Court Presence


Submitted by,


Roger Caulfield

NSBO Panel Supervisor



University supervisors love to assign officials whose athleticism mirrors the athletes. Officials are often graded on correct and non-correct calls, game management skills and how well they handle pressure situations. But the referee’s court presence is now becoming the defining characteristic of a superior floor official. This statement was certainly echoed by FIBA, NCAA and NBA clinicians at the basketball conference held this past summer in Toronto. 


Physical appearance, the use of appropriate body language and decisive game calling helps to raise the profile of a top quality official. It is very important for a referee to start the season in good cardiovascular condition and have a healthy body weight in order to keep up with the play for the duration of the game. An official’s image is greatly enhanced with good posture and a smooth running style.


Today’s games need to be handled by referees who move quickly and interact positively with players and coaches. Good communication skills, the use of proper mechanics and applying consistent signals will always enforce a positive court presence. The game’s most difficult calls need to be handled in a positive way with emotions under control. Raising your voice, using repetitive warnings and exhibiting negative body language are ineffective. 


The CABO official understands the importance of being dressed in the most current uniform, pants and shirts pressed and shoes shined. A quality whistle is required. Blow it with confidence and avoid double tooting the whistle. This shows indecisiveness. A strong physical appearance shows that you are a professional and have a love and respect for the game. 


Court presence is an integral part of our National Certification Program. A continual self assessment in this area is recommended for an official to advance to the next level.