Referees should use only the official signals defined in the FIBA Basketball Rules. It is a professional sign and attitude to use only the official signals. Personal habits and preferences only demonstrate a lack of understanding and professional attitude.
When communicating decisions with signals it is good to remember that the use of signals creates a strong perception among the people who are watching the referees. It is one piece in the overall package of providing a trusted and accepted refereeing image. Often we think that there is no need to practise the official signals at all, but it is highly necessary.
A checklist for successful use of the signals:
1. Use official and authorized FIBA signals
a. Each signal has a start and a stop
b. When finishing the signal, freeze it and count “one-two” in your mind
3. Strong, Sharp, Visible and Decisive signals (practice this in front of the mirror)
4. Use both hands for direction, depending which shoulder is in the front.
5. Treat each team, player and play with the same standard (no histrionics)
6. Remember less is more (no repetition, one clear and strong signal)
7. Verbally support the signal at all times.
A checklist for successful reporting to the scorers’ table:
1. Walk sharply to a spot where you have visual contact with the table. Minimize distance – think
where is your next position after reporting.
2. Stop, both feet side by side on the floor and breathe (body balance – shoulders level)
3. Rhythm (start – stop -“one – two” / start – stop-“one -two”/ start -stop-“one – two”)
4. Identify: Number, nature of foul and penalty (throw-in or free throws)
5. Nature of the foul must be the same as what really happened in the play
6. Verbally support the reporting to the scorer’s table.