How To Referee On Basketball 2022

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Refereeing a basketball game is undoubtedly extremely challenging but can be a lot of fun. It’s not only about handling the heat, grabbing a whistle, and getting on the court but also there are many more things you need to know.

If you are someone who loves basketball but is not interested to play it or coaching it, then choosing to be a referee can turn into a good-paying career if you stick with it.

Now, chances are you wish to be a referee for either a short or a long period as you are reading this. Before you put the zebra costume on, let’s know the key things about refereeing basketball games

Some Useful Tips For How To Referee On The Court

How To Referee

Join The NASO

Even if you just plan to referee youth games, our recommendation will be to join the NASO (National Association Sports Official). Being an official for basketball games will be a great option.

Though some people don’t want to be an official (but the process grows on them over time), some love it. But we recommend you be an official. In addition, you will love wearing stripes.

Get To Know The Rules For The Game

Now, spend some time getting to know the rules for the game according to your league. Your league may have some traditional rules for the standard basketball game, you need to know them first.

The local rules can be like, defensive players are not allowed to double-team an offensive player, no backcourt pressure is allowed, and so on. Once you know all of them, then practice calling them before you get stuck into a game decision.

Prepare Yourself For Irate Coaches And Parents

Unwanted things happen, you have to be prepared for those circumstances as a referee from a mental standpoint. Suppose a coach got to understand that his team is about to lose and start screaming at you.

Then, maybe things will get worse, maybe the coach will use slang or be about to start fighting. Whatever the situation is, try to keep yourself calm. Irate parents are another reason to make things worse.

Maybe any of the kid’s arms got hacked by some defensive players and the parents turn tomato-red in the face and blame it on you. Yes, things like these happen. So, it’s better to get ready for unwanted circumstances.

Your Pay As A Referee Will Go Up

Yes, your pay as a referee will go up as the level of play goes up. Things are alike so maybe you will start with getting $10 per game. You may referee an average of 4 games each weekend, which lets you earn an extra $80 each weekend during the season.

If you go for a high school referee, you may make about $100 a night (assuming that you work the junior varsity game before the varsity game). Sometimes, these assignments might get split up.

When you go for college games, you may earn between $500-$1,000 per game. Some of the referees even clear $3,000 a game for games in large conferences. Worth noting, NBA referees generally earn up to $550,00 per year and entry-level officials earn $150,000 annually.

You Will Need To Take Officiating Tests

Before beginning your work as an official, almost each of the leagues will require you to take an officiating test. This is nothing but a formal way for them to know that you are aware of the rules.

They will ask you some of the basics, such as what an offensive 3-second violation happens to be. So, get ready for these.

Worth mentioning, the only league that won’t test your knowledge of basketball is the YMCA program. They may let you officiate a few K-2 basketball games to see how well you can do before allowing you to work games where maybe tougher calls are needed.

You Need To Keep Working On It To Be Good At It 

This is very important for anything you do in your life. You have to put in the best effort to get a better output. Things will be both good for some days and bad for some other days.

So, yeah, if you want to make it to the top levels, you must stick with it. Even if you don’t get paid for referring to recreational league games or volunteer for charitable 3-on-3 tournaments.

Try to take each of the games your association will give you, even if you need to take a vacation day from your regular job. A point to be remembered, good referees get noticed because they don’t interfere needlessly with the game and this will advance you.

Get To Know About The Right Equipment 

It’s important to wear comfortable stripes and get the right equipment. If your referee shirt is super scratchy and when you sweat, you will get puddles around your collar, it will make you feel miserable.

For this, you should always pick the lightweight option, especially if you don’t feel comfortable wearing the common V-neck design.

Another important thing is to choose a high-quality basketball referee whistle. The best will be the whistles that clip to your shirt rather than hanging around the neck. They will give a loud, clear sound even if you can’t get much air into them.

It would be better if you carry a notepad to keep at the scorer’s table. Trusting a hometown scorer to keep track of fouls accurately will not be a wise option, especially in a big game.

Moreover, you can bring along a pressure gauge to test the game basketballs. Thus, you will make sure the equipment being used meets your association’s specific standards.



Being a basketball referee will bring a lot of joy though it also requires a lot of work. If you have a passion for the game and take it as your career, becoming an official will be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life.

So, don’t overthink anymore, go for it. Happy refereeing!


Welcome, everyone! I'm John C. Clerk Founder of Basketball Reviewer, an American living in Wurtsboro, NY. I am great fan of Basketball. I love everything about writing where my favorite topic of writing is sports basically basketball. I am father of two kids and love to play basketball with my kids, kayaking, skateboarding etc. If you would like to chat with me please feel free to reach out via facebook or twitter or email.

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