Photo credit: FIBA 3×3
I didn’t know it was so cool! Really, I must admit I had no idea how great games were there! I wasn’t alone with my thoughts on the FIBA 3×3 U18 World Championship in Debrecen last weekend. The city hasn’t seen bold basketball teams for long, and now they were happy to join the show.
But I’m not intending to write about supporters here. I was one of the referees, nominated for the first time to officiate this new sport. Yes, this is different from basketball. Ok, there is the ring, and players need to dribble the ball, which is different from what we use for 5 on 5.
The rules are also different. The game lasts for 10 minutes or 21 points, and after the 7th team foul, every personal foul (except for offensive) costs 2 free throws. Then, at the 10th, it’s 2 plus possession. Since, on an average, you can win a game by scoring 15-17 points, fouls weigh like 20 times more than for normal basketball game.
You need to watch out for a lot of other things. Jump ball goes to the defensive, so you need to know who was had the ball the last, even is there is only one basket, and there is a huge fight for the ball on the ground after a field goal attempt. Also, you want to know the number of team fouls by heart, since you don’t want any surprise after a reflex call on overtime that results in 2 shots, and the game is over.
These make officiating really difficult. Especially when you are a rookie for 3×3. And this is exactly why it is so rewarding.
Believe me, I haven’t felt anything like this long ago. Games were so fast to referee at the beginning, that sometimes I didn’t know where I was (not literally, of course). I was out of my comfort zone.
Your subconscious mind handles a lot of things officiating your sport with many games in your pocket. You don’t have to consciously watch out for things, because your auto-pilot does the job. But now, on a new court, with music screaming loud at the baseline, you can forget about your auto-pilot.
You need to “switch the chip” in your mind, and learn again. You have to adapt to the new style and new situations. And when you face the first game you decided by a wrong call, you feel something you may haven’t felt before. Your emotions sit on your face, and if you don’t watch out, you may enter the vicious circle, because you need to officiate the next game on the other court on the next minute.
This happened to me. And you know what? I’m grateful for this. The reason of my gratitude is that it helps me learn how to adapt.
We grow faster out of our comfort zones!
I learned to hold back my whistle (in certain situations), and how to clear my mind and be more focused. I learned that I need to be faster, and how to be more preventive. I learned how to count team fouls, and that balance is sometimes more important than good calls.
There are great benefits in refereeing 3×3. Besides, you see an exciting new dimension of basketball, and meet a lot of great people from around the globe. Look for this great opportunity to learn how to let the show run and control the game at the same time. This is all for the supporters at the end of the day.
A great product that is still in the beginning of its evolution.
Have you officiated 3×3? How did you feel? What were your impressions? What did you struggle with? What was your biggest challenge? Feel free to add your voice in the comments below!