The steps to becoming a basketball official are relatively simple! Following is a synopsis of the process. You can certainly tackle this yourself or we at the Fieldhouse will be glad to help you with the process and train you also! If you would like to attend one of our inquiry sessions to determine whether you want our help or not you can view our schedule or contact Tim at 417-889-9999.

Review the information contained in the MSHSAA website. Click on the “learn” tab to get the basic information. If you prefer to receive assistance from the FieldHouse in registering with MSHSAA for the test, please go to the FieldHouse Referee Training Progam and pick a date to attend one of our inquiry sessions.

If you want to proceed on your own through MSHSAA, simply follow their steps to register and take the required test.

Part of the process will include submitting to a background check conducted by the Missouri Highway Patrol. This is a necessary step that helps to ensure that the young people participating in organized athletics are supervised (officiated) by individuals that have proven that they can conduct themselves appropriately.

Once you have completed and passed the test, MSHSAA will notify you that you are certified and deliver a patch to you for display on your basketball official’s jersey. At this time you should probably proceed to purchasing your uniform (gear). There are many outlets for this, but I would recommend contacting Between the Lines ( because they are a local company in Miller MO and the owner is a member of the Southwest Missouri Basketball Officials Association. Which brings us to another topic!

If you plan to officiate MSHSAA sanctioned games such as Jr. and Sr. High School games, you will need to purchase different gear as opposed to just calling leagues and tournaments at the Field House.

If you intend to call school ball, I would recommend that you join an association that acts as the assignor for school ball games. I am a member of the SMBOA and would suggest that you join this Association as well. The costs are minimal and the rewards are only limited by your willingness and desire. You can access the SMBOA.

Now, let’s get back to actual training to officiate. Once you have been certified by MSHSAA the FieldHouse is ready to give you on the job training! Initially you will need to attend a specific class that is considered orientation. At this point you will simply be “coached” by a certified official regarding the very basic mechanics of officiating. You will be hearing a great deal about “mechanics” throughout your career as an official because the difference between a good ref and a great ref is often measured by ones ability to utilize good mechanics. Your “coach” will also help you understand “position” which essentially addressed where you should be on the court based upon where the players and ball are at. Once your coach feels that you have an adequate understanding of these basic concepts you will be given the opportunity to get on the court with certified officials in an actual game situation. You will initially be “shadowing” one of the officials. This official will help you begin to understand the appropriate way to administer the game. Unfortunately during this stage of training you are still not compensated monetarily. Once the official you are shadowing certifies that you are “ready to go” you will be assigned paid games! Then the training really begins.


Tim McKnight

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