Friday, July 4, 2008

Does screaming at the refs really help a team?

You likely read where the NBA has hired a former Army Major General to supervise its officials. It's a smart move by David Stern.

By hiring a respected outsider to lead the NBA referees will help , his background is perfect fit .

Despite what many fans may think, the NBA refs do a great job. Of course they miss a call from time to time, but overall, their work is stellar.

I remember one of my first weeks as an assistant in ORL when I was sitting behind Magic coach Chuck Daly and complaining about a call during the game.

Chuck looked over his shoulder at me and said, "Chart it."

His contention was that the calls refs make are correct about 98 percent of the time. So I started charting the calls. That night, I watched the tape, carefully and objectively going over each call.

Afterward, I put the pencil down and laughed. As usual, Chuck nailed it. The c
alls were 98 percent accurate. I'll never forget that.

Later in his career, my Dad made a point to lay off the refs until he knew -- without a doubt -- that they'd blown a call. Only then would he complain. But it was only then and only once during a game (ok, maybe twice).

In 20 years of coaching, I've come to the conclusion th
at constantly chirping at refs takes a coach away from coaching his team. It's a distraction -- both for him and his players.  That's not to say I won't let a ref have it from time to time.  But constantly hammering the refs makes it impossible to focus on the task at hand.

Further, a coach who complains throughout the game isn't doing his team any favors with the officials.

I can't stand going to AAU, high school, and CYO games when the coaches ride the refs instead of just coaching their guys. I've even seen junior high and YMCA games where a coach just nags on the refs the entire game.

Instead of teaching his kids and looking for trends, tendencies, and opportunities to take advantage of an opponent's weaknesses, he's busy screaming at the officials.

Do the kids and your players a favor and keep the focus on them.