Throwing the ball out of bounds is a simple violation at first sight, while everything simple should be simple at identification. Ball comes out of bounds; official fixes the violation and brings the ball to the other team. Kind of a simple thing. But very often a lot of difficulties are hidden in this moment of the game. A lot of difficult and necessary decisions should be carried out so that referee can fairly spot the violation and continue the game positively, being understood by everybody.
Just remember how often ball comes out of bounds during the fighting for the ball at the restricted line of the field. Referee has got to see there: who was the last to touch the ball; if player stepped on the line or he was pushed before that and referee didn’t see the illegal contact because of wrong position. Maybe while a jump ball procedure two players came down and touched the line both or one of them first touched it. Maybe a player got the ball in the air out of bounds and threw it into an opposite team player who was out of bounds either. There are a lot of situations which we can call “ball came out of bounds”. Every decision and situation there has huge significance and price and, of course, brings much confidence for referee. Very often referee’s authority and experience help in right decision-making. But experience comes with years, skilled practice, self-work and analysis.
Out of bounds violation is the simplest decision for an outside spectator. It gives no huge emotions. It’s not like a made three-pointer or a dunk, not the situation which leads to a fight, not a buzzer beater, turnover or blocked shot, that’s just a ball out of bounds. But it can be the most important moment for a referee: to spot fairly that violation.
Official has to outplay every moment of the ballgame and get some positive and respect from teams, earn some authority when he fairly spots the violation.
On the other hand out of bounds violation is pause which referee needs sometimes. Just to catch a breath, switch over the attention after a nervous situation, fix the connection with a secretary’s table, commissioner and colleagues on the floor. To cool off, stop the game with a minute pause, sometimes raise the tempo of the game, silence players and warn them friendly, not applying the official public warnings of a technical foul. And all of that is done just in order to prevent chaos and nervousness in the game.
Just remember how many times our experienced colleagues told us to “show everybody a good-looking, correct, official out of bounds gesture and ‘sell’ your gesture to the game!” Of course there is a deep meaning in this phrase. We have to catch all the positive emotions in this moment because we fairly made a decision there. That’s an ideal situation.
Choice of the right position pertaining to a player throwing the ball in is referee’s work and attention, which he should pay in the moment of the game. Referee has to control everything during the throw in because he starts the game. He has to see secretary’s table, commissioner, colleagues in their right positions, and all the players on the field and the player who throws the ball in. We give the ball to that player only when we see a gesture of readiness. It’s a very important procedure. “The way you start the game is the way it goes”. The way you give the ball is the way you start your work in our case.
How should referee give the ball to a player? It’s an individual procedure. We can give the ball from hands to hands, off the floor or by pass. Everything depends on definite situation. Another important moment is referee’s position during the throw-in pertaining to the game and players. We have to stay behind or at the side of inbounder, but never in front of him, because we close the throw-in process and don’t see it, we lose control of the game. Maybe it’s a trifle, but there are no trifles in the game. Even some little mistakes accrue and then create a big problem. It’s like a snow lump coming down the mountain. Another situation happens after a difficult, arguable out of bounds violation. A lot of ardency, relationship ascertainment, emotions, anger starts to come up, because one team is not glad at referee’s decision. Referee has to quickly and fairly make his decision without talks and inappropriate discussions, after looking at his partners if he needs some help, then quickly continue the game. Conflicts and arguing often come up during inappropriate pauses, but during the game time everybody do their best to win and there is no time for arguing. That’s why quantity of pauses should be minimal. If arguable violation happens and your partners can’t help you with your confusion, you always have a couple of milliseconds to make a decision. Jump ball is the last but sometimes fair decision in such situations. But you have some time yet, you control the game and everything is under your control. Referee has to define who is going to have the possession by behavior, psychology, actions of players on the floor. Some of those are: behavior eye-movement, byplay, gestures, reaction to referee’s decision, cues.
Very often referee, who knows players psychology and who learns who players are and their behavior and temper before the game, he can fix and even feel who’s been the last to touch the ball. Referee is right in a lot of situations, but it’s a huge risk. Only experience, authority, everyday analysis of the game, referee’s concentration and referees’ teamwork give a chance to risk in the game. A lot of moments of out-of-bounds violation are to be demounted. It’s a simple violation at first sight, but often it’s a very difficult, crucial moment which requires some overconcentration and certainty in your actions. But there is nothing more important than a trifle! The whole life consists of them. We can say it about the game either. Lost trifle gives start to the “snow lump” of mistakes. We have to try to feel and pre-see all game moments but never forget that even a trifle can affect your reaching huge strategic goal. “If you can see little things then you can see huge either”. But to see, to control and to call, to fix are not the same things! It’s better to control and to help each other than to call every time, to stop the game and to argue.
Ball out of bounds is a simple, ordinary violation, trifle as we can say. But it’s so important to spot that violation in referee’s work!