How to Become a Basketball Referee 2021


Becoming a basketball referee can be a fulfilling way to stay involved in a sport you are passionate about. Referees are paid for their service, though how much varies depending on the level of play one officiates. If you have an interest in becoming a basketball referee, getting started is a fairly easy process. Before you know it, you might be making calls in the NBA.


Method 1 of 3:Learning the GameGo ad free and support

1Learn the rules. The first step toward being a referee for basketball games is learning the rules. In order to be a referee, you must serve as the expert and deliver appropriate calls quickly and confidently. The only way to do so will be to develop a sound understanding of the rules.

Purchase a rule book. Some regions have specific rule books that they require referees to have with them at games. Others may simply follow NCAA or NBA rules, in which case you should invest in a rule book for the appropriate organization.

Practice the hand signals on your own to ensure you have a solid understanding of how to execute them.

Focus on enforcing the rules you are learning when watching basketball on TV or as a spectator at local games.

2Take classes. You can become a basketball official with little to no training, but as a referee, you will be expected to have a thorough understanding of the rules of the game and how they are enforced. It is highly recommended that you attend an officiating training course.

Training courses go over the rules of the game from an officiating perspective, which may be unusual compared to the player's perspective many are accustomed to.

Some courses provide you with certifications that cushion your credentials as an official.

Many of these classes are organized and run by officiating organizations that can schedule you to officiate games.

3Get certified. Depending on the level of officiating you choose to do, you will likely need to apply for certification with a local officiating authority. These groups often coincide with regions that schools compete within. Applying to be certified is often as simple as filling out the application online.

Some regions offer levels of referee certifications, allowing you to referee different level games based on your experience levels or offered tests.

You will need to pass a background check.

After being certified, you will be expected to attend meetings where other officials discuss the sport and elements of officiating.

Depending on the region, you may need to pay a fee for your certification.

Method 2 of 3:Gaining ExperienceGo ad free and support

1Volunteer to referee children's games. Once you are certified and have a solid grip of the rules of the game, you will begin by officiating children's games. Many referees start at the middle school level, serving as the referee in games for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.

Officiating younger kid's games provide you with an opportunity to develop a sound understanding of game mechanics and the officiating process.

Younger kid's games tend to be slower paced, which allows beginner officials more time to learn the process.

2Follow veteran officials' lead. Basketball games are officiated by a single lead referee and two umpires. Until you are a more established referee, you will serve as one of the two umpires. Lead referees are great resources to learn more about the game and officiating.

Aside from your umpire duties, pay attention to how the lead referee manages the game to learn the process.

Ask the lead referee and other more experienced referees questions in order to improve your ability to officiate.

3Pursue further education. Being a referee in basketball games requires continuous learning. Because such a thorough understanding of the rules is required in order to perform adequately and the rules can change, be added or removed every year, it's important that you continue to attend training as you develop your officiating skills.

Attend officiating clinics or training programs offered through your local sports organization or the private sector.

Increasing your officiating credentials will make it easier to transition to serving as a referee in higher level games.

Method 3 of 3:Developing Your Officiating CareerGo ad free and support

1Register with sports organizations and gain game experience. You will often register with the local basketball association as a part of your certification, but do so if you aren't already a member. If there are other school regions in the area that you can commute to, register with them as well.

Officiating games is the only way to develop a thorough understanding of the mechanics of officiating, so volunteer to referee as many games as possible.

These organizations provide resources and support for officials of most scholastic sports.

2Attend meetings. An important part of being a member of a sports organization that provides you with an officiating certification is attending meetings. These meetings provide referees with an opportunity to discuss rule changes and other elements of officiating.

Some organizations offer testing as a part of their meeting schedules. These tests will better prepare you to advance to the next level of officiating.

Attending these meetings gives you an opportunity to network with other officials, ask questions and help others with issues they may have.

3Register with the NCAA and take the officiating exam. Once you have spent a good amount of time officiating at the high school level, you may choose to pursue officiating college level basketball games. The NCAA has a website allows you to register for an account and schedule yourself to take the officiating exam that is required of NCAA referees.

In order to serve as a referee in the NCAA you will have to attend an officiating clinic that goes over many of the important elements of working as a referee in college basketball games.

You will then have to take an officiating exam at one of the scheduled dates, times and locations listed on their website.

As is the case for officiating lower level scholastic sports, you will have to pass a background check in order to officiate NCAA games.

4Apply to referee at NBA camps and the WNBA to get into the NBA. If you are serving as an official in college basketball games and still feel the urge to pursue larger venues, officiating in the NBA may be the right path for you.

You can apply for an officiating position with the NBA on their official website: NBAOfficials.com.

It is expected that you have extensive experience refereeing in college games before applying to officiate in the NBA, though it is not necessarily a requirement.

If accepted, you will begin by officiating events with lower viewer bases like camps and WNBA games. Eventually you can work your way up to higher profile games.