CYO – West Diablo


Congrats on your decision to join the ranks (or return) of West Diablo CYO officials for the 2015-16 season. This is exactly how I started out as an official 10 years ago. My teenage daughter and I signed up to referee CYO basketball.

In this post I will outline what I feel is the basic job description of the CYO basketball official. In addition I will provide links to videos and other resources that can help new officials become better officials.

The Basic Job Description of the CYO official:

1. Pre-Game Responsibilities

  • Get 2 table volunteers
  • Scoresheets available/ completed
  • Collect game fees from head coaches
  • Ensure that the surroundings of the court are safe
  • Get teams into pre-game prayer in a timely fashion.
  • Get starters in position and checked in with the scorer.

2. In-Game Administration

  • Know your rules set! (Ball size, Press rules, Free throw restrictions, 3-point goals?, stop-clock play)
  • Keep the game safe. Keep the game fair. Allow the teams and the players to compete in a fair and safe fashion.
  • Call fouls and violations to the best of your ability.
  • Efficiently and effectively administer Jump Ball, Throw-ins & Free-throws
  • Efficiently and effectively administer Substitutions
  • Efficiently and effectively resolve issues (Score, Clocks, All play rule, Alternating Possession, Safety)

3. Post-Game Administration

  • Ball back to the correct team.
  • Acknowledge your crew (parent volunteers at the table)
  • Avoid possible confrontation by staying out of harms way.
  • Prepare for fist bumps/handshakes from teams

4. Rinse & Repeat! Get going on the pre-game work for your next game.

A bit more on officiating the ballgame itself:

  • Know your primary coverage area (PCA).
  • Position yourself to see the matchups in your area.
  • Work hard to get and keep an open look on your competitive matchup.
  • Make calls for fouls and violations. Blow your whistle!
  • Be a good partner.

Communication. You will have a better ballgame if you avoid confusion by the game’s stakeholders: Your Partner, Table Crew, Coaches, Players, Fans. Take time to be clear and concise with your calls. Slow down!

  • Address any non-basketball behaviors/ actions immediately!
  • Control the benches. Set them away from the table. Address coaches who stand and coach.
  • Keep it safe. Keep it fair. Allow the teams and players to compete.
  • Have Fun!

Important!! Your excellence as a play-calling official is not the most important thing in working CYO ball games.  Make calls. Blow your whistle. If you make a kinda crappy call at one end, you will make the same kinda crappy call at the other end. It will be fair, and our main objective is for the players and teams be allowed to compete, fairly and safely. 

As time goes on, your play calling will improve, but remember that it will improve faster if you embrace the fact that you need to blow your whistle and make calls.

Helpful Links:

My YouTube Newbie Series (Learn basic high school mechanics)

Gear. Where to get it? You can always get a shirt and whistle at Big 5, but the quality isn’t great.  There are many online resources with quality gear. Gerry DavisPurchase Officials, even Amazon (with free Prime shipping).  Locally there is an option as well! Check out Jeff Willis’ The Officials Outlet in Martinez.

Rules Book. You can purchase rules books, case books, and officiating mechanics manuals at NFHS here and an ebook version of the rules book can be purchased at NFHS here.