Basketball is a very popular sport, and with good reason. It appeals to boys and girls, can be played at any time of year, and exists at many different levels of experience and competitiveness. If you’re someone who loved the sport, and you’re thinking about becoming an official to stay involved, there’s a way to do it. Keep in mind that your requirements may vary depending on what state you live and plan to officiate in, but no matter where you are, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Learn the Game

Even if you played in high school or college, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on the game. If you’re going to be a basketball official, you’ll want to learn the rules inside and out, and they might have changed since you played. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to a game, start going again to see what’s changed and get a feel for how things work. Learn the rules of the game and, if you can get your hands on one, pick up a video or book about basketball officiating to learn the basics. Having that kind of foundation will help when you start seriously thinking about officiating games.

Look at Your State’s Requirements

Training and certification for basketball referees is handled differently depending on your state. Check out the website that handles the sport in your state to look at your specific requirements. Some states provide online training and testing, and others will have you register with a local association for more individual training and testing. Keep in mind that training programs will involve tests of your physical and mental ability to handle a game situation.

Get Involved

Whether or not your state requires you to register with a local association during your training, it would be a good idea to reach out to one anyway. Showing that you’re engaged and serious about it will leave an impression, and making those connections could help you later on. When you’re at a game, ask the referees about local associations and who to contact. When you start attending, ask serious questions about the game and job.

Officiate Wherever You Can

You’re not going to get to big leagues anytime soon, and you have to get experience somewhere. Start small and pay attention to what’s offered in your area. Ask local parks, recreational organizations, and community centers for information on recreational basketball leagues and attend whatever training they offer. Even officiating for a recreational youth sports program will give you some experience with officiating procedures that can be applied toward games for adults or older students that you officiate later on.

ArbiterSports for Basketball Referees

No matter what your goals are for your career as a basketball official, the right technology can help make your life much easier. ArbiterSports has been a leader in game official technology for years, and our suite of products has everything you and your network needs to keep everything running smoothly. Focus on the game you’re there for, and let us take care of everything else—including refresher courses for those officials that want to make sure their skills stay sharp. ArbiterWorks provides access to referee training and more. If you have any questions, call 800.576.2799 or email