all my son has been through he's a smart, well liked, good looking kid that has a lot of great friends so I'm proud of him. Good luck Big Dave.
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#3205911 - 02/11/14 09:42 AM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
ozzie Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4715
Loc: central minnesota
When you put your kids in sports there is one thing always to remember...it is for the kids enjoyment and fun, not yours. Yes you want whats best for your kid and you want to protect your kid but rather than yelling and making an A$$ out of yourself go to your kids coach and let them know you arent happy and if they aren't doing anything try talking to the refs instead of emotionally yelling at them. Your kids are tougher than you think and it is times like that to make it a teaching moment rather than a statement of being a jerk (even if you were in the right to be mad you are still looked as a jerk for spouting off at a grade school game)
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#3205932 - 02/11/14 10:02 AM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
DrJuice1980 Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Specailist

Registered: 06/14/10
Posts: 1500
Loc: Apple Valley, MN
Seems like the coach needs to have that talk with the parents that he is the one to communicate with refs and not you. As a coach you always what to let not only the players but the players parents (even more important) that this is your team to coach in games and practices and there responsibility as parents is to enjoy watching their kids play because it is all about the kids, not you parent (+1 Ozzie). If the coach loses the parents then disaster happens, too many cooks in the kitchen is never a good idea. If your boys coach did nothing then I would have words for him. I know he can not control this type of behavior directly but he can indirectly by calling a TO, meeting with refs and other coaches and settle the manner. Did that not happen?

Also remember its a physical sport and you have a court packed with hormone raging 8th graders. Some things are going to happen. Put him in swimming if you dont want anything to happen to him.
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#3205956 - 02/11/14 10:37 AM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
PierBridge Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 02/22/05
Posts: 9712
Loc: MPLS!
Basketball officiating is the most difficult and thankless of all sports to work.
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#3206150 - 02/11/14 03:49 PM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
graingrower Offline
HSOShow.com Family

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 166
Loc: Rockfield, MN & Big Plain, SD ...
Next month will mark the beginning of my fifth year coaching an elite AAU girls team.

Officiating has become increasingly difficult to manage, parents only complicate the matter. My coaching style leaves my players with no doubt as to who will represent them when communicating with referees. I have no fear of leaving the bench to silence a spectator in the bleachers representing my team in an unproductive manner.

Keep the game in perspective; it's grade eight school ball. Don't be "THAT GUY'.
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#3206316 - 02/11/14 08:30 PM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: graingrower]
blue_healer_guy Offline

Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 02/12/01
Posts: 1681
Loc: mn
I would have to say baseball is tougher. Your looking at about 250 decisions to make in a game (pitches). Granted about half are no brainers, hs guys probably get 80 percent of the correct. mlb probably 90. But in the stands, they are only about 50/50.
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#3206430 - 02/12/14 12:55 AM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
Michael L Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 597
Loc: Duluth/Chicago
That's a tuff one for you, believe me. There is a fine line between voicing your concerns and becoming a crapp throwing ape. I think you did what you needed to do. Might of been more bothersome to you if you just stayed quiet and let it pass.


Edited by Michael L (02/12/14 12:56 AM)

Two tears in a bucket
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#3206560 - 02/12/14 09:31 AM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
chasineyes Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 2547
Loc: Shakopee, MN
I attended a High school game last night, and can tell you that the parents of those kids are just as big of a PIA to refs.. I cannot (well by now I can) believe how whiney, vocal, childlish these parents act. It's no wonder kids start dropping out of sports by 11th and 12th grade.
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#3206750 - 02/12/14 02:30 PM
Re: Yelling at High School Basketball Referee's [Re: Big Dave2]
dfv87 Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 07/26/02
Posts: 1084
Loc: becker mn usa
This one is in my brain today also... I coach and parent my 4 kids for basketball 2 boys 2 girls... I will grumble about 50-50 calls... I will lament out of position calls and I can stomach bad call because nobody is perfect but what drives me CRAZY is refs that just don't care and are not engaged in the game. A ref that NEVER crosses half court to get into position, moves an inbound play closer to him so he doesn't have to move. doesn't call anything because the clock might stop. my Kids and kids that I coach are taught to play as hard as they are allowed to play (But never cross the line from aggressive to stupid/cheap). When refs dont temper that by enforcing rules it escalates and then it is the "players" that are out of control... If a ref lets someone get hurt because they are not enforcing rules then I would be the first one to let them have it, if I was coaching. As a fan you have to let your coach do that, if he/she does not then you need to discuss that with the coach. Or go get the director yourself. I have done this, "come watch this rugby/basketball game you are putting on before someone gets hurt" and they have come down and talked to officials.

Score clock operators/book keepers on ipods and cell phones is another hot button for me... but that is for another rant.


Edited by dfv87 (02/12/14 02:32 PM)

Time fishing with your kids is time invested wisely!
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